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I would like to submit a sample for a crystal structure analysis. What should I do?
In order to submit a sample for an X-ray structure analysis, please fill in a request form signed by the group Leader. The X-ray analysis form can be downloaded as a PDF or DOC file.

Whatever I try, my crystals are always too small or bad. What can I do?
There are more solvents than water, ethanol, toluene, dichloromethane or chloroform. Also, there are many other methods of growing crystals than just evaporating the solvent. Here you may find valuable information on how to grow good crystals. Please remember: only good crystals may lead to good results.

My crystals are very sensitive to air, moisture and have to be kept at very low temperatures. What can I do?
We have facilities to handle crystals under protective atmosphere (argon or nitrogen) and we can handle, mount and measure crystals at low temperatures. Please ask one of the staff members of the SMoCC for more information and discuss the specific requirements.

You made a structure analysis for me, how do I get access to my data?
Each group has an account on our server chemcrys.ethz.ch ( Using your group's username and password, you will find here instructions on how to connect to the server and to transfer your files. An easy way is to establish a sftp-connection and login with your group's account and password to transfer the files. On windows and linux computers you may use for example filezilla (connect to port 22).

I have transferred my files and I would like to see my molecule. How can I do this?
There are noumerous graphics programs that can read in cif- or res-files. For molecular compounds a very good (free) program is mercury from the CCDC.

I need information on crystal structures known in literature. Which databases are available?
Organic Compounds:
ETH-members have free acces to the webCSD located at Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC). The access is granted for the ETH IP-address range. If you are not located at the ETH, please establish a vpn connection first. A local installation on our server csd.ethz.ch ( allows access also to more eleborate database searches (3D-search) as well as the extended version of mercury. To get an account, please contact:

Wörle, Michael Dieter, Dr.

HCI H 103, +41 44 632 56 84,

Inorganic Compounds: ETH-members have free acces to the ICSD - Inorganic Crystal Structure Database at the FIZ Karlsruhe. The access is granted for the ETH IP-address range. If you are not located at the ETH, please establish a vpn connection first.

More detailed information on various topics can be found on our chemcrys-server.

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