Friday, September 04, 2009

[075] MTSU chemistry Researcher Koritsanszky Leads Successful Neutron-Scattering Proposal

Release date: Sept. 4, 2009

News & Public Affairs contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
Subject of story contact: Dr. Tibor Koritsanszky, 615-904-8592 or
Oak Ridge National Laboratory contact: Bill Cabage, 865-574-4399 or

MTSU Chemistry Researcher Koritsanszky
Leads Successful Neutron-Scattering Proposal

(MURFREESBORO) — MTSU is the leader of a successful collaboration to bring a state-of-the-art instrument for the neutron analysis of advanced materials to one of the world’s top centers for neutron scattering.
MTSU joined with North Carolina State University, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to obtain a single-crystal neutron diffractometer, also known as IMAGINE, through the National Science Foundation and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Principal investigator Dr. Tibor S. Koritsanszky, a professor of chemistry at MTSU, and colleague Flora Meilleur from NCSU, in collaboration with Robert Blessing from Hauptman-Woodward and ORNL’s Bryan C. Chakoumakos, will use IMAGINE to analyze light atom positions in materials of interest across the diverse fields of chemistry, structural biology, pharmacology, condensed-matter physics, nanostructured materials and in the environmental, biomedical and geological sciences.
“This diffractometer will fill a gap in U.S. neutron diffraction capabilities, since no similar instrumentation is currently available at a neutron reactor source in the United States,” Koritsanszky said.
The instrument will take advantage of neutrons produced by ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor. The Department of Energy facility is the nation’s most powerful research reactor and the benefactor of a recent upgrade with new beam lines and instruments.
IMAGINE will be placed on a beam line with a cold neutron source, in which neutrons are chilled to reduce their energy and make them more useful for analyzing materials’ properties at longer microscopic lengths.
Single-crystal neutron crystallography allows precise determination of the three-dimensional structure of molecules and provides detailed information about the spatial arrangement of molecules in solids. It is especially useful for determining the position of hydrogen atoms, which the related technique of X-ray diffraction cannot do as well.
“Because of the HFIR’s high intensity of neutrons, we will be able to study the structure of compounds that produce relatively small crystals,” Koritsanszky said. “These studies will have an impact in a number of areas ranging from systems of medium-size molecules of biological interest to extended systems containing metal organic frameworks useful in materials research.
“This instrument will be an integral part of teaching as well as research,” he said.

For MTSU news and information, go to


Bill Cabage, the writer of this news release, works in the Office of Communications and External Relations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Note: For a jpeg photo of Dr. Tibor Koritsanszky, contact Randy Weiler in the News and Public Affairs office by calling 615-898-5616 or e-mail

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