We describe a compact, reliable, and high-average-power femtosecond x-ray source and its first application to diffraction on protein crystal. The setup relies on a homemade Ti: sapphire system delivering at a repetition rate, associated with a small vacuum chamber especially designed for laser-plasma interaction and x-ray applications. This device allows the generation of at and optimized x-ray irradiation of the studied sample, which can be placed close to the source. We present the diffraction pattern of a protein crystal in a divergent beam geometry, which is a first step to a subpicosecond x-ray diffraction experiment.
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