• synchrotron radiation;
  • biological macromolecules;
  • small-angle X-ray scattering;
  • solution scattering;
  • X-ray optics.

The small-angle X-ray scattering beamline X33 of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) at the DORIS III storage ring [Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY) Hamburg] was used for more than two decades to study the structure of non-crystalline biological systems. During recent years the beamline's scope has changed and is now predominantly used to analyze solutions of biological macromolecules. Owing to renewed interest in solution scattering studies from the biological community, the workload on the beamline has steadily increased. A major upgrade of X33 was performed to improve the beamline stability and data quality, to shorten the measurement time and to ensure user-friendly operation. The upgrade involved all major components of the beamline, including the optical system (monochromator, mirror, slits, beam monitors), electronics, control and acquisition software, X-ray detector system and the sample environment. The upgrade improved the brilliance by a factor of about three and the measuring time was reduced by a factor of seven. The knowledge and experience gained during the implementation of the upgrades to X33, may aid the design process for the BioSAXS beamline to be constructed for the PETRA-3 facility at DESY.