Crystalline sponges

a breakthrough in molecular structure determination

Conventional X-ray crystallography is the method of choice to determine molecular structures completely and with absolute certainty. However, it typically requires at least a few milligrams of analyte to produce a perfect crystal, which can sometimes be very difficult. Crystalline sponge technology, invented by Professor Makoto Fujita at Tokyo University, makes X-ray crystallography applicable to much smaller amounts of analyte, which need not be crystallized directly.

This is achieved by using an ‘instant crystal’, which serves as a substrate - a pre-crystallized matrix - for the sample, which can be applied in extremely low amounts. The method also works for volatile and other non-crystallizable compounds. The result: determining the absolute chemical structure of natural substances or impurities becomes much easier and faster. The innovation project at our Innovation Center is now developing an instant crystal technology further so that it can easily be used by chemical and life science laboratories around the world to explore the chemical structure of pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals or natural compounds.


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