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The Howard Flack Crystallographic Lecture Series: electron crystallography

This year’s Howard Flack Lecture Series will focus on electron crystallography, with Dr. Lukáš Palatinus. The event takes place in November and includes a series of Swiss universities and research institutes.

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This year’s Howard Flack Lecture Series will focus on electron crystallography, with Lukáš Palatinus (FZU, Czech Academy of Sciences) as our invited Flack Lecturer. A crystallographer by education, Lukáš has for a long time been driving developments regarding crystallographic software and diffraction methods, with a particular focus on electron diffraction. Events will be held on-site with a following schedule:

ETHZ, 07.11

PSI, 07.11.

Uni Basel, 08.11

Uni Bern, 09.11

EPFL, 10.11

Uni Geneva, 11.11

Details soon on: and

Lukas Palatinus studied mineralogy and geochemistry at the Charles University in Prague. During his PhD. at the University Bayreuth, Germany, he focused on the crystallographic analysis of modulated structures. Later, during his post-doctoral stay at the EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland, he developed the program Superflip for the solution of the crystallographic phase problem for periodic and aperiodic crystals, using the iterative dual space algorithms.

Since 2009, Dr. Palatinus is the head of the group of electron crystallography at the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. He and his co-workers are developing methods for crystal structure analysis from electron diffraction data, with the main focus on the structure refinement from 3D electron diffraction tomography data using the dynamical diffraction theory.

The lectures will be focused on the theory and practice of 3D electron diffraction (3D ED) – a crystallographic technique allowing structure analysis from single submicrometric crystals. This technique was born almost two decades ago, but it is now going through a phase of explosive development. Some eight years ago its general applicability and achievable accuracy was still a matter of debates. Five years ago, first reports showing reliable localization of hydrogen atoms by 3D ED appeared, and refinements with figures of merit approaching those of X-ray diffraction became possible. Today, observation of hydrogens and other structural details is considered routine, and advanced applications like charge density analysis from 3D ED data are appearing.

The lectures will give an overview of this development and they will be especially focused on the possibilities 3D ED offers today in literally all areas of structural crystallography. Applications to materials ranging from intermetallic alloys including precipitates through multiphasic mineralogical samples all the way to hydrated materials, MOFs and complex organic materials will be given. The determination of absolute structure by electron crystallography will be demonstrated and discussed. Existing limitations of the method will also be pointed out together with the prospect for overcoming them. It will be shown that 3D ED is ripe enough to be immediately useful for material scientists and chemists who need crystallographic characterisation of microcrystalline materials, but it is also young enough to offer exciting opportunities for any crystallographer wishing to contribute to its development.


Languages: English