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Educational software for teaching solid -state structures and structure determination

Robert Paul Grosso, University of Massachusetts Amherst


It appears more and more that solid-state chemistry is an overlooked field within the overlooked sub-discipline of inorganic chemistry. This is unfortunate because some of the most exciting advances taking place in chemistry today involve solid-state materials and solid-state, high-tech devices. Industry is interested in finding scientists, and in particular, chemists, who understand the chemistry and structure of catalytic, mechanical, electronic, photonic, and superconducting materials. Clearly, the need is there to teach and introduce students to these concepts. ^ But how to do it. If one tries to delve too deeply into complex fields such as the concepts underlying x-ray crystallography, students may become intimidated or uninterested, and choose not to try any program that insists on studying these concepts too deeply. Industry then has a group of scientists who know how to take an x-ray diffraction pattern, but have no idea what it means or how it comes about. ^ It is the thesis of this paper that computer programs can aid in this endeavor. Accordingly, the author has created four computer programs designed to teach students some fundamental solid-state chemistry concepts, particularly, fundamental concepts of structure and structure determination, with an emphasis on x-ray crystallography. The titles of the four programs are illustrative: Structures, Lattice Energetics, Symmetry and Point Groups, and X-Rays and Diffraction. The science behind each of these topics will be covered within this dissertation, as well as software and computer code that may be of interest to solid-state chemists. ^

Subject Area

Inorganic chemistry

Recommended Citation

Grosso, Robert Paul, "Educational software for teaching solid -state structures and structure determination" (2002). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3068562.