New tutorials on neutron reflectometry

Neutron reflectometry is a powerful technique to study thin films with nanometer-scale precision. RefNx is open-source software developed by Andrew Nelson at ANSTO to fit and interpret neutron reflectometry patterns. He has kindly provided a series of video tutorials explaining each step of the process.

Congratulations to the 2020 ANBUG Awardees

Full profiles of our ANBUG awardees can be found at the ANBUG Awards Page

ANBUG Career Award 2020 – Prof. John White (Australian National University, Canberra)

Professor John White has been working in the field of neutron scattering science globally for 60 years.  He rapidly undertook leadership roles at major neutron research facilities including acting as the neutron beam coordinator at Harwell (UK) and director of the ILL (France). John continued his involvement in advances in neutron science upon returning to Australia in 1985 as a professor at the ANU. He was instrumental in the development of the reflectometer and AUSANS instruments at HIFAR, which directed the design of their successors at OPAL. John’s influence continues to permeate through the Australian neutron scattering community through those he has taught and mentored, many of whom are still active researchers in neutron scattering science throughout the world. The ANBUG membership would like to congratulate John on his exceptional career.

ANBUG Neutron Award 2020 – Prof. Anna Paradowska (ANSTO, Lucas Heights & University of Sydney, Sydney)

Professor Anna Paradowska works as a scientist but is an engineer by training and in her heart. Hailing from Poland, Anna completed her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Monash University before becoming an international expert in neutron diffraction stress analysis. Anna’s research bridges the industrial and academic worlds and she has co-held academic  appointments whilst working on neutron strain scanner beamlines Engin-X (RAL, UK) and Kowari (ANSTO, Australia). Anna currently has a joint appointment between ANSTO (ACNS) and the Univseristy of Sydney. Anna has pioneered industrial engagement at ACNS and her goal is to support Australian and global industry to build long term collaborations between industry, universities and neutron scattering facilities to improve manufacturing of complex industrial products. ANBUG congratulates Anna on her fantastic work in this area and looks forward to seeing where her ultra-collaborative approach will take her next.

ANBUG Young Scientist Award 2020 – Dr David Cortie (University of Wollongong, Wollongong)

Dr David Cortie is currently an ARC DECRA fellow at the University of Wollongong, his alma mater. His research focusses on the interplay between structure, dynamics and magnetism in quantum materials. In the last seven years since his PhD was conferred, he has made great use of polarised neutron scattering technique to investigate the properties of materials from the bulk scale down to the nanoscale, making key contributions to the emerging fields of nanostructures and thin films. ANBUG would like to congratulate David on his impressive contributions to Australian neutron scattering in this early stage of his career.

Outstanding PhD Award 2020 – Damian Goonetilleke (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe; formerly the University of New South Wales, Sydney)

Dr Damian Goonetilleke completed his PhD at the University of New South Wales under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Neeraj Sharma. His project focussed on the operando structural characterisation of materials for energy storage. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Battery and Electrochemistry Laboratory (BELLA), a joint lab of BASF SE and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, where he investigates cathode materials for Li-ion batteries. Damian’s thesis combined structural characterisation of electrochemical devices under operation using both neutron and X-ray scattering techniques. His work has led to insights on how to improve the performance of existing devices, whilst revealing pathways towards new devices and materials for energy storage. ANBUG congratulates Damian on his outstanding PhD studies and wishes him all the best for his future career.

Confirmed Plenary & Invited Speakers for AANSS 2020

There’s a little over 2 weeks left to submit your abstracts to present at the virtual AANSS 2020 meeting in November. The plenary and invited speakers below have already confirmed their attendance, don’t miss out on presenting alongside them. Students and early career researchers are encouraged to apply for oral presentations as well as poster presentations and there will be prizes to be won by the best student talks and posters.

Confirmed plenary speaker

Confirmed invited speakers

Abstract Submission Open for AANSS 2020

Abstract submission is now open for the ANBUG-AINSE Neutron Scattering Symposium 2020. The deadline for abstract submissions is 1st September 2020 and the theme areas for the symposium this year are as follows:

  • Advanced Materials
  • Biological Systems
  • Biomedicine & Food Science
  • Chemistry & Crystallography
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Earth & Environment
  • Magnetism & Condensed Matter
  • Manufacturing & Engineering
  • Neutron Instruments & Techniques

June edition of “Scatter Matters” newsletter and update from the ACNS director

The June edition of the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering Newsletter is available at the link below:

The following is an excerpt of the director’s address from Dr. Jamie Schulz:

Well, the start to 2020 has been an interesting one with catastrophic bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic which have both affected the user program and the COVID-19 pandemic us all.

On 23rd March ANSTO moved to an essential and critical operations mode with all scientific research infrastructure being shutdown unless they provide supporting functions for essential and critical operations (reactor operation, radiopharmaceutical production, site maintenance etc) or are undertaking COVID-19 related research. ACNS has had an open call for COVID-19 related research using our neutron scattering instruments (see the Beamtime Applications section). Since then the OPAL reactor continued to operate whilst the neutron scattering instruments were shut down and ACNS staff are mainly working from home.

Another direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was the postponement of the OPAL long shutdown that was scheduled to occur in June 2020. The primary reason for the OPAL long shutdown is to replace the TG123 primary shutter which feeds neutrons to the thermal neutron beam instruments in the Neutron Guide Hall. The benefits of TG123 primary shutter replacement are two-fold, firstly the in-pile neutron guides have deteriorated and we have observed a decrease in neutron flux on the thermal instruments and secondly to install the TG2 neutron guide which will provide 2 additional beamlines for new instruments. Given the likely impact of COVID-19 was expected to be at least a year a decision was made to postpone the long shutdown to June 2021. The OPAL reactor schedule to the end of 2021 is available here.

We commenced the return to the ANSTO site on Monday 25th May and we are currently undertaking maintenance, upgrades and commissioning activities now to ensure number of days available for our users is maximised later in the year as travel restrictions ease. The ACNS user program will recommence after the scheduled OPAL reactor shutdown finishes on the 23rd June.

We will start with the current backlog of proposals that were not able to be run due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and the ANSTO shutdown, initially using mail-in and then progressively to Sydney-basin users, interstate users, New Zealand users (if the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble is created) and finally international users. We have number of upgrade projects underway including: installation of a high-resolution detector on Bilby to allow measurements to lower Q; a redesign and upgrade of Koala Laue Diffractometer; two Australian Research Council (ARC) LinkageEquipment and Facilities Grants both being lead by the University of New South Wales for rheometry and high-pressure sample environment equipment; NSW Research Attraction and Acceleration Program Grant for an in-situ Laser Metal Deposition System; and finally $6.7M from the Australian Governments Research Infrastructure Investment Plan for equipment replacement and upgrades in 2021-22.

Stay safe and we are looking forward to seeing you again at ANSTO soon.

Dr Jamie Schulz

COVID-19 Update – 11th June

From the ANSTO User Office

The following update is taken from the ACNS website.

The Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering will recommence user operations from 23 June.

All Users coming to ANSTO are required to undertake a COVID-19 Induction for the specific facility visited prior to site access. Local area inductions will also be provided outlining safe working practices (e.g. social distancing, area occupancy limits, personal protective equipment).

The Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering is now accepting proposals for the 2021-1 round (Jan – Jun 2021). ANSTO will advise as soon as possible when other facilities and platforms will be open for submission.

Check for up-to-date information.

Update from the ANSTO user office – 20 May – COVID19 situation

The information below is taken the email from the ANSTO User Office on 20 May 2020:

As we prepare to recommence our user program, we will complete planned maintenance and infrastructure will be brought back to a state of operational readiness. We do not expect to resume operations at full capacity during this phase.

Our commitment is to

·        Address first those approved experiments/projects postponed from the 2020-1 round due to COVID-19 measures. We will contact the impacted users soon to discuss restarting these experiments;  

·        Consider mail-in of samples, where possible, subject to agreement with Research Infrastructure contacts;

·        Progressively allow users on site, from local/state, national and international institutions depending on Government and respective institutional travel advice, and ANSTO risk assessments;

·        Award proposals under the 2020-2 (Lucas Heights) or 2020/2 (Clayton) rounds contingent on when user operations resume; and

·        Reopen new proposal submissions once back-log is addressed and normal operations re-established.

ANSTO VIC (Australian Synchrotron) will recommence regular user operations from June, following the principles outlined above.  As Government restrictions ease, ANSTO NSW will assess the risk of resuming a reduced level of user program that will permit the presence of users on site.

Update from ANSTO user office on COVID19 situation

The following email was circulated from the ANSTO user office, March 23 and contains the most up-to-date information available. As the situation is rapidly changing, please check regularly for updated information.

To all ANSTO users, visitors and colleagues,

ANSTO is making temporary changes to its staffing arrangements in line with government advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and support efforts to preserve ongoing essential and critical operations. While the OPAL reactor, key safety activities, nuclear medicine production and other critical and essential support activities will continue at the Lucas Heights and Clayton campus, all other staff have been asked to work from home from 23 March 2020. There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 amongst ANSTO staff, but given the escalating situation, we are moving now to reduce the chances of it coming onto our campuses. This means that all user programs in our research infrastructure platforms are suspended until further notice. This suspension will also impact commercial access and services. The only exception to this is support for critical investigations into COVID-19 virus. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to reconnecting with you once circumstances allow and restarting our user programs. Updates, when available, will be sent to you from the User Office and questions you may have can also be directed there: Lucas Heights and Camperdown facilities contact ; Australian Synchrotron contact

ANBUG Awardees 2019

ANBUG would like to congratulate the 2019 ANBUG award recipients on their exceptional achievements utilising neutron scattering. The following four awards were announced at the recent ANSTO User Meeting held at Macquarie University in December 2019 and the executive committee and entire ANBUG community would like to congratulate the awardees:

ANBUG Career Award for lifetime achievement – Prof. Stewart Campbell (UNSW Canberra)

Prof. Stewart Campbell delivering his Career Award Lecture at the AUM2019

ANBUG Neutron Award for achievements >10 years post-PhD – Prof. Vanessa Peterson (ANSTO)

Prof. Vanessa Peterson’s Neutron Award being announced by ANBUG president Prof. Tracy Rushmer at the AUM2019

ANBUG Young Scientist Award for achievements <10 years post-PhD – Assoc. Prof. Rico Tabor (Monash University)

Assoc. Prof. Rico Tabor’s ANBUG Young Scientist Award being announced by ANBUG President Prof. Tracy Rushmer at the AUM2019

ANBUG Outstanding PhD Award for the best PhD thesis submitted to the judging panel from an Australian or New Zealand university – Dr Timothy Murdoch (PhD conferred from Newcastle University)

Dr Timothy Murdoch performing neutron reflectometry experiments at the ILL, Grenoble