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Poised for Success: Capturing Intermediates of Complex Reactions using X-ray Crystallography

METRIC instrumentation offers structural insights to complex chemical syntheses where knowledge of the molecular conformation is critical.

A recent paper from the lab of Jon S. Lindsey highlights this need. Graduate students Khiem Chau Nguyen and PengZhi Wang build complex analogues of natural light harvesting bacteriochlorophylls. The structure of these rings has big implications for the abilities of these materials to capture the energy of solar radiation. The group used X-ray crystallography to confirm that the precursor was poised to close the desired macrocycle and predicted the relative arrangement of groups after cyclization. The new D8 Venture diffractometer collected the data from a crystal that was only 35 microns thick. This instrumentation was purchased with the support of NC State, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and Duke University Chemistry to support crystallography services for the region.