Very High Intensity Single Crystal Diffractometers (VHISCD)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry


The School of Chemistry at The University of Nottingham is a vigorous, innovative hub for internationally-recognised research. The School was ranked 2nd in the UK (between Cambridge and Oxford) by the 2008 RAE, and current grant income exceeds £20M. One of our highlighted strengths is the close interaction between synthetic chemistry and detailed structural characterisation and analysis. This proposal is aimed squarely at building on this strength and increasing its capacity and breadth.
Single crystal X-ray crystallographic analysis underpins the productivity of all our research involving synthetic chemistry. It is essential for the unambiguous characterisation of new materials, but also reveals relationships between structure, properties and function. In many cases structural data define the next generation of target materials and underpin the optimisation of their design. Over 1200 samples are submitted to the School's Crystal Structure Facility each year, but many are too difficult to study using our older instruments - these are now several technological generations behind what is currently available. We are now looking for really major upgrades to our instrumentation, by taking advantage of some exciting, recently-developed technologies including very bright laboratory X-ray sources.

Planned Impact

The proposed new X-ray diffraction instrumentation will enable research outputs which will have major impact across academia, industry and society. In terms of Knowledge, structural information will contribute directly to major scientific advances in the research areas described in the proposal covering Grand Challenge areas of energy, sustainability, materials discovery, catalysis, healthcare, nanoscience and dial-a-molecule, and will provide a strong driver for their development, implementation and transfer to industry. The research will inform stakeholders, funding agencies and policy makers across the physical sciences, and chemistry specifically. In terms of People, incoming early-career scientists (20 PDRAs and 35 PhD students per year) will gain important high-level skills and training in structural analysis which will be vital for their research and will augment their employability within and across the UK economy. Thus, the project will train scientists to enhance the necessary skills-base of the UK in important and timely scientific areas. The Economy will benefit in the short-term via employment of newly trained early-career scientists, and in the medium-to-longer term through development of new products and processes based upon new research discoveries. In due course, new companies of direct economic benefit to Society will be launched from the scientific advances developed within the current programme. Short-term beneficiaries of the research will include academics working across engineering and physical, biological and pharmaceutical sciences where the outputs of high quality research, underpinned by the proposed instrumentation, will drive progress and guide the development of new scientific approaches, technologies and products. All the above will work to improve and enhance the quality of life in the UK and world populations though the positive impacts of this research on energy, sustainability, healthcare, nanoscience and catalysis.


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Allan DR (2014) High-pressure studies of palladium and platinum thioether macrocyclic dihalide complexes. in Acta crystallographica Section B, Structural science, crystal engineering and materials

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Allan DR (2015) Structural aspects of metal-organic framework-based energy materials research at Diamond. in Philosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences

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Blake A (2015) The continuing development and expansion of Acta Crystallographica Section B in Acta Crystallographica Section B Structural Science, Crystal Engineering and Materials

Description This equipment grant has funded a number of major enhancements to the single crystal X-ray facilities which support a large part of our research effort:
-the installation of a new very high intensity Rigaku Oxford Diffraction Xtalab MM007 rotating anode diffractometer
- the installation of two new high intensity Rigaku Oxford Diffraction SuperNovaII diffractometers
- the upgrade of our Rigaku Oxford Diffraction SuperNova to a dual-wavelength (Cu/Mo) instrument
- the upgrade of our existing Rigaku Oxford Diffraction Mo microfocus source for high pressure crystallography.

These enhancements have allowed us to conduct more demanding and ambitious experiments than were possible previously. For example, many samples which previously could only be studied in a limited manner during our sparse synchrotron beamtime could now be studied more extensively in-house, with significant benefits for our overall productivity.

Two of the main groups of users (PIs Liddle and Schroder) moved to the University of Manchester in 2015, but the ramping up of the research efforts of new and existing research groups meant that the productivity of the new instruments increased during 2016.
Exploitation Route The acquisition of new and upgraded equipment has benefited many important areas of EPSRC-funded research within chemistry, materials, medicine and energy, such as sustainable chemistry, metal-organic frameworks, surface science, organic synthesis, catalysis, alkaline-earth chemistry, etc.
Sectors Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description Multiple publications have already resulted from this award. The equipment was upgraded by the suppliers in December 2015. New and exisiting equipment provided under the grant continues to support the research efforts of 20+ groups in the School of Chemistry, including those of new high-profile appointees and early-career researchers.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Chemicals,Education,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Transport
Description EPSRC IAA fKTS
Amount £53,253 (GBP)
Funding ID RR0507 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 10/2015