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Development and application of Electron Diffraction (ED) techniques for determination of molecular structure

Supervisors: Dr Corinne Smith and Prof Richard Beanland

The aim of this project is to develop a robust processing pipeline for molecular structure determination.

ED is a powerful technique determining molecular structure, but it has not yet been widely adopted. The technique has undergone a revolution since the turn of the 21st centaury making it more accessible and sought-after.

The ability to select nanometre-sized regions that are free of defects, with perfect crystallinity, is a distinct advantage for ED. This should lead to improved determination of even subtle structural distortions, as seen in ferroelectric and related materials. A range of functional ceramics will be studied using MicroED and results compared to synchrotron X-ray and neutron diffraction data.

MicroED has recently been successfully applied in the field of protein structure, where cryo-electron microscopy and protein crystallography approaches can be combined to solve previously unreachable protein structures.

The second aim of this project is to optimise microED for protein crystallography and solve example structures for previously challenging samples.

This position has now been filled.