The European Spallation Source (ESS) is a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC), based around what will be the world’s most powerful neutron source. Located in Lund, Sweden, the facility will produce its first neutrons in 2020 and will begin a user programme in 2023. The Deuteration and Macromolecular Crystallisation (DEMAX) platform, part of the Scientific Activities Division, is comprised of chemical and biological deuteration and crystallisation. The chemical deuteration laboratory (DEULAB) at the ESS, housed in Medicon Village, focuses on the synthesis of novel, complex, deuterated small molecules for European neutron users, in collaboration with the other Deuteration Network (DEUNET) partner institutions. The biological deuteration and crystallisation laboratory of ESS is co-housed with the Lund Protein Production Platform (LP3), within Lund University.
Hanna Wacklin-Knecht coordinates the DEUNET, and works in the DEMAX platform developing methods for lipid deuteration and purification from biological cell cultures. Anna Leung is a synthetic chemist in the DEMAX platform, developing methods of chemical and enzymatic synthesis which can be used to produce deuterated small molecules such as lipids, surfactants and monomers for neutron scattering experiments. With the help of Oliver Bogojevic, now pursuing a PhD at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, ESS has developed methods for enzyme-assisted synthesis of chain-deuterated phospholipids. Fatima Plieva joined DEMAX in August 2020 to work on lipid purification and analysis. Jia-Fei Poon (Lund University/ESS) works on the synthesis of novel surfactants for use in food and medical applications.
Zoë Fisher is the DEMAX group leader and works in the areas of biological deuteration and macromolecular crystallisation, producing partially or perdeuterated macromolecules for neutron scattering.
ISIS is a world-leading centre for physical and life science research, located near Oxford in the United Kingdom. The ISIS Deuteration Facility is able to produce deuterated samples for neutron experiments. The laboratory itself is well equipped with synthetic and analytical equipment.
The laboratory staff have a broad range of chemical expertise in synthesising per(deuterated) long-chain molecules up to C20 (including odd-numbered chains), covering fatty acids, alcohols, bromoalkanes, alkyl trichlorosilanes and other related species. They also have considerable experience in the synthesis of (per)deuterated ionic and non-ionic surfactants; carbohydrate and phosphorus chemistry; in the incorporation of (per)deuterated motifs into ionic liquids and custom small molecule synthesis. Kun Ma is employed by the ISIS Deuteration Facility to work on the SINE2020 Chemical Deuteration project.
The Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) is one of the world’s flagship centre for neutron science located in Grenoble, France. The Soft Matter Science and Support (SMSS) group at the ILL is responsible for setting up a deuterated lipid extraction facility, initially funded by the SINE2020 grant and in collaboration with the ILL’s Deuteration laboratory (D-lab). The D-lab assists external users wishing to make their own deuterated biological molecules for use in neutron scattering experiments.
Giovanna Fragneto is the head of the SMSS group. Her research focuses on the structural characterization and fluctuations of model biological membranes using neutron and X-ray reflectometry with aim of understanding phenomena at cell surfaces. Examples include the interaction of membranes with peptides, proteins, drugs or drug delivery systems. Yuri Gerelli is the scientist coordinator of the Partnership for Soft Condensed Matter (PSCM) initiative – a joint effort between the ILL and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). Some of his research focuses on the development of model membrane systems and on lipid exchange and flip-flop mechanisms in supported bilayers. Krishna Batchu is a postdoctoral researcher who has been hired as part of the SINE2020 grant to work on the large scale production, extraction and separation of deuterated lipids.
Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) is an inter-disciplinary research institute in Jülich, Germany. The Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) conducts research into many areas relevant to neutron-based science. The JCNS runs a synthesis laboratory for the production of soft matter samples which are mainly polymer-based. Jürgen Allgaier contributes their knowledge of deuterated monomers and polymers to the Deuteration Network. Lisa Fruhner works on synthetic methods for deuteration at JCNS.
- Deuterated monomers
- Model polymers (e.g. functional materials; polymers with architecture)
- Composite materials (e.g. nanoparticle composites)
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) operates the OPAL research reaction near Sydney, Australia. The Australian National Deuteration Facility at ANSTO produces both chemically and biologically-deuterated molecules for a range of applications including neutron experiments. ANSTO is an observer member of DEUNET and actively participates in our meetings and discussions.
Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) operates a spallation neutron source, Materials and Life Science Facility (MLF), at Tokai, Japan. The deuteration laboratory at MLF is supplying deuterated molecules as the samples for the neutron experiments in the research fields of material chemistry and biology. MLF is an observer and participates in the discussion in DEUNET.
Lund Protein Production Platform, LP3, is a cross-faculty facility of Lund University for protein production, purification, crystallization and protein structure determination primarily directed at academic research groups based at Lund University. LP3 has in its mission to contribute actively to the interaction of Lund University with MAX IV laboratory, ESS and other relevant major research facilities, networks and initiatives.
The ESS biological deuteration and crystallization laboratory of DEMAX is co-housed with LP3 within Lund University. DEMAX and LP3 are collaborating to coordinate their efforts to develop cost-effective production of deuterated biomaterials (lipids and proteins) for neutron-based methods such as protein crystallography, neutron reflectometry, and small angle neutron scattering.
Current projects include: Deuteration of proteins for neutron crystallography and deuteration of yeast/algae biomass.
KAERI (Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute) operates the research reactor HANARO (High-flux Advanced Neutron Application reactOR) in Daejeon, Korea. HANARO plans to build a deuteration facility in the near future in order to supply deuterated samples for neutron scattering experiments. Previously, deuterated single crystals for neutron single crystal diffraction and neutron inelastic scattering experiments were synthesised to investigate low-dimensional magnetism. Dr. In-Hwan Oh acts as the contact point for DEUNET at HANARO.
Deu-Switch (MEXT KAKENHI Transformative Research Area (B) “Deuterium Science”) is a research project supported by MEXT, Japan for 2020FY–2022FY. This project aims to better understand the properties of deuterated materials, to explore a research field “Deuterium Science”, and to propose a new material design concept “Deu-Switch” that aims to maximize the material functions by precise, logical deuteration of materials. The project leader is Hiroshi Naka (Kyoto University). Deu-Switch participates in the discussions in DEUNET.