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Sketches of Laboratories

James Cook University


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James Cook University - November 1997

In the late 1960's Les Power was appointed to the Department of Chemistry and crystallography had its roots at James Cook University in the purchase of a Philips 1010 generator with Powder Cameras. These were used by both the Chemistry and Geology Departments until 1970 when a Weissenberg camera and a Joyce Loebl densitometer were acquired for use in general crystallography.

With the appointment of Chris Cuff in 1971, links were made with the minerals industry following a purchase of a X-ray powder diffractometer. Early Ph.D. graduates from the joint programs were Ken Turner and John King. Between 1972 and 1982 diffraction studies were undertaken on many minerals by, among others, Ken Turner, Ian MacKinnon, and John Parise.

In 1975 a Siemens Elmiscop 102 TEM and an Analytical Etec SEM were purchased and lattice imaging work commenced. Single-phase transformation work was initiated in 1976 with the acquisition of a high pressure anvil cell. Les Power, the father of crystallography at James Cook University was killed tragically in a plane crash in 1977.

In 1982 a second X-ray powder diffractometer was purchased and initial visits by Sharon Ness (ex-Flinders) commenced. During 1982-86 John Thompson (Geology/

Chemistry) began studies on Rietveld powder refinements and their correlation with magic angle spinning NMR spectroscopy. In 1987 the Cuff/Ness collaboration on carbonate minerals began with the then recently acquired Jeol 2000 FX Analytical TEM. A Jeol 840 microprobe was purchased in 1988. 1989/90 marked the beginnings of the Instrumentation Centre/Advanced Analytical Centre. A Siemens 303 X-ray Fluorescence Spectrophotometer was also purchased during this period with collaborations with Judge Bevan beginning in 1991. A Siemens D 5000 X-ray powder diffractometer was purchased in 1993, and in 1994 an initial suggestion to form a Siemens Applications Laboratory was put forward by Sietronics Australia Pty. Ltd.

Sharon Ness was appointed Director of the Advanced Analytical Centre in 1995/96 and soon thereafter the Siemens Applications Laboratory opened within the confines of the Centre. A Jeol SEM and an X-ray Fluorescence Spectrophotometer were purchased for the Cairns arm of the Advanced Analytical Centre. A Siemens D 5005 X-ray powder diffractometer and an Enraf-Nonius CAD4 single crystal diffractometer (acquired from the University of Auckland) were purchased in this period.

With the appointment of Peter Junk in early 1997, X-ray diffraction studies on small molecules using the CAD4 diffractometer began in earnest. The structures now being studied range from small organic and organometallic compounds through coordination complexes up to relatively large supramolecular compounds. The XTAL suite of programs is used for structure solution and refinement.

In 1997 the Advanced Analytical Centre became the first laboratory in Australia to acquire a Siemens General Area Detector Diffraction System (GADDS) for micro X-ray work. The Centre performs many functions including collaborative and service research work for many departments within the University, such as Earth Sciences, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Archaeology, Biochemistry and the Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research. Most of this work involves the identification of phases and quantification of samples using X-ray diffraction, TEM, and X-ray Fluorescence. A considerable amount of service work is performed for external industries, mainly in the identification of samples such as oils, liquids, minerals and plant materials. While the work for external areas can be rather diverse, particularly that for the forensic sciences, the bulk of the work arises from the mining industry