A method and apparatus for the transportation, remote and unattended mounting, and visual alignment and monitoring of protein crystals for synchrotron generated x-ray diffraction analysis. The protein samples are maintained at liquid nitrogen temperatures at all times: during shipment, before mounting, mounting, alignment, data acquisition and following removal. The samples must additionally be stably aligned to within a few microns at a point in space. The ability to accurately perform these tasks remotely and automatically leads to a significant increase in sample throughput and reliability for high-volume protein characterization efforts. Since the protein samples are placed in a shipping-compatible layered stack of sample cassettes each holding many samples, a large number of samples can be shipped in a single cryogenic shipping container.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL FUNDING
 This invention was made with U.S. Government support under Contract Number DE-AC03-76SF00098 between the U.S. Department of Energy and The Regents of the University of California for the management and operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.