This Major Research Instrumentation Award supports Youngstown State University with the acquisition of a high performance single crystal X-ray diffraction system optimized for the structural characterization of the most challenging samples. It is equipped with an advanced Cu micro-focus source, multilayer optics, a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) area detector and kappa geometry goniostat, and a variable temperature system. The instrument will dramatically improve the intensity and resolution of the diffraction data from very small and weakly diffracting crystals, many with large unit cells. Cyber-enabled methods will allow non-local users to mail samples and then design and execute their own experiments with real-time support from expert personnel. It will help broaden the research and educational opportunities for a remote user base comprised mainly of students and faculty from Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions. The new instrumentation will support a wide range of externally funded materials science and engineering projects, especially: (1) structural studies of supramolecular, inorganic, semiconductor, and metallic materials; (2) integration of advanced electron microscopy tools (e.g., TEM/SEM, focused ion beam, FIB, and electron backscatter diffraction, EBSD) with diffraction methods; (3) cyber-tools development and crystallography education; and (4) collaborative R&D ventures with commercial partners. The new instrument will also enhance education and training at Youngstown State, supporting the university's new focus in Materials Science and Engineering at the undergraduate and graduate level. ******

Continuing advances have made single crystal X-ray diffraction, SCD, increasingly powerful, fast, inexpensive, and easy to carry out for both experienced and novice users. This method allows chemists and materials scientists to determine the precise, atomic-level structures of materials including metals, semiconductors, hybrid inorganic-organic compounds, and polypeptides. However, SCD requires access to the requisite instrumentation and support services, neither of which is found at the vast majority of Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions, PUIs. As such, this award from the Major Instrumentation Program will fund an advanced single crystal diffractometer to support a broad range of research in materials science and engineering. Youngstown State University, a research-active PUI, will be the base for the new instrumentation, which will also be accessible to a large user group via cyber-enabled methods. The new diffractometer will allow increased accessibility for remote users, increased capability for analysis of challenging samples, and improved training and support for novice crystallographers. The user base will be largely drawn from the nation's PUIs, which prepare the majority of undergraduate and masters students who go on to complete Ph.D. programs, staff our industries, and become the next generation of secondary school and community college instructors. The new instrument will be integrated into the well-established STaRBURSTT@YSU solid-state structure facility.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
Program Officer
Leonard Spinu
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Youngstown State University
United States
Zip Code