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Centre for X-ray Crystallography

History

The Center for X-ray Crystallography that exists today was part of the Inorganic and Physical Chemistry Division, as X-ray section, in the early sixties established by Dr. S.Husain Zaheer, then director. The section under director Dr. G. S. Siddhu, used Oscillation, Weissenberg and Laue cameras to capture diffraction photographs of crystal and powder samples of alkoxides, bariumchromate pigments and for indexing. In the early eighties, during director Dr. Thyagarajan's period, the X-ray section started to crawl as the research focus was gradually shifted towards crystallization of materials and grew up when its prime focus was the characterization of inorganic catalysts and materials using X-ray methods, realizing their impact in applied research. In the early nineties, Dr. A. V. Rama Rao, the then director of IICT, desired to set up a full fledged chemical crystallography department to cater the needs of organic chemistry and natural products oriented projects. The first in-house single crystal X-ray diffractometer was procured in 1990, after which it became the foremost technique to characterize three dimensional structures of difficult-to-characterize natural products and synthetic organic compounds. Some of the well known examples are Fredericamycin A, RU 486, FK506, ladderanes etc. The section initiated on its own several crystallographic structures solution studies resulting in publications. In
parallel, as the need for powder X-ray diffraction method was required by various pharmaceutical industries, the X-ray section was chosen as a reputed lab to provide expertise studies on API characterization, development of validation methods, and providing support for USFDA approval for drug master file applications. This resulted significant revenues and laurels to the institute.

Realizing the growth of the institute and demands from Industries, Dr. K. V.Raghavan, then director, made the X-ray section as CSIR-Diamond Jubilee center for X-ray crystallography, inaugurated by then DG-CSIR, Dr. R. A. Mashelkar in theyear 2002. The Center was augmented with the state-of-the-art single crystal and powder X-ray diffractometers. Several industrial projects were completed and the center received the highest customer satisfaction rating (CSIR customer satisfaction evaluation 3.57 on a scale of 4). The Center's XRD facility was duly recognized as one of the key analytical facilities, for which the Institute's analytical services was awarded with ISO-9000 certification. The Center was also highly appreciated by the Institute for being the highest external cash flow (ECF) earner during this decade. The department of AYUSH insisted a focused attention on quality control measures and standardization of herbal drugs, in particular, the concentrations of heavy metals.

Realizing the societal needs, Dr. J. S. Yadav, then director, nurtured the center and created a national facility for characterization of herbo-metallic preparations using X-ray fluorescence (funded by DST, India) at the centre for X-ray crystallography, IICT in 2006. Many ayurveda and siddha institutes have greatly benefited. The former director Dr. M. Lakshmi Kantam supported the activities of the centre and strengthened the research project in pharmaceutical chemistry. The present director Dr S.Chandrasekhar valued the center's efforts and encourages undertaking challenging projects in the cutting edge frontier research areas of crystallography. The Center enhances the use of X-ray crystallography in many research programs of the institute and offers its expertise for collaborative research with other departments within the institute and nation wide universities. This has helped various sectors of people and catalyzed more number of good quality publications with good Journal impact factors.

The Division is known for its R & D activities on drug polymorphism, to name a few, safinamide, setraline HC1, palonosetran, aripiprazole, tamsulosin etc. Over 600 research articles have been published. The division achieved a milestone in the history of crystallography in archiving a half-a-millionth structure at the Cambridge Structural Database (CSD). The polymorph of anticonvulsant lamotrigine elucidated at the X-ray crystallography division, IICT, published in Acta crystallographica: Structural Chemistry, C65, 2009, o460-464, was selected by CCDC, Cambridge, UK. Some of the important research works of the division were highlighted on the cover page of the Journals; Ezetimibe monohydrate in Acta Crystallographica: Sect E of 2005 and antiglucoma agent Dorzolamide HC1 in Acta Crystallographica: Sect C of 2007. Conformational analysis of antimigraine triptan-based drugs (sumotriptan, zolmitriptan, razatriptan, frovatriptan, almotriptan, eletriptan, naratriptan) has helped to develop structure based pharmacophore model.

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