The drive for elucidation of important macromolecular structures to high resolution in their 3D native or near-native state places continuously higher demands on the quality of the experimental data. For instance, recording of diffraction patterns good enough for structural studies from cryo-preserved bio-macromolecules at low dose conditions remains challenging and highly desirable. The emergence of hybrid pixel detectors opens up new possibilities for direct electron detection and superior detector performance. Here, we report on the characteristics of the Medipix2 detector in diffraction studies, with a special focus on the reliability of the intensities acquired in very low dose conditions. Diffraction data recorded on a Medipix2 detector were assessed in refinement analysis. R-factors lower than 10% were obtained from data recorded at electron dose of 0.05 el/angstrom(2). The reproducibility of the data was also shown to be high, given the correlation coefficient of the intensities being higher than 0.9970. The contrast that could be achieved at very low dose conditions was at least an order of magnitude better than that of image plates, based on a direct comparison.
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