Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions –

For enquiries about samples that have been submitted recently please contact
the NCS at

Tel. (023) 80596722.

For enquiries about crystal data you have already received you may also contact the person who was concerned with this particular structure.

Please visit the Access page for information on this subject.

Whatever you consider reasonable to achieve the objectives set out in your proposal. Note please that this point is considered by the Strategic Allocation Panel.

It will be acknowledged by receipt on e-mail. Decisions for allocations are made at a Strategic Allocations Panel meeting and you will be notified of the outcome of your application shortly after this time.

This is a combination of the high/medium/low grade given by the  Strategic Allocation Panel and the number of your samples already processed relative to the total annual allocation.

The formula is needed to perform an empirical absorption correction.

We are able to deal with samples sensitive to air, moisture, temperature, solvent loss and light.


Samples that are sensitive under ambient conditions should be packaged accordingly:


Solvent dependents should be sent in the mother liquor and the vessel sealed with parafilm


Air sensitives should be sent under an inert atmosphere in an air-tight container, again sealed with parafilm. We have a argon/vacuum line and are capable of handling Schlenk tubes and other such similar vessels. You may send samples in Lindemann capilliaries, but these will be broken under oil and the crystal floated out to be mounted for data collection (therefore we will be unable to return your sample in this case).


Light sensitive samples should be protected by wrapping in aluminium foil.

Please contact the service personnel to make arrangements for the transport of temperature dependent samples.


Most samples will be stored sealed within the container they were submitted in at room temperature in a well-ventilated laboratory.


If required (and indicated) samples can also be stored in a:


  • Fridge (~4¬įC)
  • Freezer (~ -20¬įC)
  • Vacuum desiccator
  • Glove box


Storage is available for radioactive and bio-hazardous samples, but please let us know before sending the sample so that we can make suitable arrangements.


If you have any other special requirements for storage please contact us to discuss these and where possible we will be happy to arrange these facilities.

To comply with the Euratom treaty and University of Southampton radioactive substances policy, we are now obliged to log and track all radioactive material on site, however small the amount. This includes compounds containing the following elements regardless of whether they show activity above normal or not


  • Uranium¬†
  • Thorium¬†
  • Plutonium


If you wish to submit a sample containing radioactive elements we ask that you follow the procedure below:


Email the service team on, with the expected empirical formula, the activity of the sample and the mass of the sample being sent. It would also be helpful to know if the sample requires special storage or handling.


The service team will confirm the details with you, and inform the Southampton University Radiation Protection Service(SURPS).


Once the details have been confirmed, you can send the sample to the service with the normal submission form.


Before the sample is returned to you we will contact you informing the sample is about to be sent out.


The SURPS form will be archived by the NCS should you require a copy for your own institution records you can email the service administrator who send you a copy.

Please contact the service personnel for assistance if required.