August 1970: First Synchrotron X-ray Diffraction Recorded at DESY
In order to verify that we could get the flux from the 7.5 GeV synchrotron DESY we had calculated actually onto a small specimen, I designed and we had built an in-vacuum, remote-controlled, focusing x-ray monochromator which we were allowed to insert into the vacuum-ultraviolet beamline of the F41 group at DESY. Preparing for the last trip to DESY from our home lab at Heidelberg, my supervisor Ken Holmes told me to pack a muscle fiber and put it into the beam. Being a physicist by education, I asked why, we measure the flux and X-rays are X-rays and do the same whether from a synchrotron or from a tube at home. Ken: “Not for biologists.” Good that I followed his advice. Thus, I recorded the first synchrotron X-ray diffraction pattern (in the universe – as I like to brag and nobody can dispute this).
There it is and it shows the same pattern as with a home source. So, biologists and everybody else could be confident in what synchrotrons promised.
Credit: The results of the flux verifications were published in Nature in April 1971: