The National Committee for Crystallography has been active on both national and international business over the last two months and this report covers both.
NEWS FROM THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE
These are Dr James Hester, Dr Anton Stampfl, Dr Harry Tong and Dr David Cookson (from the Photon Factory). The ASRP Fellowships Program has also been started with the appointment of Dr Stephen Holt and Dr Megan Maher.
The meeting also discussed the project for a national synchrotron radiation facility in the context of new instruments being planned for Switzerland and Canada and the proposal being developed in Victoria for purchasing an "off the shelf" industrial synchrotron suitable for X-ray lithography and soft X-ray/ultra violet spectroscopic work. The ASRP Board has set up a strategy committee to consider the future of the major national research facility as the present funding goes only to 2001.
The replacement reactor for HIFAR at Lucas Heights has occupied the
committee as has the unexpected gap that has appeared in the funding for
Australian access to the ISIS neutron scattering facility in the United
Kingdom. A number of members of the National Committee and of the Academies
of Science and Science and Technology have participated in the specialist
committee to define the instrument arrangements at the replacement reactor
at Lucas Heights and a very interesting challenge has been offered to the
design team to see if a reactor design and instrument configuration can
be produced which will be truly innovative. It may be possible to use not
only cold neutron guides but also thermal neutron guide tubes to take neutrons
to instrument halls distant from the reactor and to have very few instruments
located close to the reactor itself. This will greatly improve backgrounds
and also the working conditions for experimenters. A major feature is the
provision of an excellent cold source to ensure that experiments done at
the replacement reactor will be complementary to those at other sources
in the region. John White will be appearing before the Senate Committee
of Inquiry into the replacement reactor in May 1998. The National Committee
and the working party of the Australian Academy of Science has made a submission
to the Senate Inquiry and copies of this should be available on the Web
A major development in neutron science has been foreshadowed in Japan. John White (as Chairman of the National Committee) and Dr Claudio Tuniz (ANSTO) were invited to the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) Workshop and Advisory Committee on their new neutron project. This is a project to produce an accelerator which would deliver at least five megawatts of energy to a target from a proton accelerator working at about 1GeV. The project is extremely large since present technology approaches only one tenth of this. Nevertheless the advisory group was convinced that the present working technology in Japan, if invested in the proposed way, might lead to the extremely intense proton beams foreseen and that the possibility foreshadowed by the Japanese colleagues of "spallation burning" of transuranic waste might be a possibility in the first thirty to forty years of the next century. This to us would also produce an extremely intense neutron source suitable for neutron scattering experiments. A parallel, though more modest, development is being made at the KEK in Tsukuba.
At the working group meeting the question of the formation of an Asia-Oceania
Neutron Scattering Association was mooted. Such a development has been
under discussion for about a year through the Neutron Scattering Commission
of the International Union. Strong associations have been formed in Europe
and in the United States and the time may be ripe to do this in the Asia-Australasia
region. The matter will be taken up at the Asian Crystallographic Association
Meeting in Malaysia in October this year. Another forum in which these
matters will be discussed is the meeting in Fremantle, Australia (29th
September - 3rd October 1998) of the Australian New Zealand Institute of
Physics Congress. A broad program of discussion of Australia's involvement
in synchrotron and radiation and neutron scattering facilities will be
featured at that meeting.
There are varied uses for these techniques which examine the detailed structure of condensed matter on scales from about 1 to 100 nanometres, in the supramolecular nanostructure range. By use of isotopic substitution or tuning the wavelength it is possible to selectively highlight different components in bulk materials and all types of surfaces (not only air/liquid or solid but also liquid/liquid etc.) and to follow chemical reactions and microstructure and texture formation at a scale inaccessible to ordinary microscopy or light scattering.
New instruments now available include an X-ray reflectometer at the Research School of Chemistry; two more SAXS machines at ANU and the University of South Australia; and a SAXS/Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction on "BigDiff" at the Australian National Beamline Facility, Tsukuba. These significantly improve access for local scientists previously mainly reliant on less convenient synchrotron and neutron facilities such as ISIS in the United Kingdom, Argonne and Brookhaven in the United States. Future developments include the SANS machine at Lucas Heights, which is now starting to produce data; a new neutron reflectometer, also at ANSTO; and, further in the future, new X-ray machines, such as ultrahigh resolution SAXS and millisecond timescale reflectometry, resulting from Australian participation in the APS 3rd generation synchrotron source at Argonne.
To exploit these new tools the Canberra meeting drew together many of the current practitioners. The first day was devoted to reviewing the field and sharing expertise so that newcomers and students were brought up to speed in these techniques which have recently become so much more important. Twenty five talks and posters on the second day illustrated the range of current interest already existing. Examples from the area of materials included studies on templated mesoporous silicates, titania/zirconia nanoparticles, composite films of silica and organic surfactants, colloidal silica, and quantum well semiconductor devices. More direct applications to petroleum geology, alumina crystallisation from Bayer liquors, domains in wood pulps, and activated carbons for water treatment were presented. The value of bringing together a wide range of people was illustrated by the back-to-back presentation of a fundamental study of protein positioning in surfactant/polymer/water mixed phases together with an applied food-science study of the emulsifying properties of proteins.
The meeting left a clear impression that with the new apparatus these
techniques can provide a new view of structure in a range in the past thought
too large for chemistry but too small for engineering.
NOTICE OF BUSINESS MEETING OF THE SCA
A business meeting of the SCA will be held in conjunction with the Third Meeting of the Asian Crystallographic Association to be held in Bangi in the state of Selangor, Malaysia, from 13-15th October, 1998. The business meeting has been scheduled for 1-2 pm on Thursday, 15th October. At this meeting the position of Vice-President and two positions on the Nominations Standing Committee will fall vacant. The Nominations Standing Committee have nominated the following people:
Call for Nominations
Additional nominations for these positions are now invited. Additional
nominations should be submitted to the Secretary (at the address below)
over the signatures of two members and prior to June 13th.
Call for applications for the 'E.N. (Ted) Maslen 1987 Studentships and Scholarships' The Council of the Society of Crystallographers in Australia is calling for applications from postgraduate students of crystallography for the 'E.N. (Ted) Maslen 1987 Studentships and Scholarships' to fund attendance at the Third Meeting of the Asian Crystallographic Association to be held in Bangi in the state of Selangor, Malaysia, from October 13-15, 1998. Details of the Congress are available on the WWW at the address: http://telperion.otago.ac.nz:800/rweavers/ ASCA/asca98.htm. SCA student members from both Australia and New Zealand are invited to apply for the Scholarships, which will make a substantial contribution to the international travelling costs. Selections will be based upon merit, geographic distribution and previous and/or future opportunities of the candidates. As the SCA Council regards these awards as an important means of introducing young crystallographers to the international scientific community, students awarded Scholarships will be expected to make a presentation of their work at the meeting.
October13-15, 1998 Bangi, Malaysia
The method of application is straightforward, but a strict deadline will apply. Method of Application Postgraduate students applying for a '1987 Scholarship' should forward to the Secretary the following:
A new macromolecular X-ray laboratory is being setup at Monash University following the appointment of Dr Ossama El-Kabbani. Several crystallographic projects of pharmaceutical interest funded by research grants from NHMRC, ARC, Monash University and industry will be investigated. Projects include enzymes involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, neurotransmitters and hormones. The new laboratory is located in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the Victorian College of Pharmacy (Parkville Campus). Data collection equipment will include a Rigaku RU-300 rotating anode generator with a MAR-345 image plate detector system, focussing mirror system, Oxford cryogenic low temperature system and an SGI O2 workstation. It is expected that the new X-ray laboratory will be operational in August 1998.
NEW MACROMOLECULAR X-RAY LABORATORY
Some useful addresses:
FOR THE WEB BROWSERS
President: J.M. Guss (Univ of Syd, NSW),
Ph: (02) 9351-4302, fax: (02) 9351-4726.
Vice-President: M.R. Taylor (Flinders University, SA)
Ph: (08) 8201-2467, fax: (08) 8201-3035.
Secretary: T.W. Hambley ( Univ of Sydney, NSW)
Ph: (02) 9351-2830, fax: (02) 9351-3329.
Treasurer: B.W. Skelton (UWA, WA)
Ph: (08) 9380-3481, fax: (08) 9380-1118.
Council: J. Martin (Univ of Queensland, Qld)
Ph: (07) 3365-4942, fax: (07) 3365-1990.
A. Pring (South Australian Museum, SA)
Ph: (08) 8207-7449, fax (08) 8207-7222.
T.R. Welberry (Australian National Univ., ACT)
Ph: (02) 6249-4122, fax: (02) 6249-0750.
Past President: C.J. Howard (ANSTO, NSW)
Ph: (02) 9717-3609, fax: (02) 9717-3606.
ANNCCr Representative: ex officio
J.W. White (Australian National Univ., ACT)
Ph: (02) 6249-3578, fax: (02) 6249-4903.
Nominations Standing Committee
B.M.K. Gatehouse (Monash Univ., Vic), S.R. Hall (Univ of Western Australia, WA), S.W. Wilkins (CSIRO Material Science, Vic)
Newsletter Editor: B.W. Skelton (UWA, WA)
Ph: (08) 9380-3481, fax: (08) 9380-1118.