Small molecule diffraction is the most widely used technique for obtaining full three-dimensional structural information of solid-state crystalline materials. This allows characterisation of, for example, molecular packing, guests in a framework structure, the nature of intra- and intermolecular interactions, molecular conformation and static and dynamic disorder. Environmental cells can be used to probe materials under a range of non-ambient conditions.
The ability of the synchrotron to obtain time-resolved data will allow the investigation of short-lived excited states, rapid structural changes in solid-state reactions and order/disorder phenomena that can be observed as they occur. Because the wavelength of the X-rays is tunable, it is also possible to examine complex materials using anomalous dispersion.
The high intensity of synchrotron X-rays enables the study of complex materials and single crystals too small to be examined using traditional laboratory techniques. The ability of the synchrotron to carry out time-resolved studies allows the study of structures under change.
Applications of this technique range from detailed analyses of new catalytic and 'smart' electronic materials to the design of new pharmaceutical products and as the starting point for computational studies and molecular modelling. Technological areas studied include catalysis, energy storage, magnetic recording, structural biology and pharmaceuticals.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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