Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, 2017-10-19

University of Geneva, Laboratory of Crystallography, DPMC, Switzerland (UNIGE)


The Laboratory of Crystallography (http://www.unige.ch/sciences/crystal/) of the University of Geneva has its main research activities in crystallography of metal and chemical hydrides and of intermetallic compounds, and in characterization of their electronic properties. The Faculty of Sciences, where the Laboratory is a member, has about 750 collaborators and 120 PhD students. The Laboratory participates in the organization of the regular Powder School at the PSI Villigen (Switzerland, http://user.web.psi.ch/powder2010/). Since 2010 the Laboratory has been integrated into the National Center of Competence in Research called MaNEP (Materials with novel electronic properties, http://www.manep.ch). Directed from Geneva, MaNEP brings together more than 250 researchers and a unique combination of scientific and technical skills. Currently the MaNEP is integrated into the Department of Solid State Physics (DPMC, http://cms.unige.ch/sciences/physique/la-recherche/physique-de-la-matiere-condensee/). Recently the activities in ionic conductivity measurements have been developed within the Laboratory.


Key personnel

Assoc. Prof. Radovan Černý

Ph.D. (CSc.) in Physics specialisation Solid State Physics, 1987, Charles University, Prague (Czech Republic).

Is an expert in crystallography, ab initio structure solution from powder diffraction data, local order by total scattering experiments. Since 1991 he has been working at the Laboratory of Crystallography of the University of Geneva as assistant and research fellow, since 2012 as associated professor. He has been responsible for 4 research projects on metal hydrides and participant in 4 other research projects at Swiss National Science Foundation, responsible for 1 collaborative SCIEX project on metal borohydrides  between Switzerland-Slovenia, partner in MC RTN HYTRAIN, coordinator of the project INTAS-99-01884: New metal hydrides obtained by high-pressure synthesis: structure and properties, participant in the project INTAS 05-100000-7671: Development of novel intermetallic materials with enhanced hydrogen storage properties.

He is co-author of the successful computer program Fox for crystal structure solution from powder diffraction (http://sourceforge.net/projects/objcryst/).


Experimental facilities

3 powder and 3 single crystal laboratory diffractometers with HT and LT attachments, access to the synchrotron (SNBL, SLS) and neutron (SINQ, LANSCE) neutron sources (beamtime application basis). Ionic conductivity measurement by Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy. Mechanochemical synthesis (ball-milling): RT planetary ball mill Fritsch P7 and Fritsch P7 new line allowing for synthesis under hydrogen pressure. Two Sieverts apparats Setaram PCTpro-2000. Ovens, autoclaves.

Selected publications


  • Schouwink P., D'Anna V., Brix Ley M., Lawson Daku L.M., Richter B., Jensen T.R., Hagemann H. and Černý R., “Bimetallic borohydrides in the system M(BH4)2 - KBH4 (M=Mg, Mn): On the structural diversity“., J. Phys. Chem. C, 116 (2012) 10829-10840.
  • Černý R. and Filinchuk Y.“ Complex inorganic structures from powder diffraction: case of tetrahydroborates of light metals“. Z. Kristallographie 226(2011)882-891 (invited review).
  • Černý R., Ravnsbæk D., Schouwink P., Filinchuk Ya., Penin N., Teyssier J., Smrčok L. and Jensen T.R. “Potassium zinc borohydrides containing triangular [Zn(BH4)3]- and tetrahedral [Zn(BH4)xCl4-x]2- anions“. J. Phys. Chem. C, 116(2012)1563-1571.
  • D. B. Ravnsbæk, R. Černý, Y. Filinchuk, T. R. Jensen, Powder diffraction methods for studies of borohydride-based energy storage materials, Z. Kristallographie, 2010, 225, 557–569 (invited review).
  • Černý R., Schouwink P., Sadikin Y., Stare K., Smrčok L., Richter B. and Jensen T.R. Trimetallic borohydride Li3MZn5(BH4)15 (M = Mg, Mn), two weakly interconnected frameworks. Inorg. Chem., 52 (2013) 9941-9947


Dr. Radovan Cerny
Laboratoire de Cristallographie
Université de Genève
24, quai Ernest-Ansermet
CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland
Phone : [+[41] 22] 37 964 50
FAX : [+[41] 22] 37 961 08

Radovan DOT Cerny AT unige DOT ch