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Institut Laue-Langevin

A selection of recent workshops and symposiums held at ILL

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Past events

The Italian Society of Neutron Scattering School

20 young Italian students at ILL to practice neutron scattering


The Italian Society of Neutron Scattering (SISN) organizes since 2004 the School “Giornate Didattiche della SISN” which aims to introduce young students with limited - or even without any – specific knowledge in the field to the wide potentialities of neutron scattering techniques.


Following the scheme of last three editions, the 2009 school was also split into two sessions: after a three-day introductive course held in Sirolo, Italy (June 22-24), the students attended a practical session at ILL (June, 26-30). The number of students was limited to 20 despite the higher number of demands for both economical (the students had no fees) and practical reasons. The School was focused on giving an Introduction to the neutron scattering techniques for the microscopic matter investigation, with applications to Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology, which well reflected our intention to attract students coming from very different discipline areas. This was indeed the case: among the participants at the School, there were students with a formation in Biophysics (6 students), Chemistry (5 students), Physics (8 students) and Geology (1 student). The 20 students were coming from 9 different Universities and had typically (16 over 20) an under graduated level.


At ILL, the students were divided in 7 small groups of 2-4 people: each of the groups, assigned to a tutor belonging to the Italian community of ILL, had to perform an experiment on one of the three available instruments, the two Italian CRG spectrometers BRISP and IN13, and the diffractometer D1A. The experiments were chosen in order to cover as different scientific areas as possible, ranging from the structure of manganites and of liquid water (D1A), to the dynamics of proteins (IN13) and collective excitations in liquids (BRISP). The experiments were intended to be representative of real experiments (and in some cases they were indeed real complete experiments), so the students were asked to carry out not only the measurement with the sample but also the whole set of ancillary runs which are typically needed during a neutron experiment. In this way, the students had a complete view of what a neutron scattering experiment can be, with several opportunities to put their own hands on the instrument (changing the sample, handling cryostat sticks or sample holders, etc). All the 20 students react very positively and enthusiastically to our input, and spent three intense days (and sometimes nights) on the instruments collecting and treating data, and then preparing a short report on the experimental findings. At the end, each group gave an oral presentation at the Chadwick amphitheater, and despite the very short preparation time, we were all very impressed by the quality of the presentations.

We have been also very impressed, well beyond our expectations, by the positive attitude of the students towards the School and in particular during the experimental stage at ILL. This has been confirmed by the generally positive student’s feedback to the School as shown by the answers given in the final questionnaire.  The results strongly motivate us to go on with the present format of the Giornate Didattiche  that includes an experimental session at ILL.
ILL has played a fundamental role in the success of the School, and we are specially very grateful to Emmanuel Farhi for the lectures on McStas given at Sirolo, Juan Rodriguez-Carvajal and Clemens Ritter for having given the opportunity of using D1A, Helmut Schober for the seminar presentation of ILL, Valery Nesvizhevsky for the guided visit of the Reactor Hall. We finally want to warmly thank Andrew Harrison for the financial support given to the School and the strong encouragement to this initiative.

The School's Directors:           

Ferdinando Formisano   and  Renato Magli