The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS) has awarded the Gregori Aminoff Prize in Crystallography 2013

Nature of crystals measured by X-rays and interpreted in Italy and Australia

18-Sep-2012 - Sweden

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (RSAS) has awarded the Gregori Aminoff Prize in crystallography 2013 to Carlo Gatti, Institute of Molecular Sciences and Technology, Italian National Research Council, Milan, Italy and Mark Spackman, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Australia "for developing experimental and theoretical methods to study electron density in crystals, and using them to determine molecular and crystalline properties".

Crystallography is the science of the arrangement of atoms in solid materials. To reveal the atomic structure of a crystal, an 'X-ray diffraction method' may be used. In this method an X-ray beam strikes a crystal, showing a diffraction pattern that, in turn, can
be transformed into a 3D model of the crystal. This technique is now widely used in geology, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and materials engineering. Purposes include determining mineral properties, proteins and DNA structures, and developing strong new materials.

Both Carlo Gatti and Mark Spackman have independently developed concepts for interpreting electron density distributions related to quantum chemistry theory, using multipole analysis of high-quality X-ray diffraction data. This approach has, in particular,
significantly demonstrated and quantified the role of hydrogen bonding in molecular systems. 'Charge density topology' is important for classification of the type and strength of chemical bonding in solid compounds and molecules.

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