Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies

Scientists and engineers working together for a sustainable future

Tagged: Training

Durham Rietveld Refinement & Powder Diffraction School 2016

  , ,

📥  Internships & visits

This post was contributed by Oli Weber


This week I left the relatively safe confines of Bath behind to traverse the country diagonally up to Durham, a well-travelled route since Medieval times, when pilgrims would visit the shrine of St. Cuthbert hoping to find cures for gout, leprosy or demonic possession. My purpose was to attend the biennial powder diffraction school held at the University of Durham, along with scientists and engineers from all over the world.

Crystallography, the study of atomic structure using diffracted waves of X-rays, neutrons or electrons, underpins a vast amount of science and technology, including my own research into solar cell materials. Collection and analysis of the data can be far from straightforward, and we took part in a series of lectures, tutorials and computer workshops designed to help us grapple with problems from the routine to the diabolical.

The sights of Durham - somewhere in the fog there’s a cathedral.

The sights of Durham - somewhere in the fog there’s a cathedral.

The opportunity to travel to absorb new ideas and meet new people with shared research interests is without doubt one of the best parts of life in the CSCT. The evenings after the formal course were packed with social events centred on Grey College bar, or a treasure hunt around the city with crystallographically themed cryptic clues.

All in all, this was an excellent course for reinforcing theory and technical knowledge in structure refinement techniques. I’d like to thank the course organisers, particularly Professor John and Dr Ivana Evans, as well as the CSCT for funding my participation.


Oli is in his third year of the CSCT, studying towards his PhD on "Optimizing energy harvesting processes in metal halide photovoltaics" with Professor Mark Weller and Professor Chris Bowen.

 

 

 

ISIS and Diamond CDT Training School

  , , , , ,

📥  Seminars & Conferences

100 CDT students from a broad variety of disciplines and from across the country descended upon the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire, run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and home to over 1000 scientists and many of the UK’s leading scientific facilities. Our students embarked on this highly enjoyable residential course, to learn about the science that happens at Diamond Light Source and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source and how we would be able to benefit from the facilities. This post was contributed by Oliver Hammond, Naomi Elstone and Jamie Courtenay.

diamond7

Oliver, Jemma, Jamie, Naomi and Oli at the facilities

“One of these statements is a lie: (1) Diamond is a time machine. (2) Diamond is an alien spaceship that lands once a week. Well, it’s not a spaceship… As the electron beam is accelerated to 99.99% of the speed of light; fast enough to circumnavigate the Earth 7.5 times per second, time becomes squashed for the electrons due to special relativity. So, each electron spends just 14 seconds in the synchrotron, but in this time we have lived through a full 24 hours.”

Dimond1

The proton beam

On the first day we had a relaxed welcome, with introductory lectures and the opportunity to tour the RAL campus. We were taken first around ISIS and then Diamond by the beamline scientists, and it was great to be able to appreciate the sheer scale of these facilities whilst being told about the science that is done on the various beamlines. To control the proton beam at ISIS, they need to ‘bend’ it with a powerful magnetic field. Large quadrupole magnetics are placed around the synchrotron to keep the beam in check. These magnets put your standard horseshoe magnets to shame! They are over a metre in height and are constantly cooled with water as they get so hot.

diamond2

As we walked around the doughnut shaped building we had the opportunity to see all 22 of the different beamlines that Diamond has. Beamlines are set up to carry out a smorgasbord of experiments from Small-angle X-Ray Scattering to Molecular Spectroscopy and Protein Crystallography.

The synchrotron is therefore in demand from a plethora of fields, from Chemists and Physicists to palaeontologists trying to find the colour of dinosaurs.

The formal lectures covered the techniques offered at RAL; Imaging & Tomography, Small Angle Scattering, Molecular & Electronic spectroscopy, single crystal & powder diffraction, surface films & multilayers, lasers and muons. Scientists from RAL and guest speakers lectured us on their areas of interest to provide an engaging range of lectures. After the talks, students were able to discuss their work with beamline scientists to see if ISIS and Diamond could offer any opportunities for experiments. We were then split into groups to try our hand at hands on workshops where we analysed and interpreted real data, for example in the muons workshop we analysed the cosmic rays that were hitting us in real-time.

diamond5

In the evenings we were treated to a series of engaging informal lectures. On Monday, Professor Colin Pulham, STFC Public Engagement Fellow, gave a memorable talk on ‘Materials Under Extreme Conditions,’ complete with explosive demonstrations and advice on public engagement techniques. On Tuesday evening Dr Alison Davenport lectured on corrosion science and how it affects nuclear waste disposal and aeroplanes. Dr Martin Owen Jones then gave us a passionate insight into his love of hydrogen as the saviour of the modern world, and the role of ISIS in pioneering this technology. To round off the week in style, our final talk was from the brilliant Professor Phil Manning from Manchester University, who is interested in using the synchrotron light to uncover secrets about dinosaurs.

This course was extremely educational and we had a wonderful experience meeting people from other CDTs.

 

Conference Report: 2013 International Summer School
 on HPC Challenges in Computational Sciences

  , , , ,

📥  Seminars & Conferences

From Sunday 23 to Friday 28 June 2013, DTC PhD student Jessica Bristow took part in the 2013 International Summer School 
on HPC Challenges in Computational Sciences in New York. This post describes her experience.

It was a privilege to be accepted to the 2013 International Summer School
 on HPC Challenges in Computational Sciences in New York. During this summer school we were taught:

  • HPC challenges with specific reference to individual subjects such as: materials chemistry, astrophysics, bioinformatics etc;
  • How to analyze the performance & profiling of a code and improve the efficiency via the implementation of OpenMP, MP, CUDA and OpenACC;
  • Available numerical libraries to aid coding;
  • For the more relaxed lectures we were taught data management and scientific visualization tools.

Jess NYC Summer School 2013

The summer school was a unique opportunity to meet others in my field and initiate future collaborations for my PhD. We all enjoyed the school and the additional activities put on for us included a cruise up the River Hudson. I would like to thank specifically Scott Lathrop and Simon Wong for organizing this event.

I would like to express my gratitude to the U.S. National Science Foundation's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) project, the European Union Seventh Framework Program's Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE), and RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS) who formed a collaboration to offer 70 students from Europe, USA and Japan an expense-paid program.

HPC challenges with specific reference to individual subjects such as: materials chemistry, astrophysics, bioinformatics etc.
How to analyze the performance & profiling of a code and improve the efficiency via the implementation of OpenMP, MP, CUDA and OpenACC.
Available numerical libraries to aid coding.
For the more relaxed lectures we were taught data management and scientific visualization tools.

 

Energy Young Entrepreneurs Scheme

  , , , , , , , , ,

📥  Events

Team CSCT presentingFour DTC students  recently participated in a three-day energy themed business competition organised for postgraduate researchers in the EPSRC-funded Network of Energy Centres for Doctoral Training.

Lee Burton, David Miles, Lisa Sargeant and Kathryn Wills represented our DTC to compete against nine other teams at the Energy Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (Energy YES) which took place in Edinburgh on 22-24 May. The scheme was created to develop business awareness and an understanding of entrepreneurship amongst researchers.

Over the three days there were presentations and case studies from leading business and industry figures which covered a range of topics around entrepreneurship, commercialisation and technology transfer. In addition to these sessions, the teams also spent a large part of the week devising a 5-year business plan for a new business idea related to an energy technology.

Mentors from a variety of backgrounds with experience spanning the energy sector and start-up businesses were on hand to offer advice and the week culminated with an oral business plan presentation to a group of potential investors.

Although it was the team from the Midlands Energy Graduate School who were ultimately successful, our students all agreed that the workshop was a very useful experience for learning business skills and an excellent opportunity for networking with the other Energy CDTs and energy-sector professionals.

Photos 1 & 2 reproduced with permission from the Energy CDT Network.