Looking Deeper with the X-Ray Diffraction Lab

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Some lab equipment.

Youngstown State University College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics has always prided itself on being the first and only STEM College in the state of Ohio. Now the STEM College can excitedly declare that and our technological advancements make us one of the top colleges in the STEM field. Dr. Allen Hunter, with the help of other university professors, including our own Dr. Matt Zeller, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for new equipment in the X-ray Diffraction Lab.

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The computer displaying the programs that work with the equipment.

The new equipment, the cyber-enabled, single-crystal X-ray Diffractometer, will produce data 700 times better than that from the 11-year-old system (also NSF funded) that was previously the mainstay on campus. This new diffractometer helps make students better prepared for future jobs in the material science industry. While equipment like this is normally found in corporate labs, the X-ray Diffraction Lab collaborated with universities across the world, like Oberlin and the City University of Hong Kong, to bring this caliber of instrumentation to YSU, building our reputation in the field.

The X-ray lab also works with local companies to determine things like the structure of crystalline solids and their percent composition. Other instruments in the lab, like the X-Ray powder diffractometer and Fluorescence spectrometer, also contribute to these structural studies.

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Some lab equipment.

The main goal of this sort of instrumentation is to saturate the students with hands-on learning experiences, to support their research, and to develop a collaboration between YSU, the students, industry, and other universities. Under its chair Dr. Daryl Mincey, this has been a key goal of the department for the last two decades—building a core of infrastructure for the future of the students.

Students do much of the work in this lab, the results of which have been published in many of the top-ranking journals, including: Inorganic Chemistry, JACS, and Crystal Growth & Design.