X-ray Crystallography Facility

Theodor Agapie – Faculty Advisor
Michael K. Takase – Director

The X-Ray Crystallography Facility (XRCF) has been supporting scientific research as part of the Beckman Institute (BI) at Caltech since 1992. Since inception, our primary mission has been to determine the crystal structures of small molecules, including organic, inorganic and organometallic compounds. The facility provides the appropriate personnel, equipment, and computing facilities for collecting X-ray diffraction data and determining the structures of small molecules from crystalline materials. In addition to small molecule X-ray crystallography (XRC), the facility has expanded to include X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) and elemental analysis (EA). Details for each technique can be found at the facility website.

X-Ray Crystallography (XRC)

X-ray crystallography is an experimental technique which can determine the positions of atoms in a crystal and can be used to understand the solid state structure of a molecule.

The XRCF is equipped with two Bruker single crystal diffractometers. A Bruker AXS D8 KAPPA four-circle diffractometer using Mo radiation from a sealed-tube X-ray generator or a Bruker AXS D8 VENTURE four-circle diffractometer using either Mo or Cu radiation from ImuS micro-sources. Both are equipped with Oxford Cryosystems crystal cooling systems. Data are routinely collected at 100K unless otherwise dictated by the experiment.

X-Ray Powder Diffraction (XRPD)

X-ray powder diffraction is an experimental technique which can determine structure information from a polycrystalline powder.

Two powder diffractometers were added to the facility in Fall 2020. A new Rigaku SmartLab diffractometer was installed in September 2020 and a PANalytical X’Pert Pro was transferred from its previous home in the Faber Lab. The addition of these instruments will greatly increase the capabilities available to the Caltech community.

Elemental Analysis (EA)

The XRCF is equipped with a PerkinElmer 2400 Series II CHN Elemental Analyzer for bulk sample analysis of carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen content in organic and organometallic compounds. This instrument is run on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month.


Publications resulting from data collected in the XRCF should acknowledge the Beckman Institute for their support of the X-Ray Crystallography Facility at Caltech, and data collected on either single crystal diffractometer should also acknowledge the Dow Next Generation Instrumentation Grant. When any data obtained in the XRCF is published please email the citation to the director.

External Users

All services we offer are available to individuals or groups outside Caltech. Interested parties should contact the director.

Michael K. Takase, Ph.D.


  • 116 – Beckman Institute
  • Mail Code 139-74
  • Tel: (626) 395-2734
  • Fax: (626) 449-4159
  • mktakase@caltech.edu

Prof. Theo Agapie

Faculty Advisor

  • 314 – Noyes Lab
  • Mail Code 127-72
  • (626) 395-3617
  • agapie@caltech.edu

Larry Henling, MPS

Staff Crystallographer

  • 128 – Beckman Institute
  • Mail Code 139-74
  • (626) 395-2735
  • lmh@caltech.edu

Lab Contact Information

  • 110 – Beckman Institute
  • Mail Code 139-74
  • Tel: (626) 395-2741
  • Fax: (626) 449-4159
  • xray@caltech.edu