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About the Cambridge Structural Database

CSD has long been a databank in which chemists, engineers, and materials scientists have published supplementary structural information for their journal articles. The database currently contains X-ray and neutron diffraction analyses for carbon-containing compounds composed of up to 1000 atoms. Types of substances represented include:

  • Organics
  • Organometallics
  • Metal complexes
  • Compounds of main group elements
  • Peptides of up to 24 residues
  • Mono-, di-, and tri-nucleotides

The database is searchable by structure, text, or the journal article that the crystal structure accompanies, and it permits substructure searching. Entries for each compound include:

  • Complete literature citations (title, author, journal, etc.)
  • Compound information (name, formula, and structural representation in two or three dimensions)
  • Textual information (details of disorder, non-standard experimental conditions, absolute configuration, etc.)
  • Crystallographic information (atomic coordinates, cell parameters, space group, unit cell information, etc.)

The desktop client version of the Cambridge Structural Database is installed on all computers in the Chemistry Library and can be accessed using an application called ConQuest. Please inquire at the Chemistry Library circulation desk if you are having difficulty finding or using the application on one of our computers. You can also download the database, the ConQuest client, and a selection of related and helper applications to your own on-campus computer by visiting If you prefer not to install the database on your own computer, you may also use the Web-based CSD system by visiting

Using the Cambridge Structural Database

Version Features How Do I Get Started?


  • Available anywhere, any time via Penn's proxy server
  • Enhanced reduced cell search
  • Similarity searching available
  • Export files in .cif, .sdf, and .mol2 formats

Client Version

  • Installed on all computers in the Chemistry Library
  • Available for installation to on-campus PC, Mac, and LINUX systems
  • Identify bond lengths/angles to measure in search results
  • Export to visualization software, such as Mercury
  • Export search parameters, as well as crystal structure coordinates, to .xls, in addition to other file formats
Can be installed to any on-campus PC, Mac, or LINUX system using the download instructions at

For further information, please contact Judith Currano, Chemistry Librarian, at