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 Christopher Smalley

Christopher Smalley

Research student, School of Chemistry

I graduated from the University of Central Lancashire, Preston in 2018 with a First Class BSc (Hons) in Chemistry. My dissertation was focused on the synthesis, characterisation and application of industrially-important zeolites for nuclear waste remediation. Throughout my undergraduate studies I completed two internships, one with Johnson Matthey Clean Air on the implementation of copper-zeolites in deNOx technology in automobiles. The other was internal, where I studied ion-exchanged zeolites and their ability to treat pharmaceutically-contaminated wastewater.

In October 2018, I joined Professor Kenneth Harris' group on an EPSRC funded PhD project with both the School of Chemistry and School of Biosciences. My PhD focuses on the development and optimization of next-generation methodology for crystal structure determination. The main aim of the project is to develop synergy between experimental and computational techniques for structure solution, with the overall goal being a fluid method of structure solution more powerful than current methods. I am an avid science communicator, I won 'best talk' at Speaking of Science 2019 where I discussed powder diffraction techniques in a layman way.

I work with a number of materials, such as; oligopeptides, pharmaceutically important materials, microporous framework solids and polymeric materials.

Prior to my undergraduate studies I was a Nuffield Foundation research intern at the University of Central Lancashire in the Allied Health Research Unit with Professor James Richards. Here I worked on evaluating the use of a 'MOxy' in measuring muscle tissue oxygenation for biomechanical studies.

I have previously volunteered at Lancashire Science Festival with a small group of scientists in performing chemistry-based outreach shows for the public.



CH3102: Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry


Expanding the Scope of Power X-Ray Diffraction: Development and Application of Next Generation Methodology for Structure Determination

Single-crystal X-ray diffraction is a powerful technique for crystal structure determination, however single-crystals can be near-impossible to produce. Therefore, powder X-ray diffraction is often used as an alternative to determine crystal structures, due to the simple sample preparation.

My PhD project is primarily focused on the development of new methodology for structure solution from powder X-ray diffraction data. My aim is to implement other types of data to supplement structure determination, such as; solid-state NMR and periodic-DFT calculations.

Target materials for structure solution are:

  • Oligopeptides

  • Pharmaceutically important materials

  • Microporous framework solids

  • Polymeric materials

The overall goal is to develop more powerful structure solution procedures by promoting synergy between computational and experimental techniques, this in turn will allow us to solve the crystal structures of increasingly complicated materials and expand the scope of powder X-ray diffraction.

Funding source

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

Prof Kenneth Harris

Professor Kenneth Harris

Distinguished Research Professor

Dr Mark Young

Dr Mark Young

Senior Lecturer