With support from the Chemistry Research Instrumentation and Facilities: Departmental Multi-User Instrumentation (CRIF:MU) Program, the Department of Chemistry at the University of New Mexico (UNM) will acquire an X-ray diffractometer with CCD detector and low-temperature system. Some of the research projects that this instrument will support include: preparation of metal complexes and compounds for fixation of carbon dioxide, olefin oligomerization catalysts, and lanthanide- and actinide-ion separations; structural studies in main group and coordination chemistry; and studies of catalysis in pyranopterin molybdenum enzymes and and in using cobalt as a spectroscopic probe of catalytic Zn enzymes. The UNM Chemistry Department will include X-ray crystallography as part of the teaching curriculum in at least two upper-level undergraduate courses and two laboratory classes, as well as at least one graduate-level class. Due to the ethnic diversity of the UNM student population, many chemistry students from traditionally under-represented groups will participate in courses and research projects having X-ray crystallography as a core technique. This is true of the other New Mexico universities that will also make use of the new instrument.
The X-ray diffractometer allows accurate and precise measurements of the full three dimensional structure of a molecule, including bond distances and angles, and it provides accurate information about the spatial arrangement of the molecule relative to the neighboring molecules. Such structural studies have a large impact in a number of areas, especially in the synthesis of important organic and inorganic chemicals and in understanding chemical interactions with biomolecules.