Review of the 2016 US Users' Meeting

May 31st 2016

The 2016 North American Users' Meeting started with lunch, mingling and much chatter regarding the upcoming presentations. IMRI Director, Xiaoqing Pan, opened with a warm welcome to UC Irvine and an overview of current interests at IMRI, a very impressive facility for material characterisation.

Introductory talks were given by Andrew Clough, Alexander Filatov and Behzad Bavarian detailing their respective faculties with debate concerning the best way to handle difficult samples and difficult customers. Nejib Hedhili of KAUST presented unexpected data obtained from nanodiamonds, the spectra of which no one could fathom. Perhaps an undiscovered allotrope of Carbon and a future Nobel Prize – watch this space! Gerry Hammer talked us through a series of systems they have recently studied at Washington University in particular PbI3 perovskites for solar cell applications.
Praise of the day goes to Sander Mommers for his entertaining laid-back monologue on the goings on at Ottowa and the practical problems of keeping an analysis centre ticking along with very little money. It is never too late to pursue a career in stand-up comedy Sander!

The day concluded with a relaxed dinner at the Fairmont Hotel with old friends catching-up and new ones gaining acquaintance with one another.

Day Two opened with an overview of the GCIS followed by surface characterisation of bionanocomposites by Kateryna Artyushkova. After coffee David Fabian introduced some of the current research at UC Irvine regarding perovskite materials – a very hot topic at both User Meetings.
Following on was an eye-opening look into the world of band-bending by David Gleason-Rohrer. The results presented were both thought provoking and mind-boggling! Lara Gamble carried on the theme for the day with discussion on nanoparticle analysis and modelling with Alex Shard namechecked for the second time in one day – congratulations Alex! The final two talks of the day were given by attendees from California including Houman Yaghoubi of UC Irvine and Kris Marsh of UCLA concerning water splitting and supercapacitors. Lab tours followed looking at the impressive capabilities of IMRI and LEXI with attendees given a live demonstration of the Kratos AXIS Supra which was received with wide eyes and wonderment.

Dinner was at a charming local restaurant with a decent selection of locally brewed beers and excellent clam chowder, thank you Dave for recommending that one!

The final day started with a look at Ag Lα X-rays with Sarah Coultas illustrating several interesting systems which benefit from higher energy sources. Ich Tran introduced us to the current workings of LEXI which currently has more than 60 users of the AXIS Supra with over 20 fully trained super-Supra users – a true work horse instrument. The meeting closed with a “brief” introduction to AVS by the incumbent President Surman followed by workshops on the finer points of XP image acquisition and DLD calibration.

Lastly a big thank you to Matt Law, organiser Dave Surman and the hosts at IMRI for what proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable meeting. With a little encouragement I am sure Dave will host another one!