The article presents a method and an apparatus for the characterization of protein aggregation under an applied internal electric field. The method is based on a forward light scattering technique that is highly sensitive to aggregates in pre-crystalline protein solutions. Transparent conductive films are used as electrodes for a planar thin sample cell, which enables precise measurement of the forward light scattering at small angles through the electrodes. Evaluation of the protein aggregation under applied electric fields was demonstrated for a model lysozyme protein. In situ measurements of crystallizing lysozyme solutions under a low applied voltage revealed that the forward static light scattering profiles changed with time into power law profiles. This indicates the formation of lysozyme fractal clusters under applied electric fields in the pre-crystalline state. The method and the apparatus presented here can sensitively evaluate the promotion process in protein crystallization under an applied electric field.

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