“I have learnt many invaluable things from the workshop and I am positive this will help me to analyse my data and write up a paper.”


Judging by their feedback, the PhD students and early career researchers who attended a recent powder diffraction data analysis workshop at the National Centre for Synchrotron Science really found the event worthwhile.

In September 2013, 32 students and researchers from universities and research institutions in Australia and Taiwan came to Melbourne for the 2013 powder diffraction analysis workshop held jointly by the powder diffraction beamline teams at Australian Synchrotron and OPAL. This annual event is held alternately in Melbourne and Sydney.

Speakers at the 2013 workshop, included Neeraj Sharma (UNSW), James Hester and (ANSTO), Helen Maynard-Casely from (ANSTO), Ian Madsen (CSIRO), and Helen Brand, Qinfen Gu and Justin Kimpton from the Australian Synchrotron.

The workshop provided current and potential users of synchrotron x-ray and neutron powder diffraction facilities with a well-rounded overview of powder diffraction techniques and software, including advice on experiment planning and applying for synchrotron or neutron beamtime. Lecture topics included basic crystallography, symmetry and structure, proposal writing, experimental preparation, instrumentation, sample preparation, data corrections, qualitative phase analysis and Rietveld modelling. Hands-on tutorials were a major part of the workshop.

Participants also enjoyed pizza and BBQ dinners provided by the PD beamline team, and the opportunity to unwind and chat informally with the speakers and other participants. A major power failure on the first night was judged a mere inconvenience, easily overshadowed by the success of the trivia contest organised by Helen Brand.