In contrast to conventional room temperature data collection methods, the cryo-crystal structure analysis is by principle not restricted to the study of solid material alone. It also allows the investigation of samples which are unstable at ambient conditions, i.e. metastable compounds and liquids or gases.
As the only requirement, the sample has to be crystallized before the data collection is initiated, i.e., on the diffractometer at the latest. During data collection the solid state of the material is maintained by cooling the sample with a low temperature attachment.
In chemical laboratories, single crystals are generally grown from solutions of the respective compounds, and low temperature freezers or cryostats are employed to crystallize low and ultra-low melting materials. During preparation of the sample for the data collection, however, the solid had to be exposed to room temperature at the risk of melting as this step requires quality-investigation and manipulation of the crystals under a microscope.