Meeting report (IUCr supported)
17th European Powder Diffraction Conference – EPDIC17
The 17th European Powder Diffraction Conference (EPDIC17) organized by the Croatian Association of Crystallographers was held as an in-person conference from 31 May to 3 June 2022 in the Convention Centre Šibenik, Croatia. The Conference was generously supported by a number of sponsors: Bruker AXS and Malvern Panalytical (Diamond sponsors); Anton Paar, ICDD and Rigaku (Platinum sponsors); STOE and PROTO X-ray diffraction (Gold sponsors), as well as many other sponsors and supporters: Huber, ThermoFisher, Dectris, X Spectrum, Eldico Scientific, Oxford Cryosystems, Excelsus, Crystal Impact, IUCr, European Crystallographic Association (ECA), Croatian Academy of Science and Arts (HAZU), Fidelta, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb and Ruđer Bošković Institute. Prior to EPDIC17, two satellite events took place: TOPAS Intensive Course from 29 to 31 May and ICDD Workshop on 31 May 2022.
EPDIC17 gathered 303 participants from 28 countries. Thirty-four young participants (PhD students and postdoctoral fellows) received support to attend EPDIC17: 25 were awarded IUCr Young Scientist Awards and 5 received ECA bursaries. All of them, along with another four young participants, received additional support funded by the Croatian Association of Crystallographers.
The scientific programme contained 2 award lectures, 6 plenary lectures, 26 keynote lectures, 40 oral presentations and 147 poster presentations organised into 12 thematic microsymposia. In the Exhibition area, 13 companies presented their products and services.
The Conference was opened on Tuesday, 31 May 2022 with a welcoming word from Dr Jasminka Popović (Chair of EPDIC17), Professor Paolo Scardi (Chair of the EPDIC Committee), Dr Aleksandar Višnjevac (President of the Croatian Association of Crystallographers), Dr Marko Jelić (Governor of the Šibenik and Knin County) and Mr Stjepan Prugovečki (representative of Malvern Panalytical). In between the remarks of the speakers, the audience enjoyed traditional Croatian a cappella singing performed by a local klapa "Sebenico“. The opening session ended with an excellent talk on “Symmetry assisted insights into functional materials” given by EPDIC17 Young Scientist Awardee Dr Mark Senn from the University of Warwick, UK. After the formal opening, participants were invited to continue the evening in an informal get-together with delicious Dalmatian prosciutto and cheese, a selection of Croatian wines and a programme of traditional music.
The programme on Wednesday morning started with a plenary lecture “Electrical Battery Development with the Help of Powder Diffraction” given by Professor R. Černý (University of Geneva, Switzerland) who presented the use of metal hydrides in battery technology. After the lecture, parallel microsymposia were held during the day; Total scattering studies and disorder and Structural biology and pharmaceutical materials in the forenoon and Rational design of materials for energy conversion and storage and Line profile analysis in the afternoon. All the sessions were filled with interesting keynote talks and oral contributions interlaced with vivid discussions. The final part of Wednesday's programme was devoted to the poster session, discussion with the exhibitors in the Exhibition area and the online plenary lecture “Tuning Chemical Short Range Order in the Solid State” given by Professor K. Page (University of Tennessee, SAD), who presented current challenges and future opportunities in investigations of short-range order in various functional materials. The second day of the Conference ended with a student mixer where young participants mingled, networked and, simply, had lots of fun. This event was the organizer’s present to the young members of the crystallographic community.
The next day commenced with the plenary lecture “Exploring layered solids over broad length scales” in which Professor S. T. Misture (Alfred University, USA) presented the most recent approaches and current developments in using total scattering and pair distribution functions in ambient and in-situ study of materials and devices. After the lecture, parallel microsymposia were held; Functional materials: structure and properties and Stress-strain, texture and thin film analysis in the forenoon and Non ambient in-situ and in-operando studies and Progress in structure solution and refinement in the afternoon. Again, they were packed with cutting-edge keynote talks and interesting oral contributions, as well as vivid discussions. In the afternoon, the poster session continued to gather participants for the presentation of the research results and discussions, after which followed the outstanding plenary talk “The nanostructure inverse problem in the time of artificial intelligence” given by EPDIC17 Distinguished Powder Diffractionist Awardee Professor S. J. L. Billinge (Columbia University and Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA). The evening of the conference's second day was reserved for a trip to Šibenik city centre and the enchanting soirée musicale by choir "Kolo", one of the oldest and most successful amateur cultural associations in Croatia, who presented a potpourri of Croatian composers’ opera, folklore and classic pieces.
The last day of the Conference started with a plenary lecture on the “The history, development, highlights and future possibilities for synchrotron X-ray powder diffraction“ delivered by Professor R. Cernik (University of Manchester, UK) after which the parallel microsymposia took place: Nanomaterials: Structural, microstructural and surface aspects and Magnetic structures and neutron scattering in the forenoon and Utilization of complementary techniques for structural studies and imaging and Advances in powder diffraction instrumentation at large facilities in the afternoon. The scientific programme ended with two plenary talks: “Multivariate control, diffraction and imaging of crystalline matter" by Professor P. Radaelli (University of Oxford, UK) and “Linking Powder Diffraction to Art and Conservation: A synergy story” by Professor R. E. Dinnebier (University of Stuttgart, Germany). After the last plenary lecture, the EPDIC17 was officially closed with an entertaining presentation “EPDIC17 in all kinds of numbers” given by Dr Zoran Štefanić (MyEPDIC online registration system creator and developer); the distribution of the nine best poster awards, which was charmingly chaired by Dr Ana Šantić and Dr Martina Vrankić; and with closing remarks by Professor Paolo Scardi who thanked the organizers and participants for such a successful conference and announced the next EPDIC edition, which will be held in 2024 in Padua, Italy. The intense day ended with an elegant yet relaxed gala dinner.
Best poster awards
The poster session contained 147 presentations which were displayed during the entire duration of the Conference and the strict juries had a difficult task to select best posters in not less than nine categories.
The best poster award by Anton Paar for non-ambient powder/thin film XRD (high/low temperature, pressure, humidity) research was given to Gustav Ek for his work on “In-situ investigation into the hydrogen sorption pathways of high entropy alloy based metal hydrides”.
The best poster award by Bruker AXS for the best work on microstructure analysis/structure determination/structure refinement from laboratory data was given to Paolo P. Mazzeo for his presentation entitled “Changing the game of time resolved X-ray diffraction on the mechanochemistry playground by downsizing”.
The best poster award by the Croatian Association of Crystallographers for the most creative concept, ingenious, innovative, never before seen visualization of research results was given to Fanny Costa for her research on “Challenges in Pair Distribution Function generation from synchrotron-XRPD data of pharmaceuticals”.
The “Pushing the Limits of XRPD Best Poster Award” by Excelsus for research related to pharmaceutical or organic compound investigations was given to Lucas B. M. Pinheiro for his contribution entitled “Co-milling of ritonavir and lopinavir reveals different polymorphic behaviour”.
The best poster award by ICDD for XRD-related research with the emphasis on phase identification was given to Bojana Simović for her study of “Structural transformation from titania nanoparticles to sodium titanate nanosheet exhibiting sensing properties”.
The “Paving the way towards sustainable future Award” by Malvern Panalytical for the best poster on energy storage and battery materials was awarded to Morten Johansen for his investigation of “Electrochemical driven disordering of monoclinic distorted VO2 as cathode in Li-ion batteries”.
The best poster award by PROTO for the most innovative use of XRPD instrumentation in research was given to Michela La Bella for her “In-situ investigations of phase transition processes in the calcium sulphate system”.
The best poster award by Rigaku for the new method to analyse advanced materials by use of XRD diffraction was given to Marta Ross for her study entitled “SDPD-SX: a new methodology for data collection for crystal structure determination from powders”.
The poster award for junior scientists by STOE for the most innovative research results using laboratory powder diffraction as main analysis method was received by Alena Shlyaykher for her research on the “Synthesis of NH4SeCN and study of its thermal behaviour by VT-PXRD”.
Overall, EPDIC17 was a very successful conference with highly motivated participants, enthusiastic lecturers, a vibrant atmosphere and, as was expressed in much of the feedback received from exhibitors and participants, brilliant organization.
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