Chemists have often been considered as the "Cinderellas" of the synchrotron radiation user community, but it is now quite clear that not only are they coming to the "ball", they also stay on long after midnight to pursue exciting and innovative science - without any adverse effects! The community is beginning to realise the full potential of synchrotron radiation and the pressure on beam time and support facilities continues to increase.

The Highlights selected for this section illustrate the wide range of opportunities that exists in the various fields of Chemistry. The first involves powder diffraction which was, until a few years ago, a technique considered mundane and restricted in application, for example, to the identification of compounds using a fingerprint technique. However, with the advent of high resolution powder patterns produced using synchrotron radiation (and neutrons), and the development of new refinement methods, powder diffraction is being increasingly used as an ab initio method of structure analysis. Applications of the technique are described to solve the structures of important catalysts and drug related molecules. The second opportunity concentrates on using microbeams to examine very small samples or small portions of a larger sample. The application of the µ X-ray Absorption Tomography and µ-XANES (X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy) techniques, to characterise fuel particles released during a nuclear accident, is described. Finally, opportunities are described for studying photosensitive molecules with a picosecond time resolution. It is to be expected that time-resolved studies, on very short timescales and on longer timescales up to a millisecond, will play an increasing role in the field of Chemistry.

A number of Highlights demonstrate, once again, the wide range of applications and versatility of the XAFS (X-ray Absorption Fine Structure) spectroscopic technique. The following highlights then describe an application of high pressure techniques and a diffraction study of the deposition of fullerenes onto a gold (110) surface, and amply illustrate the varied range of applications of synchrotron radiation in Chemistry.