Electron Crystallography School 2015 – ECS2015
28-31 August 2015, Poreč, Croatia.
Following the annual tradition of offering an electron crystallography school across Europe, this year’s Electron Crystallography School – ECS2015 was organized from 28 till 31 August 2015 in Poreč, Croatia. The speciality of the most recent school was that it was attached to a large crystallographic event - ECM29 as a satellite meeting. The neighbourhood of the crystallographic community gave a unique possibility to expose electron crystallography to the broad auditorium.
The peculiar topic of the school - standing on the cross road between crystallography and electron microscopy - attracted students from the X-ray crystallography field willing to expand their methods collection to electron diffraction and electron microscopists eager to learn about non-standard use of electron images and diffraction.
The school’s program comprised 3 days of lectures and tutorials as well as a poster session.
A set of 4 lectures was given during the morning session of each day addressing specific topics. During the first day, lectures covered the basic crystallography concepts and specifics of their application to electron diffraction. The second day lectures gave insights into the electron diffraction tomography methods, the phase problem and crystallographic structure analysis methods for electron diffraction. The third day was devoted to specific crystallographic problems – lattice defects, modulated structures and poorly crystalline materials, seen by electron scattering.
Tutorials were offered during the afternoon sessions of each day also addressing dedicated topics. Two hours basic crystallography tutorials trained students in solving simple tasks related to symmetry determination, indexing of electron diffraction patterns, lattice transformation and calculation of the structure factors. All these tasks were solved with an aid of a pan and paper and were particularly acknowledged by the students in the school evaluation forms. The students had a chance to work with different software packages for electron diffraction data processing and perform structure analysis of simple compounds applying different techniques such as direct methods, charge flipping.
Lectures and tutorials were designed in an integrated way building upon each other. For example, during the lectures, alternative approaches to the analysis of diffuse scattering were discussed followed by a tutorial on diffraction data simulation from disordered structures. Finally, a lecture and a tutorial on programming gave students a possibility to make first steps in the coding.
In addition to classroom discussions, the students were given the opportunity to present their research during the poster session and discuss their findings with the lecturers and other students. Generous sponsorship from the private sector in the form of poster prizes provided an additional incentive powerfully motivated the participants. Three poster prizes for the most excellent works were given to Olesia Karakulina (Antwerp, Belgium), Sung Jin Kang (Cambridge, UK) and Jose Fernandes (Como, Italy).
30 students participated in the school, coming from different countries – Poland, Germany, UK, Sweden, Spain, Turkey, Ireland, Czech Republic, Italy, Argentina, Croatia, Belgium and Switzerland. The active contribution and motivation of the students has to be particularly mentioned as a key asset of the school: all lectures were followed by deep sensible questions; the tutorials had a format of a vivid scientific dialog.
The financial support from IUCr was used to support the students: five IUCr young scientists’ awards have been given.
We are grateful for the sponsorship of European Microscopy Society (EMS) in the form of traveling grants for lectures. This sponsorship was used to cover the traveling and accommodation expenses of Dr. Enrico Mugnaioli (University of Siena, Italy) and Dr. Maciej Zubko (University of Silesia, Poland) bringing their scientific expertise and teaching efforts to the school.
Finally the support from the parent meeting – the ECM29, and especially the continuous help of Dr. Nenad Tomasic (University of Zagreb, Croatia) in preparing the school as well as administrative support during the event is greatly acknowledged.
Tatiana E. Gorelik