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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/A00048/01
Principal Investigator: Howard, Professor JAK
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Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Durham, University of
Scheme: Senior Fellowship (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 April 2000 Ends: 30 September 2003 Value (£): 174,795
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Structure
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
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Summary on Grant Application Form
Developments in analytical instrumentation have originated as frequently within active academic groups as in the research laboratories of the manufacturers, the latter looking primarily to the immediate market place rather than to the needs of fundamental science. Consequently chemical crystallography has watched patiently over the past decades, while the combined and competing research efforts of the very few active manufacturers in the field have been directed almost exclusively into improving and developing new single crystal X-ray diffraction equipment for the macromolecular and protein crystallographers.Their imperative has been to record very large numbers of diffracted intensities in the least possible time and this has resulted in the almost universal usage of area detectors, as an integral part of their laboratory instruments. The ability to process these data fast ha, been helped tremendously by the concurrent developments in computer technology. Parallel with these have been the major advances in graphical manipulation and displays for (large) molecular structures. It might be added that the increase in number and efficiency of synchrotron sources world-wide, providing the bright X-ray beams for fast diffraction experiments, has contributed enormously to the developments which have taken place in the protein crystallography laboratories themselves.Unfortunately the chemical crystallographer seems to have had to wait for 'spin-offs' from the above rather than having been able to initiate or, even exploit these developments through optimal funding levels. Equally disappointing has been that the commercial developments and hardware optimisation for generators, detectors and associated software have been focused for use with copper X-radiation in (protein) laboratory systems. Only very recently has it begun to change for chemical crystallography with the introduction of commercial area detector systems designed for use with shorter wavelength X-radiation. The largest overlap of interests and potential* between the two areas is likely to arise within the synchrotron field because of the wavelength ranges employed. However the 'tuneability' and high beam intensity of synchrotrons will mean that their problems are not exactly identical to those we encounter in the normal (chemical) crystallographic laboratory.Crystallography clearly plays a pivotal, underpinning role as one of the most fundamental analytical tools amongst the armoury of those used in the well-founded University chemistry departments and in the larger industrial laboratories. Nonetheless a distinct danger exists that the chemical community which has come to accept crystallography as a rather mature, reliable and near-routine technique, might be tempted to overlook the need for enhancing investment.Fortunately this is situation is beginning to change with recent technological innovations, but it is still the case that to do something completely different, one has to design, create and build a new environment oneself. This concept forms the basis of the current proposal.
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