To overcome this problem, group leaded by Henry Chapman from Hamburg apply slightly different approach – they use free electron lasers to generate incredibly fast femtosecond x-rays (femto means 10-15). You may ask “woudn’t such high-energy radiation destroy protein?”. And well, it will but relatively much later after pattern of diffraction will be recorded. X-rays are so fast here that the protein won’t have enough time for being destroyed. So surprising, isn’t it?
Thanks to femto, group can solve structures of proteins that can’t be crystallized in large amounts. And here they came up with another innovations. If size is not a limit now, why don’t crystallize protein… in cell in vivo? And they managed to do with Cathepsin B which they overexpressed in T. brucei! Here you can see SEM picture of single crystal (picture was taken