High pressure is a tool that can be used to alter the equilibrium population of molecular conformations and associations, both in crystals and in solutions. Pressure-based techniques available at MacCHESS can improve diffraction quality from a crystal, trap a ligand in an active site, and allow protein folding in solution to be followed.

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Experiments using high pressure are not routine; they always involve MacCHESS staff. For crystallographic experiments non-frozen crystals are required.

High Pressure Cryocooling (HPC) is an alternative to standard cryocooling which can reduce the damage due to the cooling process and can sometimes even improve the initial quality of a crystal.

There are several applications of HPC, of which the most important are: (1) At pressures of 200-400 MPa, applied with helium, HPC can improve the quality of diffraction from a crystal, by reducing

It is possible to trap gaseous reactants in the active site of an enzyme by pressurizing a crystal of the enzyme with the gas and cryocooling.

Pressure is a fundamental thermodynamic parameter that affects the free energy of a system. Le Chatelier¹s principle dictates that a pressurized system will organize so as to minimize its volume.