This award is supported by the Major Research Instrumentation and the Chemistry Research Instrumentation programs. Professor Lisa Berreau from Utah State University and colleagues Yujie Sun and Tianbiao Liu have acquired a benchtop single crystal X-ray diffractometer. In general, an X-ray diffractometer allows accurate and precise measurements of the full three-dimensional structure of a molecule, including bond distances and angles, and provides accurate information about the spatial arrangement of a molecule relative to neighboring molecules. The studies described here impact many areas, including organic and inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry and biochemistry. This instrument is an integral part of teaching as well as research and research training of graduate and undergraduate students in chemistry and biochemistry at this institution. The presence of a modern small molecule X-ray crystallography system on the USU campus is transformative for students, as they are currently receiving hands-on training in this technique that was unavailable before the acquisition. The instrument is used in summer internship programs that bring additional undergraduates into USU research labs from regional two- and four-year schools. The PI and Co-PIs welcome Native American students from southeast Utah each summer to participate in a weeklong summer research experience in their laboratories and utilize the diffractometer.
The award of this basic diffractometer is aimed at enhancing research and education at all levels. It especially impacts studies on structural and electronic factors that influence divalent metal/oxygen-promoted aliphatic carbon-carbon (C-C) bond cleavage reactions. The diffractometer allows the pursue of investigations of the properties of flavonol-based carbon monoxide-releasing molecules as well as studies of oxygen chemistry of first row transition metal complexes with a Lewis acidic metal cation in the secondary coordination sphere. The instrumentation also serves investigators developing molecular electrocatalysts for carbon dioxide reduction to methane and methanol which is economically important.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.