Run 19 Protein Crystal Screening (PCS) Proposals

Protein Crystal Screening

Latest Proposal Schedule

Mode of Access Run Cycle Proposal Call Status Deadline Cycle Begins Cycle Ends
Regular User Proposal LCLS 22  Submit Proposals via User Portal. 28 Mar 2023 Sep 2023 Apr 2024
Protein Crystal Screening (PCS) LCLS 22 Proposal Call coming soon. 28 Apr 2023 Sep 2023 Apr 2024
MeV-UED Regular User Proposal UED 4 Experiments scheduled   Oct 2022 Jun 2023
Scientific Campaign Ongoing Experiments scheduled   Jan 2022 Jun 2022
Rapid Access Run 21   Contact for details

Proposals are submitted through the User Portal.

  Calls For Proposals are posted on the LCLS Annoucements, and e-mailed to the LCLS User Organization e-mail list (subscribe to lclsuo).

Submit new Protein Crystal Screening (PCS) Proposals for Run 19 by 4 PM PACIFIC February 9, 2021.

This PCS beamtime is to be awarded during LCLS Run 19, expected to be between May 2021 and December 2021.

The LCLS Protein Crystal Screening (PCS) program aims to enable increased access to LCLS beamtime for biological structure determination by making use of short, 6-12 hour runs to screen the quality of different sample preparations or potentially collect a full data set under good running conditions. To enable measurements within such a short time frame and maximize efficiency and the chances of success, these studies must be carried out with limited instrumentation flexibility to minimize the time impact of setup changes. Schedule constraints are unpredictable and no guarantees can be made that any of the mentioned experimental setups will be available for PCS in any given run. Please contact Mark Hunter ( for additional information and guidance.

A new process will be introduced for PCS experiments starting in Run 19. If a proposal is recommended for beamtime by the PRP, the spokesperson of the proposal will be put in contact with a member of the LCLS Sample Environment and Delivery (SED) team prior to the scheduling of beamtime at LCLS. This member of the SED team will discuss the experiment with the user group and together they will assemble a plan for offline sample characterization experiments and sample delivery testing for the proposed samples. These experiments are expected to help the project by debugging many aspects of the SFX experiment prior to LCLS beamtime and may include requesting time for serial crystallography measurements at SSRL. Once high sample quality and sample delivery conditions have been determined, the PCS experiment will be scheduled when allowed by the LCLS schedule. The experimental team does not need to have all aspects of the experiment covered—in house resources from the LCLS facility can be requested for sample delivery and real-time data analysis (however, off-line analysis after the experiment is expected to be done by the user with continuing guidance from LCLS staff).


PCS experiments at CXI will be carried out using the standard CXI configuration, using the refocused X-ray beam from the 1 μm focus as a parasitic measurement to a primary experiment, depending on scheduling constraints and at the discretion of LCLS.

PCS will utilize the CSPAD 2.3M detector. Sample delivery will be via the standard liquid jet system which utilized nozzles mounted on long rods inserted into a load-lock system. These nozzle rods are compatible with Gas Dynamic Virtual Nozzles (GDVN), Dual Flow Focusing Nozzles (DFFN), Lipidic Cubic Phase (LCP) jets as well as the Microfluidic Electrokinetic Sample Holder (MESH). User-supplied sample delivery systems or modifications to the existing system are allowable only if they are compatible with the existing systems and can be exchanged with the other systems used for PCS beamtime within a time frame compatible with 12-hour parasitic runs and rapid turnaround between groups. Decisions on using alternative sample delivery systems are entirely at the discretion of the LCLS facility.


PCS experiments at atmospheric pressure are expected to be available at the MFX instrument with multiple options likely to be available, including a goniometer system, allowing scanning of fixed-mounted crystals, and a liquid jet system compatible with various types of jets. These systems can also be modified in principle for use of a variety of atmospheric pressure sample delivery systems. User-supplied systems may also be available. The availability of all these systems for PCS will depend on scheduling constraints and is entirely at the discretion of LCLS.

Other Experimental Geometries or Capabilities

Time-resolved studies and spectroscopy are currently not within the scope of PCS beam time.

Proposal Review and Beamtime Award

These PCS proposals will be reviewed by the PRP BIO-C panel separately from the regular proposals. It is desirable to shorten the period between PCS proposal submission and beam time allocation to maximize flexibility and the ability to be reactive to novel samples or ideas. LCLS will aim to pre-allocate blocks of beamtime on CXI and/or MFX based on the overall demand. Proposals will be awarded beam time by LCLS based on the scientific recommendation of the Proposal Review Panel and other technical considerations by LCLS, including sample readiness, technical feasibility and scheduling constraints. A minimum two months’ notice will be given to the selected user groups to allow for appropriate preparation.

Overlap with Regular LCLS Proposals

There is no restriction with regards to possible overlap or redundancy with regular LCLS proposals. Submission of PCS proposals similar or related to regular LCLS proposals is encouraged and will not adversely impact the rankings of either type of proposals. Regular LCLS proposals that do not receive beamtime may be considered for PCS if deemed suitable.

Proposal Format

PCS proposals follow a similar format as regular proposals. They must be submitted separately.

PCS proposals are evaluated by the PRP on the scientific impact and risk, need for LCLS, and by LCLS staff on technical feasibility.

LCLS PCS proposals should be submitted through the User Portal

Provide a descriptive title of your proposed experiment that you would be willing to be made public if awarded beam time.

The proposal text is limited to 2 pages in PDF format. Pages should have at least 1-inch margins and not less than 10 pt font. It should include the following information:

  • Experimental Team: In a table, list the names, institution, email address of PIs and collaborators who would participate in the proposed experiment (e.g., sample prep, theory, data collection, data analysis). Proposals that seek to use the in-house resources of the LCLS facility for sample delivery and data analysis are welcome and should clearly state this in the proposal.
  • Scientific Case: Briefly explain the background and significance of your experiment. In particular, why is LCLS required for this experiment? Itemize the specific aims and particular questions you want to answer. Focus on the specific experiment and avoid broad discussions in general terms.
  • Experimental Procedure: If the PCS proposal is related to one or more regular LCLS proposals that have been submitted or already received beam time, state this in the proposal. Tell us if you plan or have carried out supporting experiments at other facilities. Describe any additional equipment you plan to bring to LCLS for the experiment. We strongly recommend that you contact LCLS Scientist Mark Hunter ( before proposal submission to discuss capabilities, to identify possible problems in integrating external equipment with LCLS instrumentation, and to determine possible solutions.
  • Technical Feasibility: Proposals must contain sufficient information for LCLS to review the proposal for technical feasibility. This information should include:
    • Equipment
      • Which elements of the proposed instrument do you require for the proposal?
      • What additional equipment is needed, including detector, sample delivery/environment, temperature, pressure, etc.?
      • How do you plan to provide/organize the additional equipment?
    • Experimental Protocol 
      • Describe the experimental geometry.
      • Describe samples and concentrations, sample preparation, and storage to the degree that it is understood.
      • Describe local facilities that may be required.

* Safety related documents must be submitted during the safety management portion of the LCLS proposal submission process in the user portal. List and describe any safety concerns that may arise with samples you will examine, equipment you will use, or techniques you will perform (including any physical, chemical, or biological hazards) and how these issues will be addressed in the experiment design.