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Materials Research Institute



image: trainingTraining opportunities exist for PhD students, Masters level students Continuing Professional Development and short courses

Regular seminar events and training programmes

Materials Research Institute (MRI) Graduate Training Sessions - We are organising a series of afternoon training events that are designed specifically for PhD students and post-docs, but more generally for anyone interested in learning about the topics.  As usual, we conclude with a closing reception that will be a good opportunity for people to talk to the experts about ideas for using the methods learned in the workshop.

Topics are:

Molecular dynamics and force field simulations - Queen Mary has developed a strength in simulation of materials using models to represent the forces between atoms, and these techniques have the potential to be useful for many projects within the MRI. In this workshop we will talk about the techniques available, particularly the molecular dynamics method, illustrating the ideas with examples of applications from the materials areas. The talks will also give an introduction to the practical issues too, such as codes, computers and an introduction to the Thomas Young Centre. This workshop is complementary to the workshop on ab initio methods. As usual, we conclude with a closing reception that will be a good opportunity for people to talk to the experts about ideas for using the methods learned in the workshop.

ab initio methods for materials simulations ab initio methods enable materials simulations of the highest quality. There are several approaches possible, and in this workshop we will describe some of these in detail and give examples from the sort of work that is carried out within the MRI. We will have an emphasis on the practical side, including introduction to the codes, computers and an introduction to the Thomas Young Centre. This workshop is complementary to the workshop on molecular dynamics and force field simulations, and builds on some of the methodology introduced in it. 

Characterisation - The focus is on the electrical, thermal, and optical techniques that are commonly encountered across the disciplines within the MRI. The emphasis will be on the obtainable information,  sample requirements, the pitfalls of data interpretation, location and access arrangements for each technique. The following topics will be covered: 

  • Electrical: source measure units, 4-point probes, time-of-flight methods, break-junction techniques, impedance spectroscopy, and thermoelectric power measurements (Seebeck coefficient).
  •  Thermal: differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis 
  • Optical: ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, photoluminescence and electroluminescence, time resolved luminescence (lifetimes and energy migration), excitation spectroscopy, magnetoluminescence, spectroscopic ellipsometry.

Crystallography - The afternoon includes information about powder diffraction and Rietveld refinement, single crystal diffraction and structure solution, total scattering and crystallographic databases.  There is opportunity to take a tour of the x-ray laboratory.  Background theory of the structure factor, Powder diffraction and Rietveld refinement, both x-ray and neutron, Single crystal diffraction and structure solution, tours to the x-ray laboratory, Total scattering, Crystallographic databases and the CrystalMaker software tools

Electrochemistry - Electrochemical methods are useful for many different applications including sensors, materials characterisation, batteries, fuel cells and semiconductor devices. This workshop will concentrate on impedance spectroscopy with a focus on basic principles, applications in sensing and monitoring phase transitions and also introduce two electrochemical imaging techniques, Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM) and Light-Addressable Potentiometric Sensors (LAPS).

Imaging & Microscopy - Imaging and microscopy are core activities of materials science and are particularly powerful when combined with chemical or crystallographic analysis.  Microstructural characterisation from the atomic level upwards is central to materials science. Nano-scale imaging and 3D imaging is becoming increasingly important to understand modern materials systems.  This graduate Training event will introduce the imaging and microscopy techniques available within the MRI, including their capabilities and limitations, how to access them and further training opportunities.


Rietveld Analysis - A powerful method for structural analysis from powder diffraction data. This workshop will involve an introduction to Rietveld analysis and include a 2 hour training session in use of the popular GSAS software for Rietveld analysis.  The training will include both single phase and multiphase analysis.  Participants are asked to bring their own laptops and to download and install the relevant software prior to the workshop.  Instruction manuals, test data and software links will be available shortly on the MRI web pages.

Local Structure - It is one of those “best kept secrets” that the materials community within Queen Mary is the UK leader in studying the local atomic structure of matter. We have expertise and international leadership in a number of techniques, including diffraction measurement of pair distribution function, magnetic resonance methods, muon spectroscopy and X-ray absorption spectroscopy. This includes playing a role in developing experimental methods, including new instruments at central radiation facilities, and community software. This expertise within the college could be exploited by the materials research community to give our research a unique edge, and for this reason this workshop will be used to showcase the breadth of capability and the wide range of potential applications. It is hoped that the workshop will promote new ideas, new collaborations, and new projects.  

Central Radiation Facilities - Queen Mary scientists have a strong record of using central radiation facilities, including the Diamond synchrotron and ISIS neutron and muon facilities, for materials research. This is a capability that is available to all QMUL researchers, and the purpose of this workshop is to introduce the facilities and give some good examples from our own work of the breadth of work we are carrying out.