X-ray Crystallography Center

The X-ray Crystallography Center was fully renovated in November 2007 and houses a single-crystal X-ray diffraction system, a brand-new Bruker D8 VENTURE diffractometer, providing X-ray diffraction tools for structural characterization of small molecules (organic, inorganic and organometallic). X-ray structure analysis of small-molecule are conducted primarily on single crystals submitted by researchers within the university. As an extension service, the facility also accepts sample submissions from research organizations outside the university.

Students are encouraged to learn to operate the instrumentation, collect data themselves, and solve their own structures. Practical training, supervision, advice, and assistance are provided by the facility director. The art and science of X-ray crystallography are introduced as a graduate/undergraduate course. Graduate students and post-docs who have completed in-house training may work independently. Undergraduate students generally work directly with the facility director.

Complete X-Ray Crystallography Center Description

General Admission for each certificate course is $150. 
No discounts are available.

Fall 2023 Registration


Small Molecule Diffractometer

The facility maintains a state-of-the-art Bruker D8 VENTURE fully automated single crystal diffractometer, duo wavelength system with high brightness ImuS molybdenum and copper source, coupled with a PHOTON II CPAD detector. This system can obtain charge density quality data with Mo radiation and exploit all the advantages of Cu wavelength for absolute structure determination and diffraction experiments on ever smaller organic crystals. Low temperature device used is an Oxford 800 series Cryostream system with temperature range of 80-400 K. An LEICA M125 stereo zoom microscope is used to view and mount crystals. The X-ray Crystallographic Facility also includes a Crystal Growth Laboratory, equipped to aid students in obtaining crystals suitable for structure determination.

The facility has two Dell Precision workstations for data collection, structure solution and refinement. Software packages include APEX4, TWINABS, CELL_NOW, ROTAX, PLATON, WINGX, and a license for the Cambridge Structural Database™ (CSD).


The X-Ray Crystallography Center operates on a 24/7 schedule.

Service is provided for all aspects of small molecule crystallography:

  • Crystallization
  • Sample examination and evaluation (optical and diffraction)
  • Data collection and reduction  
  • Structure solution and refinement 
  • Presentation graphics preparation 
  • Preparation of tables and cif files for publication
  • File submission to the Cambridge Structural Database™

Turn around time is highly dependent on crystal quality and size.

Key Outputs and Achievements

Boknevitz, K.; Italia, J. S.; Li, B.; Chatterjee, A.; Liu, S.-Y. "Synthesis and Characterization of an Unnatural Boron and Nitrogen-containing Tryptophan Analogue and its Incorporation into Proteins" Chem. Sci. 2019, 10, 4994-4998.

Crockett, M. P.; Tyrol, C. C.; Wong, A. S.; Li, B.; Byers, J. A. "Iron-Catalyzed Suzuki–Miyaura Cross-Coupling Reactions between Alkyl Halides and Unactivated Arylboronic Esters" Org. Lett. 2018, 20, 5233-5237.

Liu, Z.; Ishibashi, J. S. A.; Darrigan, C.; Dargelos, A.; Chrostowska, A.; Li, B.; Vasiliu, M.; Dixon, D. A.; Liu, S.-Y. “The Least Stable Isomer of BN Naphthalene: Toward Predictive Trends for the Optoelectronic Properties of BN Acenes" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 6082-6085.

Mikus, M. S.; Torker, S.; Xu, C.; Li, B.; Hoveyda, A. H. " Pentacoordinate Ruthenium(ll) Catecholthiolate and Mercaptophenolate Catalysts for Olefin Metathesis: Anionic Ligand Exchange and Ease of Initiation " Organometallics 2016, 35, 3878-3892.

Documents, Manuals, Notes, and Useful Links

Please note that all work performed in BC core facilities and recharge centers should always be appropriately acknowledged.  If you are publishing or presenting data acquired in BC core facilities and recharge centers, please include the following statement in the Acknowledgement section of your manuscript/poster/presentation, "The authors would like to thank the Boston College <insert facility name> for assistance with the work presented in this paper/poster/presentation*."
* Delete as appropriate

Bo Li, Ph.D.

Bo Li, Ph.D.
Director, X-ray Crystallography Cente

Dr. Bo Li joined the Chemistry Department at Boston College in January 2008. He served as a staff crystallographer in the Department of Chemistry, SUNY/Albany, where he earned his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry. A native of China, Dr. Li received his B.S. in material sciences from Tongji University and a M.S. majoring in crystal growth and crystallography at Beijing Polytechnic University. Dr. Li has collected and solved over 2000 crystal structures of inorganic and organic compounds. He has substantial experience in handling crystal samples that are liquids at ambient temperature, extremely unstable, moisture- and air-sensitive, very small, and severely disordered or twinned. His research interests focus on inorganic and organometallic chemistry of heterometallic compounds.

X-ray Crystallography Center
Bo Li, Ph.D.
Merkert 209B