Red Crystal

X-Ray Crystallography Services

X-ray crystallography is a highly sophisticated technique for extracting structural information from both single crystal and polycrystalline samples.

All branches of scientific research can benefit from this technique. In certain cases, X-ray data provides the only solution to understanding the behaviour of the whole system. Our X-ray facility is located in Science B 328 and houses several X-ray diffractometers capable of producing highly accurate and reliable structural data. For more information or training please contact Wen Zhou.

Instrument status and single crystal x-ray diffraction queue can be accessed by clicking here.

Single crystal X-ray diffractometers

Two single crystal X-ray diffractometers are housed in our X-ray facility. Both instruments use APEX3 suite of programs for data collection and reduction.

  1. Nonius Kappa APEX2 CCD with Mo sealed tube (2.0 kW), 4-circle Kappa-geometry goniometer, and APEX2 1k CCD X-ray detector. It is equipped with an Oxford Cryosystems 700 open flow nitrogen cryostat with temperature range from 80 to 400 K.
  2. Bruker SMART APEX2 CCD with Cu sealed tube (1.5 kW), 3-circle fixed Chi goniometer, and APEX2 1k CCD X-ray detector. It is equipped with an Oxford Cryosystems 700+ open flow nitrogen cryostat with temperature range from 80 to 500 K..
Core of the Nonius Kappa APEX2 CCD system.

Core of the Nonius Kappa APEX2 CCD system

Core of the Bruker SMART APEX2 CCD system.

Core of the Bruker SMART APEX2 CCD system

Core of the Bruker D8 Advance (ECO) system.

Core of the Bruker D8 Advance (ECO) system

Polycrystalline X-ray diffractometer

A Bruker D8 Advance (ECO) powder X-ray diffractometer with highly sensitive Lynxeye XE energy dispersive 1D X-ray detector and Twin-Twin optic system was recently purchased and installed in the fall of 2016. The sample stage is fixed at θ = 0°, which makes mounting of a liquid sample easy; the X-ray source and detector with a 2θ ranging from 3° to 150°. A parallel X-ray beam is available for samples with an irregular surface, and programming slits allow identical footprints of X-ray beams on the surface of the sample.

Using the Modular Temperature Chamber, measurements can also be conducted under vacuum to temperatures as low as 100 K and as high as 1800 K; please discuss experiments with Wen Zhou, if you are interested in non-ambient measurements.


Two stereomicroscopes, Leica MS5 and WILD HEERBRUGG, are used in our X-ray lab for sample evaluation. The quantitative polar light stage is available on Leica MS5, which is very helpful to identify crystals that are twinned, as well as amorphous solids.

Leica MS5

Leica MS5




A dedicated computer is available for working with data from single crystal diffraction experiments. This includes APEX2, ShelX Suite, WinGX and Olex2.

A second computer is dedicated to accessing the Cambridge Structural Database, which contains over 1.1 million crystal structures, and is available for remote access. Please email Wen Zhou for instructions on setting up remote access or troubleshooting remote access.

Crystal growing

Dr. Boyle at Western University collected and curated a number of excellent guides on crystal growth. They can be found here.

Data collection

If you are a student or researcher at the University of Calgary, you may submit or run your own samples. If you are not at the University of Calgary, samples must be submitted. Please contact Wen Zhou for fees regarding instrument and operator time.

Submitting samples

If you wish to submit your samples for X-ray diffraction analysis, please fill out the appropriate form below and email it to Wen Zhou. You will be contacted regarding the approximate time when your sample will be analyzed and when to bring your sample to the X-ray lab.

Running Samples

If you wish to collect data for your own sample, you must be trained on the instrument and have an X-ray dosimeter badge. To obtain a dosimeter, please fill out this form. Return the completed form to Wen Zhou.

To use the single crystal X-ray diffractometers, please contact Wen Zhou to be placed in the queue. If you have an instrument preference or other requirements, please indicate that in your email.

To use the powder X-ray diffractometer, you can book instrument time through Faces. If you require a specific sample stage or need to be added to the Faces Scheduling System, please email Wen Zhou.

X-ray crystallography services
Science B 325
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
T2N 1N4

Hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm

Wen Zhou
Instrumentation Technician