University of Canterbury - May 1996
Professor Bruce Penfold was encouraged by Professor Cuth Wilkin's lectures to travel to Cambridge for his doctoral studies in X-ray diffraction. He returned in 1952 setting up the laboratory through a generator grant in 1953 and a Weissenberg Camera built by Dick Nokes to an A.McL (Sandy) Mathieson design. First students were Stan Simpson (later head of WRONZ), Don Wright and Max Taylor. The first Weissenberg diffractometer (H. Freeman's lab design) was implemented by Graeme Gainsford in 1967 and supplanted by an Hilger & Watts Y290 with DEC PDP8 computer in 1969. In 1982, a Nicolet/Siemens P3 diffractometer was installed and became the first "totally in one room" system in New Zealand. It was shortly after added to with locally-modified Nicolet low temperature facilities. The system was upgraded in 1993 to the full Siemens P4 standard, with PC control.
Currently, about 300, usually low temperature, data sets are collected annually through Professor Robinson's close cooperation particularly with scientists at Universities of Otago, Waikato, Victoria (Wellington), Industrial Research Limited and also other research institutions. The X-ray laboratory is housed on the eighth floor of the Chemistry and Physics Building at the Ilam site.