Reviewed by Joel S Miller
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, US
Visualisation of myriad chemical structures, ranging from molecular species to extended 1-, 2-, and 3D structures including large molecules such as proteins, is crucial for all aspects of chemical research and education, and is well served by CrystalMaker.
In a simple, intuitive manner the latest version of CrystalMaker (v8.2 Mac, v2.2 Windows) provides both students and experienced crystallographers convenient options to view structures whose structural data is available in several formats including CIF, ICSD, CSD, and PDB, and provides for high quality, annotated images highlighting key structural features for publication or presentations.
Large molecules as well as complex, multiple unit cells of extended structures can be inspected in ball and stick, polyhedral, stereo, Ortep, and stick formats, with options to show surfaces, unit cells and axes, to enable insightful views of a structure.
The density and porosity are easily calculated and all bonding and nonbonding distances to dihedral angles just require mouse clicks. Lattice planes can be visualised, and with CrystalDiffract powder patterns are easily generated for comparison with data. CrystalMaker has a customisable icon-based toolbar that enables the user to easily change view and perspectives of a structure. Making animated movies for PowerPoint or KeyNote presentations etc is easier than ever, and one also has the ability to create colour 3D stereo movies.
Experienced crystallographers may resist using CrystalMaker, due to their familiarity with refinement-focused software, but like researchers, students, and other non-crystallographers, they will appreciate the ease with which all structures can be displayed from many perspectives, and the advantages of CrystalMaker’s customisable, photo-realistic, high resolution graphics offer to reports, proposals, publications, posters, and presentations. While initially Mac-based software, it is now in Mac OS and Windows versions, with a range of licensing options, from single-user, group, classroom and site licenses.
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