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Electron Diffraction (ED, sometimes called electron crystallography) is an evolving technique – one that will probably be a good complementary technique for X-ray crystallography in the future. By using electrons (instead of X-rays), one can analyze particles much smaller than what can be measured nowadays even on a synchrotron beam line. This means the problem of obtaining single crystals can be overcome. Nano-powder size is sufficient to enable study of the 3D-molecular structure of the substance.
A customer from the energy sector provided Crystallise! AG nano-material of two inorganic substances. These nano-powders cannot be analyzed with synchrotron radiation as they are too small. Besides theoretical predictions, the customer had not found any analytical method that would help answer their questions about the real composition of the sample. Very recently, however, Crystallise! and collaboration partners succeeded in producing the crystal structure of such nano-powders.
Thanks to the use of a modified electron microscope in combination with a state-of-the-art detector (commonly used in many synchrotron facilities and X-ray machines), the samples were successfully irradiated. Diffraction was seen. The diffraction patterns were very good quality. The outcome of the study: two crystalline structures were produced for the samples and their molecular structures were obtained. One of these structures will be given IP protection since it will be a new product on the market.
Do you have similar cases, or are you interested in finding out more about this method? Have you had difficulties characterizing your substances because the particles are too small for X-ray diffraction or synchrotron radiation? Do not hesitate to contact Crystallise! AG – they will help you solve your problem.