Single Crystal X-ray Diffraction Unit

The School has several modern X-ray diffractometers used for both chemical crystallography and macromolecular crystallography.  It also houses specialist equipment built for the study of incommensurate diffraction.  All diffractometers have Oxford Cryostream dry nitrogen cooling apparatus incorporated. The diffractometers are housed in a large purpose built laboratory with climate control and are currently run and maintained by two full time experienced crystallographers. 

The three most productive diffractometers are listed below along with a brief description of their salient features.

Agilent Xcalibur

High power (2.2kW) water-cooled unit producing MoKa radiation. Four circle kappa goniometer and rapid read out CCD detector.  This is the major workhorse for efficient throughput of routine chemical structures.

Agilent SuperNova

Twin micro focus X-ray sources that can be use either CuKa or MoKa radiation.  Lower power (40W) air-cooled, but the X-ray beam is focussed into a smaller, high brilliance beam. Four circle kappa goniometer and rapid read out CCD detector. This system is used for smaller crystals and those structures that need accurately measured anomalous diffraction signals, for the unambiguous determination of stereochemistry for example. This diffractometer is used for more demanding chemical structures.


Integrated system for macromolecular diffraction experiments.  Incorporating an air-cooled micro focus Cu-Ka X-ray source and focussing optics.  A single rotation goniometer with kappa arm for cryogenically flash cooling samples to be shipped to synchrotron radiation sources. The system also features a large area image plate detector, diameter 345 mm (Mar345).  The detector and goniometer are mounted on a MarDTB (desk top beamline) fully automated alignment system. We also have liquid nitrogen handling facilities for flash cooling samples to be transported to outside facilities and a number of dry shippers for transport.

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Updated:  23 September 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RSC/Page Contact:  Web Admin, RSC