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The University of Southampton
The Southampton Diffraction Centre

Southampton Diffraction Centre officially launches

Published: 16 September 2011
Image of launch

The ground-breaking Southampton Diffraction Centre has been launched at the University of Southampton.

Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, and Southampton Itchen MP John Denham, also a Southampton Chemistry Alumnus, toured facilities at a launch event, along with the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam.

Southampton’s Diffraction Centre, based in Chemistry, examines the periodic arrangement of atoms and molecules in crystalline matter, using high powered x-rays. For example, these might be proteins and enzymes or perhaps candidate materials associated with the pharmaceutical, electronics or catalysis industries.

The centre's director, Dr Simon Coles, comments; "This facility includes the most powerful instrument of its type ever constructed and will support examination into the structure of materials across the whole UK academic and commercial research communities. We will now be able to look at the most challenging samples that modern research produces from nano-materials, through all areas of chemistry to the life sciences."

The diffraction facilities represent over £4 million of investment in state-of-the-art crystallographic science within the University. This is already enhancing the work of academics in the fields of chemistry, medicine and biological sciences, and enabling the increasing growth of collaborators, particularly in Life Sciences.

The centre includes the EPSRC National Crystallography Service, a unique facility set up at the University of Southampton to support and develop research excellence in chemistry, biochemistry and the physical sciences.

Phil Gale, Don Nutbeam, Simon Coles and John Denham MP at the launch
John Denham MP launches the SDC

Key facts

The centre represents an investment of £4.3 million in diffraction science

Supports over 30 macromolecular projects as of September 2011 with a vision to double this number as the centre grows

Incorporates the UK National Crystallography Service which supports around 100 academics across the UK.

Over 20 companies access the centre's facilities through Southampton Chemistry Analytical Soluitions.

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