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A broad range of analytical services are provided to collaborators, members of the University, other institutions, and private companies.

Powder X-ray Diffraction (PXRD)

Powder X-ray Diffraction (PXRD) is possibly the most important characterisation method used in materials and solid-state science and is capable of providing both qualitative and quantitative information about the sample under investigation. 

The School has established one of the most advanced and well equipped PXRD laboratories in the world. The facility has a very wide range of capabilities, including most types of XRD and X-ray scattering measurements achievable on laboratory-based instrumentation.

Single Crystal X-Ray Diffraction (SC-XRD)

This world-class facility probes the structure, symmetry and nature of bonds in molecular crystals. Accurate molecular geometries, stereochemistry and even absolute configurations of molecules are almost routinely determined from x-ray diffraction data.

The laboratory contains two single-crystal diffractometers: Bruker D8 Venture Photon CMOS and a Bruker SMART APEX II, as well as two microscopes: Olympus SZ61 with a Kofler Hot Stage, and an Olympus SZ-STS. The MSI continues to be the distributor of the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD) in Southern Africa. The Institute hosts the web site for the SA Crystallographic Society.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy

The NMR lab has four Bruker spectrometers: a 300 MHz two-channel machine with automated recording and sample changer, used for routine work; and two 400 MHz three-channel machines.

The 500 MHz spectrometer with solid-state capability is mainly used for NMR-orientated research. The facility is pivotal to wide-ranging research programs and supports over a hundred users from the school of chemistry and other departments within the University. In addition to this, NMR services are performed for several clients from industry and other academic institutions.

We provide services at different rates to:

  • Researchers and students within the University 
  • Researchers from other academic institutions in South Africa
  • Scientists in Industry and the private sector

We are one of the best-equipped NMR labs in South Africa and we currently house a 300 MHz, 400 MHz and 500 MHz Bruker NMR Spectrometers. The 300 MHz instrument is a routine broad band instrument with a 60 slot auto sampler. Both the 400 MHz Avance III instruments are equipped with a dedicated phosphorous channel with an extended range X band probe which allow for the indirect detection of low-frequency nuclides. The 500 MHz Avance III spectrometer is equipped with a 60 slot auto sampler and has a series of probes for a wide range of experiments which includes a solids probe for solid-state NMR.

The NMR Service supplies a range of deuterated solvents, tubes and data processing software. Some of the experiments which can be performed include: Multinuclear 1D NMR (1H, 13C, 31P, 195Pt etc.), 2D (COSY, 1H;13C HSQC, 1H;15N HMBC, 31P;103Rh HSQC etc.) and solid-state NMR (CP MAS, 11B, 195Pt, 29Si etc.)

Research students from the School with the necessary training, run their own NMR spectra on the 300 MHz and 400 MHz spectrometers while the 500 MHz spectrometer is a specialised dedicated research instrument. The NMR service is run by Drs. Memory Zimuwandeyi and Izak Kotze, each with years of experience in NMR Spectroscopy.

If you require any NMR service, please send an email to:

We can also assist you to choose experiments to solve your particular problem, and can offer expert advice where needed. We can supply everything you need to do NMR analysis.

Mass Spectrometry (MS)

This laboratory has various MS instruments including HPLC-MS, GC-MS and ICP-M