Single Crystal X-Ray Analysis Up and Running at MTSU


     Chemists at MTSU will now be able to peer inside of molecules to study their structure, basic molecular properties, and how they crystallize.  This is all thanks to a new instrument known as a single crystal X-ray diffractometer or SCXRD.  The SCXRD was obtained by principal investigator Dr. Keying Ding along with co-PIs Dr. Adrienne Friedli, Dr. Scott Handy, Dr. Piotr Kaszynski, Dr. Tibor Koritsanszky, and Dr. Anatoliy Volkov through a highly competitive Major Research Instrument grant from the National Science Foundation totaling $299,999. The instrument, which is housed in the newly renovated Davis Science Building, works by shooting X-rays at a crystallized sample and then detecting the diffraction pattern of those X-rays.  Relying on techniques first devised in the early 1900’s and optimized throughout the last century, SCXRD can resolve the structures of small molecules down to the single angstrom level.

     In addition to the utility of this instrument for chemists in the department synthesizing new molecules, it can also be used in concert with computational predictive modeling by the robust computational core in the Department of Chemistry.  One paper from Dr. Scott Handy in Tetrahedron and a second from Dr. Piotr Kaszynski in Inorganic Chemistry have already been published using the SCXRD.  The instrument will also be valuable in the training of undergraduate and graduate students in cutting edge techniques.  The SCXRD represents one of the many instruments the department houses to encourage state-of-the-art research and valuable student training.