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A portable UHV molecular beam deposition system has been developed for synthesis, in situ, and real-time x-ray diffraction measurements of organic thin films, multilayers, and superlattices. The system has been optimized for small size, while still incorporating full features necessary to achieve thin film growth under molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) conditions. It can be used independently for thin film growth, or it can be transported and mounted on standard diffractometers. Additionally, it can be docked to a stationary multipurpose MBE growth system for sample transfer, thus permitting more extensive growth and characterization. The design and performance of this system are reported, with emphasis on modifications required to deposit organic materials. To demonstrate the capabilities for real-time x-ray scattering experiments, some preliminary results of a study of epitaxial growth of 3,4,9,10-perylene-tetracarboxylic dianhydride on Ag(111) substrates are given. © 2001 American Institute of Physics.