NSU Students and Teacher Participate in European Synchrotron Radiation Facility International School

Students and their teacher from the new NSU interdisciplinary Master’s Program “Methodological Support of Physical Chemistry Studies of Condensed Phases” took part in the international High Pressure Techniques School that was conducted June 17-21 in Grenoble, France.

The School was organized by the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) to familiarize high-pressure researchers with the ESRF after its modernization and to prepare them for fundamentally new research using the fourth-generation ESRF EBS (Extremely Bright Source).

The High Pressure School is one of a series of events conducted by ESRF to prepare the scientific community to take advantage of the upgraded synchrotron source in various research spheres. Approximately 100 people attended the School including representatives from France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain, Poland, Japan, Portugal, Great Britain, Belgium, Denmark, USA, Sweden, Switzerland, and Latvia.

Young scientists, graduate and university students had the opportunity to consolidate their knowledge during the “Hands-on!” workshops conducted in small groups so that each participant could be an active participant and maximize the knowledge presented during the lessons.

Alexander Romanenko, 2nd year Master’s student at the NSU Natural Sciences Department Solid State Chemistry Section, studied the practical aspects of conducting experiments with a multi-punch press using synchrotron radiation. Four students from Russia, Sweden, Belgium, and France, under the guidance of Professor Wilson A. Crichton, studied the basics of this technique starting from the preparation of individual device parts and ending with conducting an experiment. A distinctive feature of the workshop was the full involvement of the students who conducted the entire sequence from preparation to experiment with teachers providing only tips and hints. The students also conducted a series of experiments with samples of different compositions, the results of which will be used in real scientific work.

Anna Semerikova, 2nd year Master's Degree student at the NSU Physics Department Section Physical Methods for Solid State Research, studied the subtleties of laser heating on the high pressure Beamline ID27 under the direction of ESRF’s Mohamed. Mezouar. During the classes, the main features and experimental methods were analyzed with lazar heating in cells with diamond anvils from setting the sample to processing the results of the experiment. They analyzed in detail the optical scheme for laser heating and temperature measurement by the spectroradiometry method. The “Hands on!” exercises emphasized practice as School participants calibrated the laser heating system and took part in a model experiment on heating iron in a diamond anvil cell to temperatures above 2000 K. Another distinctive feature of the workshop was its openness to questions. The students established a dialogue with the teacher, not only to learn the specifics of the implementation of the Beamline ID27 laser heating system, but to get advice and recommendations concerning their own experiments. ESRF’s Volodymyr Svitlyk conducted the lessons on processing diffraction data and creating calibration in the Dioptas program. Sergey Rashchenko, PhD and Senior Lecturer at the Natural Sciences Department Solid State, and NSU third-year student Anastasia Brazhnikova studied working with a “Paris-Edinburgh” press.

Elena Boldyreva, leading researcher G. K. Boreskova Catalysis Institute SB RAS, Head of the NSU Natural Sciences Department Solid State Chemistry Section, and Doctor of Chemical Sciences, described the significance of the event,

Participation in this type of school is especially important for NSU students who are enrolled in the new interdisciplinary Master's Program “Methodological Support of Physical Chemistry Studies of Condensed Phases” that was designed to train personnel for the new generation of synchrotrons. The first generation 4+ synchrotron will be built in Novosibirsk. Its design is in full swing and students in the new Master's Program are active participants in this process.

The ESRF School program included a wide variety of topics from methods for creating extreme conditions (achieving record pressures, high and low temperatures) to methods for studying the structure and properties of a substance under these conditions. Much attention was paid to the results of the ESRF modernization process and the capabilities of their new stations for conducting research at high pressures. In addition to lectures, there were excursions to ESRF experimental stations. The School presentations were grouped by thematic days: diamond-anvil cells to achieve pressures of several million atmospheres, laser-heated cells, large-volume presses, cryogenic cells, autoclaves, and resistive-heating cells. Every day ended with a lecture by a leading scientist on advanced research.

Students attending the School had the opportunity to not only to deepen their subject knowledge and to put it into practice, but they were also introduced to completely new methods and approaches, as well as advanced research in the field of high pressure using synchrotron radiation.