World-class centre for single crystal electron diffraction will be UK first – Advanced Engineering Birmingham

30 & 31 October 2024

NEC, Birmingham

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30 & 31 Oct 2024 | NEC Birmingham

World-class centre for single crystal electron diffraction will be UK first
University Of Warwick – Warwick Scientific Services

World-class centre for single crystal electron diffraction will be UK first

A new centre based jointly at the University of Southampton and the University of Warwick will draw on expertise from two world class universities and become a game changer for chemical industries, including manufacturing, pharma and electronics.


In the National Electron Diffraction Facility, using electrons instead of conventional X-ray crystallography, scientists will be able to investigate the structure of much smaller crystals than previously possible. This will enable the design of new and improved materials in several economically important areas including batteries, catalysts, solar cells, pharmaceuticals and more.

The new facility will feature two new XtaLAB Synergy-ED fully integrated electron diffractometers, providing a seamless workflow from sample preparation, through data collection to structure determination of 3D molecular structures from single nanocrystals. The instruments will be housed in refurbished laboratories in Southampton and Warwick. Thanks to a £3.2 million research grant from the EPSRC, and supported by global market leader, Rigaku, the centre of excellence will be open for academic and commercial partners in 2023.

Simon Coles, Professor of Structural Chemistry and project lead for the University of Southampton site, said: “Historically, the NCS has really pushed the boundaries of what is possible by X-ray crystallography. In a tremendously exciting development, we will massively expand the technique through partnering with Warwick and Rigaku to create an integrated electron diffraction facility operating in a totally complimentary way with our world-leading national X-ray service.

Dr David Walker is Facility Manager of the X-ray Diffraction Research Technology Platform and project lead at the University of Warwick. He said: “This exciting new instrument will enable us to study many crystalline materials that previously were difficult/impossible to grow into suitably sized crystals to be measured by the gold standard X-ray diffraction techniques. This will revolutionise our understanding of the structure of many economically important materials including pharmaceuticals, catalysts, batteries and energy storage materials leading to breakthroughs in these areas.”

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