To.Sc.Al’And: Total Scattering for Nanotechnology in Al’Andalus

Norberto MasciocchiAntonietta GuagliardiJorge A. R. Navarro

During the last decade, staff researchers at To.Sca.Lab (Total Scattering Laboratory,, the joint laboratory merging experimental and computational aspects of scattering techniques (co-founded by the University of Insubria and the Institute of Crystallography of the Italian National Research Council), have organized several International Summer Schools, including the many editions of To.Sca.Lake (Total Scattering for Nanotechnology on the Como Lake, 2015, 2017, 2019), and successfully exported the format to Latin America (To.Sca.Lat., 2018 edition, held in Florianópolis, Brazil). With the goal of widening the audience of these new approaches to the structural and microstructural characterization of nanosized materials, the 2021 edition of the Workshop, entitled To.Sc.Al’And, was organized as an in-person meeting at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Granada (Spain), with a specific focus on topics of interest to an international gathering of young researchers, post-docs, PhD and undergraduate students. This was indeed possible thanks to the logistical support of the University of Granada and the concomitant health situation, which, during summer 2021, saw a rapid decline of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the south of Spain (Andalusia).

The Workshop lasted five days (20–24 September 2021) and included lessons, demos and hands-on tutorials. It was attended by more than 55 young researchers, internationally renowned teachers and commercial sponsors, all participating in a very active manner in the different sessions. The wide international attendance, with students from 13 different countries, provided a rich cultural and scientific exchange environment.

The teachers were Federica Bertolotti, Simon Billinge, Hans-Beat Bürgi, Antonio Cervellino, José Manuel Delgado-Lopez, Fabio Ferri, Tatiana Gorelik, Antonella Guagliardi, Daniel Maspoch, Norberto Masciocchi, Jan Skov Pedersen and Nora Ventosa, who presented scattering techniques at the fundamental levels, including both theoretical and experimental aspects [small-angle X-ray scattering, wide-angle total scattering in direct (PDF) and reciprocal (DSE) spaces, 3D-PDF, static and dynamic light scattering and advanced applications for a wide spectrum of (organic/inorganic/hybrid/biomimetic) materials]. Hands-on sessions on data analysis with PDFGui and DebUsSy programs, developed in recent years by some of the speakers, a (live-commented) video-recorded experiment on DLS measurement on colloidal quantum dots and an additional session dedicated to oral contributions by more than 10 young participants, were also organized and duly attended.

Organizing this Workshop was possible thanks to the funds raised from registration fees, sponsorship from national and international scientific bodies (IUCr, ICDD, AIC, ECA and INSTM) and the generous contribution by commercial sponsors, without which the organization of this Workshop would not have been possible. All such funds were indeed used to support the participation of more than 20 young and distant attendees, in the form of reimbursement of traveling and accommodation expenses or waiving registration fees. As a final comment, the organizers found it very rewarding that, having gathered the students, teachers and sponsors together in Granada, all the attendees committed themselves fully to the realization of this in-person event, awaited for several months after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

21 January 2022

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