Blog

Experiments Publications Studies

My very first first-author paper, published in Physical Review B!

The top of the article

The top of the published article

It’s really out! I’ve been working on this article ever since I finished my master’s, and it finally got published. It turned out super well – I am so happy about this! My first first-author article in a scientific journal!

This is basically our reporting on the old hard X-ray measurements that I got to do my master’s thesis on – measurements of the staging superstructure observed in several different samples of single crystal LSCO+O. The measurements were done at several temperatures from down to 5-10 K, up to room temperature – giving us the opportunity to see how the staging appears at different temperatures depending on the doping in the samples. We also reported on the observed cooling rate dependence, which was found to depend on the amount of Sr doping in the samples.

You can see the full article via the DOI link: https://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevB.96.174106

Publications

One of my figures used in a book

This is really cool! A few weeks ago I was contacted by Prof. Hagen Kleinert from Freie Universität Berlin, on whether he could use on of my figures from my master’s thesis in his next book. I was extremely honored, and now the book has come out, published as “Collective Classical and Quantum Fields”.

ICNS in Daejeon, South Korea
Conferences Travel

ICNS in Daejeon, South Korea

This last week I’ve been in South Korea for the ICNS (International Neutron Scattering Conference), held in Daejeon. It was an amazing trip, and a great conference – and I have a million pictures to sort through now! I’ll share some of them here.

Helsinki layover

I had a 7 hours layover in Helsinki Airport on my way there, so I tried to make the best of it by taking a little sightseeing tour to the city. I’ve never flown via Helsinki before, so it was nice to get this opportunity with a little extra time to spend. I had time enough to take the train into the center of the city, and then walk along some of the beautiful old streets and parks down to the harbour with the markets and all of the little ferries. I then went – with one of the ferries – to the island Suomenlinna, where I walked around for a few hours to see the beautiful sights and views, before I took the ferry back, and then went towards the airport again. I could see myself returning to Finland again, to see the rest of the city, as well as the surrounding land. 

The conference

The conference itself went from Sunday July 9 – with a little welcome ceremony – to Thursday July 13. There were lots of company and institute presentations in one of the large halls, and the sheer number of parallel sessions in many different locations were overwhelming at times.

There were several poster sessions mixed in throughout the week, and I got to present my poster Tuesday in the long lunch break. I don’t think I’ve ever had a poster presentation be that busy and satisfying at the same time. Several people came to talk with me about my poster, and I got plenty of feedback on my work, and even a few new contacts. I had my phone on the poster, just as I tested out during the last DanScatt meeting, and I think it did the trick to draw attention from people.

Tuesday we got to visit the High-Flux Advanced Neutron Application Reactor (HANARO) a short bus drive away from the conference center. They are currently on shutdown, and have been for a while – so we got the rare opportunity to go inside the outer containment to see the beam ports and guides right up close and personal. That was extremely interesting, and I’m very glad that I got to go. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures within the research complex, and were even made to sign agreements about this and put stickers on our phone cameras before the bus transported us to the site. However, one of the conference photographers were there to take pictures of us!

HANARO tour group picture

The whole pile of us visiting HANARO, before we went back to the conference venue

The conference banquet was held Wednesday evening, with entertainment by a traditional Nanta performance – a group of entertainers that did all kinds of dancing and fighting and music with food and cooking utensils. It was really funny and impressive at the same time, and a super great choice for our group of very mixed nationalities.

Poster prize

The poster prizes were awarded on Thursday evening, during the closing ceremony. I had signed up to have my poster evaluated for a prize, but was not too hopeful – with how extremely many posters were presented at the many poster sessions. I ended up winning one of the 12 prizes though, which was amazing!

Included with the prize was also a €100 voucher for books from SpringerNature. On top of that, this diploma is nicer looking than both my bachelor’s and master’s diplomas…

You can see the poster itself on my poster page if you’re interested.

Exploring Daejeon

Unfortunately I did not have eons of time to explore the surrounding city during the week, but we did go out to find some local restaurants and to see the beautiful river front right behind the conference center. The weather was sweltering hot and humid, and I even had problems with the insides of my camera fogging up when I took it out of the bag several times – so I did not get many pictures as I wanted. We did, however, get some absolutely delicious food, and that I got pictures of!

DanScatt 2017 meeting in Odense
Conferences Travel

DanScatt 2017 meeting in Odense

Yesterday and today I’ve been in Odense for the yearly meeting for DanScatt, the organization for Danish users of synchrotron- and neutron-sources and free-electron X-ray lasers. This time it was held at SDU (Syddansk Universitet), just like the first time I joined the meeting back in 2012.

There were plenty of talks, and also a poster session about scattering – I got to present some of my LSCO superstructures with a poster. I had some fun testing out a new idea I got for the poster I will be presenting later this Summer in South Korea at the ICNS conference, where I want to put my phone or tablet onto the poster (at least during the actual poster session). I used my phone this time, with animations of some of my reciprocal space data. It worked out really well, and functioned as a good eyecatcher for the poster.

Back from the ECM-30 meeting in Basel
Conferences Travel

Back from the ECM-30 meeting in Basel

During this week, I was in Basel to participate in the 30th meeting of the European Crystallographic Association (ECM) – the first time for me to participate in this conference. There were way more people than I had expected – I heard mentioned around 920 participants – and the whole thing was super inspiring.

I had actually tried getting a talk about my almost-ready to publish work on staging in LSCO, but I only got to present a poster. I did, however, get to catch up with a few people, as well as meet some of the people that I met at the Aperiodic Crystals school back a few weeks ago in Antwerp.

Monday evening there was a Young Crystallographers Mixer at the Bar Rouge in the second-highest building in Basel. The view was amazing, the drinks were great, and the music was loud. Quite a fun experience, although I’m not sure whether it worked well for networking or not..

Tuesday evening I got to visit the new Dectris headquarters in Baden-Daettwil, with a really interesting tour, as well as some awesome barbecue to top it off afterwards. It was really cool to see where they make the Pilatus detectors that I’ve seen so many times, as well as hear about all of the newer products they have been developing, and the history of the company.

The venue itself was really great, and there was a professional team of conference arrangers that took care of the practicals – everything ran so smoothly! We also had some pretty long lunch breaks, so there was good opportunity to get around Basel a bit. I might actually go to Basel again on a vacation some day, it was a great city – and the public transport was very efficient.

Finally, the conference dinner on Wednesday evening was held in the Zoo in Basel, in one of the big restaurant halls. Before the actual dinner (which was awesome, by the way), we were divided into groups and sent on tours around the Zoo. I got on the tour in their little aquarium, where one of the biologists showed us around in the back, where they breed corals, seahorses, and jellyfish. It was super interesting, and way too short. I could have stayed there for hours and hours.

Aperiodic Crystals school in Antwerp
Travel Workshops, schools, and courses

Aperiodic Crystals school in Antwerp

This last week I participated in the Aperiodic Crystals school held at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. It was a week of lectures and tutorials on modulated crystal structures and quasicrystals, and was basically perfectly catered for what I need for my continued PhD project.

Apart from learning a bunch of useful knowledge about superspace and superstructures, I also got some more knowledge about how to use JANA2006 to solve (in)commensurately modulated structures from single crystal data. Now I just have to figure out how to index the data that I already have…

The week ended up being super busy for me, but there was some time in the evenings to go out with people, finding interesting local beer and food. I was especially happy about finally trying cherry beer (kriek), which I’d never even heard of before. I also got to meet a lot of new awesome people, both fellow participants of the school and lecturers – some of which I’ll meet again soon at the ECM-30 conference in Basel at the end of August.

Conferences Travel Workshops, schools, and courses

Swedish Neutron Scattering Society meeting in Lund

I went to the annual Swedish Neutron Scattering Society meeting held in Lund, Sweden, this year – on Monday May 30th and Tuesday May 31st – to kind of get a feel for what is happening on the other side of the water from here in Copenhagen. I got to listen to a lot of interesting talks – many of them centered around instrument development for ESS and MAX IV – as well as present a poster on some of my more recent work.

On Tuesday we went on a tour to the almost finished MAX IV synchrotron, as well as the ESS – still in the building phase. It was super interesting to see both!

On my trips (I went back and forth by train over Øresund both days) I had some fun taking little video clips, finally resulting in a little video:

DanScatt 2016 meeting close to home
Conferences

DanScatt 2016 meeting close to home

This year the  DanScatt (the organization for Danish users of synchrotron- and neutron-sources and free-electron X-ray lasers) meeting was held at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences right on my campus, on May 26 and 27.

The talks were very centered on biology this year, and I found myself learning a lot of new things – even though I would have preferred talks more relevant to what I do myself. Hopefully it will be better balanced next year.

I got to present a poster on the afternoon of the second day, but the arrangements were so cramped that I’m not really sure that anyone actually saw it – we were so many people in a tiny, tiny space. At least there was beer and great people present!

Studies

Finally done with the master’s degree!

Today I held the master’s thesis defense, at the old auditorium A at the Niels Bohr Institute. My family was there, and a handful of office mates showed up to see it as well. Despite being pretty nervous about it, it all went really well, and even the question session afterwards probably couldn’t have gone better than it did.

You can see my slides on the master’s thesis page, where there are download links for everything related to the thesis (or just look at the slides directly through this link).

A couple of examples from the slideshow

A couple of examples of slides from the slideshow used during the defense

All over, I’m really happy with how the project turned out, and I’m looking forward to trying to finish an article for publication of some of the results during December and January.

Master’s thesis handed in – preparing for the defense!
Studies

Master’s thesis handed in – preparing for the defense!

I finally managed to hand in my master’s thesis, so I can continue on the remainder of my PhD project! I made a small sub-page on here, just like I did for my bachelor thesis back a few years ago. You can see it here, where you can also see the actual thesis (or just have a look at the thesis directly here).

A couple of example pages from the thesis

A look at a couple of the pages from the thesis

I am now preparing for the defense on Monday November 30, and just printed a couple of abstract-posters to hang in the elevator to tell people about it – those can also be seen on the little thesis sub-page I made (or just directly via this link). I’m mostly just looking forward to having this over with.

One day, I’m going to share the LaTeX class that I made for the thesis, so others can use the layout I made, but for now it’s so messy that I don’t think I want to support people on trying to compile the thing…

Part of the little abstract poster

Part of the little abstract poster that I hung around the office to invite people for the defense

Website

Major haul-over of the webpage layout

I have spent my free time the last week or two playing around with responsive CSS design for this web page, and changing the way the – now very old – page functions. I wanted it to work for smaller (in particular mobile) screens in a simple and comprehensive way, that wouldn’t mean that I’d have to rewrite every single page on the site.

I stumbled on the Pure CSS library while looking up solutions to some of the design-changes I wanted to make, and decided to go with it. My old layout was using tables for everything – a little piece of the past already when I started with the site – and it has annoyed me for years. Now everything is in CSS, and works in simple responsive ways to different window sizes. A comparison of the old and the new page layouts for the front page of the site:

There have been a bunch of changes to the site, but I will try to list some of the more important ones:

  • I used to have a search field at the bottom of each page, which showed the search results inside the page by simply extending the height of the page with the results. This has now been changed to a smaller search field in the top menu (for big screen sizes – more on that in a moment), that leads to a landing page with google results as a pop-up.
  • All icons have been changed from small png files to actual vector graphics, through various CSS defined fonts. The website Fontello, where you can create your own font package to use for just this, was an enormous help.
  • I’ve added standard social sharing buttons, that changes content of the actual buttons depending on the user that see the page. These are buttons created and served by AddThis – most people probably recognize their “plus” icon. These buttons automatically hide for smaller screen sizes, to not be in the way.

The new responsive menu is part of the Pure CSS library as well. I’ve had a lot of fun making it respond to different screen sizes, such that a small phone screen would still be able to see all the top-menu points, while more information can be shown on bigger screens. The three different behaviors of the menu can be seen below:

Different sizes of the menu

The new menu, which changes depending on the size of the window

When the screen gets smaller, first the description text disappears from the icons. Then, the social network links, translation links and search bar disappear, the latter two merging into the top menu as new icons.

Finally, I made sure that the sub-menu (and the top-menu, if a screen can even get that small) are scrollable in a flickable way on mobile devices, as well as on PC’s that have the capability of scrolling sideways. I am still trying to figure out a way of overlaying a little arrow in the sides of the sub-menu when this option is in action, but so far I have not found a solution.

Experiments Publications Studies

Article in Physical Review B!

Top part of the paper

Top part of the published paper

Astrid put together this awesome paper on the work she’s been doing the last years. I helped with a bunch of the experiments back when I’d just started my PhD, so it is great to get it published too!

As a short description, the article is about the field dependence of the interplanar magnetic correlations in our LSCO-O sample. We found that the applied field enhanced the magnetic moments and increased the interplanar correlations (though only between neighboring planes). Also, these interplanar correlations could apparently also be forced through a fast cooling instead of an applied field.

The full article can be found through the DOI number: http://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.91.174507

Experiments Studies Teaching Website Workshops, schools, and courses

Way too few updates

It feels like I’ve been updating this blog way too rarely the last couple of years – and that’s also the case for the web site as a whole. The last couple of days I have been procrastinating a bit, and had some fun with re-coding parts of the page, and setting up statistics. Turns out, a lot of the notes collections and old hand-ins get a lot of traffic, and it’s interesting for me to look at statistics for this.

Since the last post, I participated in several workshops, courses, experiments and conferences. Worth mentioning was the ICNS conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, two summers ago (July 2013), and a very exciting experiment at IN12 (ILL, France) the same month.

I finished all my teaching responsibilities, after having been a course instructor in the Experimental Physics course three times (although the first time was before I started my PhD) and once in the Neutron Scattering course, plus a couple of smaller things at different summer schools. I’m also almost done with taking courses, since I participated in a large number of workshops during the first part of my studies. I’ve had over a year long hiatus from my studies due to personal issues, and am currently working on getting back, by finishing my master thesis so I can continue on the PhD plan I started back in March 2012. Hopefully this will be over with in the beginning of this summer.

I got married, and I’ve changed my name
Website

I got married, and I’ve changed my name

My old name is Pia Jensen, but since my now husband has such an awesome last name, I’ve decided to keep my previous surname as only a middle name, and adopt his surname – Ray. So my name is now Pia Jensen Ray in full, or just Pia Ray or P. J. Ray for short.

The name change also inspired me to get a new domain, pjray.dk. For ages now, I’ve used the bozack.dk (or really mostly the fys.bozack.dk) website address for my personal website as well as e-mail. However, I felt like maybe it was time to do something else. Unfortunately, just ray.dk was already taken by someone that only uses it for e-mails (I even wrote with the person to ask if I could buy it off of them, but alas) – that would have been way cooler to own.

For now, this new domain will simply redirect to the old pages, since I don’t have much time to remake the website like I want to. One day, I’ll sit down and see if I can get a CMS like Drupal or just good old WordPress working on there. The coding I have done on this old website is starting to annoy me, since so much of it is very manual and time-consuming to update. An actual CMS with a log-in, and more of a WYSIWYG approach, would be a nice change.

On another note, this name change also comes at a fairly convenient time with regards to scientific publications. It’s always better to keep to a single name throughout, instead of changing it in the middle of a career. We have a publication coming out soon, and I’ve managed to get my new name on there before it was sent it – so that’s a good start.

My first beamtime at ESRF
Experiments Travel

My first beamtime at ESRF

We were lucky to get a few days of beamtime on the hard X-ray instrument ID11 on the ESRF in Grenoble, France: from December 1st to 3rd. We measured reflections for several of our LSCO crystals at different temperatures, to get some of the beautiful superstructures in even better resolution that before.

A little look at what the data taking looked like:

I also got to see the mountains surrounding Grenoble from a new direction – I’d never all the way down south by the synchrotron on campus, and had no idea that there was a little roundabout down there either. Either way though, the view was awesome on the days we had sunshine!

A little panorama from ESRF

A little panorama from ESRF

Another DMC beam time on LSCO+O, and a little PCMO
Experiments Travel

Another DMC beam time on LSCO+O, and a little PCMO

From November 21 to 28 we had another beam time at the DMC instrument at SINQ, where we measured reciprocal space maps for two of our LSCO+O crystals.

I arrived a couple of days early to align the samples, and had some very late nights because things didn’t want to work – as is seemingly the usual when aligning crystals… If nothing else, I got to entertain myself with how much the sample holders looked like little robots.

The measurements themselves went perfectly, and we had some extra time to put a powder sample of PCMO on the instrument in the end. Hurray for beautiful data to take home!

Introduction to Mantid and Python course
Travel Workshops, schools, and courses

Introduction to Mantid and Python course

Late last night I landed in a plane from London, after a great week at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL) in Oxfordshire, England. I’ve been following a week-long course on the instrument management and data analysis software Mantid, also including some rudimentary introductions to Python. A lot of it was very introductory (which was also the point, I guess), but at least now I have a good feel for how the software can be used both on an instrument and on my own machine for data analysis.

It’s a shame that there is no SXD instrument model in the software yet, so I could work on my time-of-flight data on there – but at least the guys teaching us (the same guys that made the software) were very eager to help people with starting up their own models too. So if I get the time, it seems like I have that option.

I stayed in the same small Bed & Breakfast in East Hendred as last time I was at ISIS (which is also at RAL), although this time I got a room a little outside of town, so I had to walk through their little yard to get to the bus stop. That made for wet shoes from the morning dew, but also some really pretty sunrises!

The little Bed & Breakfast yard made for some spectacular mornings

The little Bed & Breakfast yard made for some spectacular mornings

A little detour to London on the way home

I spent a small part of Friday in London, before going all the way to Heathrow to catch my plane. I went out to the O2 Arena and then the Emirates Air Line. I took the trip back and forth over the water – with some absolutely beautiful views of the city! I also found time to go to Greenwich Park, where the GMT line is located – and I believe that it is a Unesco World Heritage spot too! The park is huge, but I managed to walk up the hill to the Royal Observatory to enjoy the view. You can basically see all of London from up there (that’s shown in the picture at the top of this post)!

Workshops, schools, and courses

Structural State of Minerals and its Applications course

PhD course on different software used for X-ray scattering (both powders and single crystals), primarily on minerals – held at the Geocenter at the University of Copenhagen. The course addressed the use of the structural information obtained by modern diffraction methods and computational approaches in mineralogy and materials science and was mainly directed towards PhD students in geosciences and related disciplines. I was hoping to learn more about – in particular – superstructures and how to handle them, since these are found in a lot of mineralogical samples.

We spent a lot of time on basics of crystal structures and diffraction – which was a repeat of what I’ve seen a lot already – but then moved on to looking at behaviour of crystals under varying temperature and pressure, powder diffraction and applications and finally structure interpretation and specific applications in geoscience and material science. We had both lectures and experimental work with an introduction to modern diffractometers using one of the X-ray diffractometers at the department. We also got to test out a range of different crystallographic software in short tutorials.

All in all, I’m not sure if I learned much about superstructures that I didn’t already know, and I definitely did not find the holy grail of how to solve my crystal data – but, if nothing else – it was an interesting course with some new knowledge.

Workshops, schools, and courses

Courses on peer-review, writing techniques, and project management

This last week I have been following a (double) course arranged by the Dark Cosmology Center. They hired in the professional education company Tress&Tress, who arranged two of their courses right after each other – first two days on project management and scheduling, and then three days about writing techniques and the peer-review process in international scientific journals – under the titles “Coping with the challenges of a PhD” and “How to publish in peer-reviewed journals”.

These two people teaching, Dr. Bärbel Tress and Dr. Gunther Tress, were immensely inspiring – and both managed to make the classes interesting and worthwhile. I learned so much about the whole process of writing for scientific journals, as well as about the whole process of going through major projects like a PhD – and I’ll be able to use these new tools directly in my daily life. I can highly recommend to follow these courses if Tress&Tress ever near you!

Teaching

Teaching maths to biologists for the second time at a summer school

Both today and yesterday I’ve been teaching at the “Applications of X-Ray and Neutron Scattering in Biology, Chemistry and Physics” summer school at the Niels Bohr Institute. Just like last year, I was teaching in split-sessions, where we tried to get some physics and math into some biologists and chemists – so they would be able to follow the rest of the course.

This time that was the only thing I did though, since they didn’t need me for any of the later tutorials.

ICNS in Edinburgh, Scotland
Conferences Travel

ICNS in Edinburgh, Scotland

I have been in Scotland since July 7, and just got home yesterday. A large flock of us from my group went together to the International Conference for Neutron Scattering (ICNS) at the Edinburgh International Conference Center. Several of us also attended the Science & Scientists @ ESS satellite conference, which was arranged on Monday at the university.

The welcome reception was held at Dynamic Earth – with their cool white tent-like structure – and an amazing view towards Arthur’s Seat in the warm evening. It was so full of all of the conference participants, but a great place to see nevertheless – and it forced us all to take a rather long walk through the main part of the city, which was a wonderful start to the trip, to be honest.

At the actual conference center, when we got our materials handed out, they gave us umbrellas – expecting a normal Scottish Summer, I’m assuming. However, it seems like they jinxed the rain with all of those hundreds of umbrellas, as we got only beautiful warm days with lots of sunshine for the whole week. For once the weather gods were agreeable! To my delight, that also meant plenty of time (even in the evenings after it got dark) for me to wander around and take pictures. Edinburgh is a beautiful city!

During the poster session on the afternoon of Wednesday, I was busy presenting a poster about some of my LSCO+O superstructures. I did not have too many people come over, but at least a few was fine for me. We had a poster about our VNT e-learning neutron scattering project to present as well, so that was interesting.

Also Wednesday, there was a small reception-type-thing held as a private event up in the castle, which was absolutely mind-blowing! There was wine and little mini-haggis, and we could all mill about and see the crown jewels, and other little treasures they had hidden away in the chambers of the beautiful old buildings. What I loved the most, though, was the view as we walked up to the castle. You can see the whole city from there, and the weather was perfect as well!

The conference dinner Friday evening was held inside of the National Museum of Scotland, and what an absolutely beautiful place that was as well!

Oh, and we also had the pleasure of seeing Kim juggling not just balls, but also apples!

Saturday we took some time to go to Arthur’s Seat and enjoy yet another awesome view of the city. It was quite the hike, and I ended up not going all the way up there – but it was still beautiful!

Arthur's Seat

The view from Arthur’s Seat was spectacular

Some extra time on IN12
Experiments Travel

Some extra time on IN12

Since some of our last beamtime on the inelastic neutron instrument IN12 was wasted because of missing and non-prepared equipment, we got an extra piece of beam time, continuing the last experiment we did there in May. We had from June 30th to July 3rd, although the first day was really only to check the alignment on the sample – while the last day was only until the early morning.

More cool airport visits!

On my way home, I had to switch planes in the Charles de Gaulle airport, which I’ve never done before. What interesting architecture they have! And there were security guards and police on segways, I’ve never seen that before…

Teaching

Experimental Physics got a prize, and so did we!

Mads and I got flowers, wine, and a gift card for an evening at a restaurant because of our work on developing the Experimental Physics course the last three years, and how much time we have both put in to getting the course be awesome! This was especially cool because Kim got the Jens Martin Knudsen prize as the best educator in February, because of his work on the course. So it was great for us student assistant teachers to get some recognition of our work as well. I am extremely honored and happy about this.

Teaching

Finished the last time of teaching in the Experimental Physics course

The last two days we have held the final exams for the Experimental Physics course, which I’ve been teaching in for a third time this year. The students did awesome – I’m super proud of all of them!

This will also be the last time I teach in the course, since I’ve been teaching plenty more than the required hours during my PhD already – and this course really takes a long time because of all of the actual hours in class, with all of the report corrections added on top!

Silly log books

I kept myself busy – using all of the train rides back and forth over Øresund last week to the Nordic Physics Days – to correct log books from the students on the course, so no boring transport for me! Now, I’m not telling who did this – but one of the log books had these amazing pages in them:

That gave me a good giggle.

Nordic Physics Days in Lund, Sweden
Conferences Travel

Nordic Physics Days in Lund, Sweden

Between Wednesday and Friday this week, a number of us from the group have been in Lund to participate in the Nordic Physics Days held at the university there.

I got to present a poster with a few status updates on my LSCO+O superstructures project, and I tried making it a little more general – for a general physicist audience instead of an audience of specialized crystallographers. One of the steps to do that, was to make the title more fun – so I named it “Superstructures in a superoxygenated superconductor”, which I felt was maybe enough “super”. I also gave it the subtitle “An ongoing study of the high-temperature superconductor La\(_2\)CuO\(_{4+y}\)”, just in case someone wanted to actually know what was going on…

On Thursday, we also got to go on a little tour to visit the Max IV build site. It was extremely cool to see how they’ve started doing things on site, even though they haven’t gotten that far yet. At least you can actually kind of see the ring coming into shape!

Beam time on IN12
Experiments Travel

Beam time on IN12

From May 11 to 17, I’ve been at the ILL in Grenoble, France, to do an experiment on the triple-axis neutron instrument IN12, where we did inelastic measurements on one of our LCO+O crystals.

We had to spend a whole day on the OrientExpress instrument to co-align our samples, since there were four of them to be used at the same time… It was a horrible puzzle to get them matching up, but we got it done!

The actual measurements on IN12 was done between May 14 and 17, and despite a lot of problems with some of the instrument components not being delivered on time (wasting us a lot of time in the end), we got some great measurements.

One absolutely awesome thing on this trip, was that one of our local contacts at the ILL managed to give us a little tour of the reactor hall. We got to have a look at all of the neutron instruments inside of the inner instrument hall, and we got to stand above the reactor and see the Cherenkov radiation. It was so beautiful. I’m sorry about not having any pictures for here, but their rules are pretty strict about taking photos…

Some extra photo time in Frankfurt

On the way to France, I had a 4 hour layover between planes in Frankfurt airport, and I took the opportunity to walk around in the huge airport and take pictures of airplanes and fun architecture and decorations.

Working a couple of weeks at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Experiments Travel

Working a couple of weeks at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

From April 1st to 13th, I’ve been at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire, England, to work together with the instrument responsible at the SXD instrument. We’ve been working on my data analysis, but the main thing we did was do extra measurements on two different laboratory X-ray diffractometers on small shavings of the same LSCO+O crystal that we had on SXD. These data will help me get an even better overview of my superstructures, since the X-ray instruments can measure for higher \(q\) than what we’ve previously been able to.

The two diffractometers were at ISIS (an Oxford Instruments Gemini diffractometer) and the Harwell Research Complex (an Oxford Instruments SuperNova diffractometer), right on the RAL campus, so it was super convenient. We got so much new data – on several different small pieces of the crystal – and at least some of them have really nice resolution. I can definitely use this further!

The Gemini instrument

The Gemini instrument

I stayed at a cute lille Bed & Breakfast in East Hendred, a short ten minute bus drive from campus. The two cozy pubs provided some awesome meals for my dinners, and I felt super welcome there – I’ll be staying there every time I go to ISIS from now on. The guest house at campus is really, really not worth it compared to this place (it was basically the same price, for a way better room, and way better opportunities for dinner)!

Beautiful London

On the first day, on my way to Oxfordshire, I took a little detour and spent a few hours in London. It’s the first time I’ve been in the city, and I spent my time walking around, mostly along the Thames – visiting the typical tourist spots like Elizabeth Tower, Trafalgar Square, the Tower Bridge, the Gherkin, and the Millenium Bridge at St. Paul’s Cathedral. I had a great time, and I’ll definitely return one day to have a look at some of the less visited places!

A little side trip to Oxford

I spent one of my days working at the Bed & Breakfast in the morning, and then taking a short trip to Oxford in the afternoon. I visited some of the old colleges and had coffee and pecan pie at one of the (if not the) oldest coffee shops in Europe – Queen’s Lane Coffee House. I used one of those hop-on-hop-off tourist bus things, and they drove us around and explained how things used to work in the old days of the city. It was really interesting!

I stopped at the botanical gardens and had an ice cream while enjoying the beautiful Spring flowers. I also went to see the beautiful Renaissance dining hall at the Christ Church college, where they filmed the Harry Potter Hogwarts dining hall scenes: despite the long line and too many people, it was kind of fun to see.

Weekend trip to bird-of-prey park and Stonehenge

On Sunday, April 7th, the local contact took me on a trip to a bird-of-prey park and Stonehenge, just to get out and do something, instead of sitting at the Bed & Breakfast working all weekend. It was super cool – and I’m really glad he suggested it!

Back from Neutron Scattering Software Workshop in Berlin
Travel Workshops, schools, and courses

Back from Neutron Scattering Software Workshop in Berlin

After the ADD workshop at the ILL in France, I went to Germany, to participate in yet another workshop in Berlin. This time the theme of the workshop was software for neutron scattering, and I learned so much. A bunch of software developers, as well as researchers interested in software, showed up, and there were so many great discussions and presentations of software and what is needed of software. I also got ample opportunities to network a bunch, so that was great.

I found a little time – on the evening of the last day – to go to Alexanderplatz, where there was a market going on. They had music and tonnes of little cute booths selling sausages and all kinds of sweet foods. They also had some pretty silly music going on (see the video further down if you care).

ADD2013 workshop at ILL
Travel Workshops, schools, and courses

ADD2013 workshop at ILL

During the last week, I’ve been in France, participating in the ADD workshop at the ILL in Grenoble. It has been a week of tutorials and lectures on different programs and methods that are used for real-space analysis of diffraction data. I got to test out the PDFgui program, which was interesting – since I’d heard about it at the conference in Santa Fe last October.

I got to present a poster as well, but simply used the same poster as the one I presented at the Flipper workshop back in January. I still did not get much of a response in terms of ideas on how to refine my superstructures, but did get plenty of friendly – although slightly unoptimistic – encouragement to continue my work. Sigh.

I also got a bit of time in the evenings to go explore Grenoble, and I found myself getting on the cable cars to the Bastille on top of one of the mountains surrounding the city. The view from up there was spectacular!

When I was done exploring and wandering around, I took the cable car down – and basically got the whole thing to myself. That prompted me to record the descent, with the view of the city in the early sunset – so if you’re interested, have a look at the video below!

Flipper2013 workshop at ILL
Travel Workshops, schools, and courses

Flipper2013 workshop at ILL

Since Tuesday, I’ve been at the ILL, attending this years Flipper workshop on the use of polarized neutrons. I was primarily there to learn, since I still haven’t gone much into polarized neutrons, and I have never used them for any experiments.

It was a great workshop, and I learned a lot of new things. I’m still not sure how relevant the things I learned actually are for my PhD project, but at least I met a lot of interesting people. I also presented a poster on the work I’ve done so far on my LCO crystal system – but since we haven’t been able to refine the structure yet, it was mostly a presentation of our awesome data. A few people had a look at it, and openly said that it was going to take a while to get that solved.. so that’s not comforting at all.

Publications Studies

We just got an article in Neutron News!

This is my first scientific publication apart from my notes collection! Even though I’m not the first-author (Linda Udby did the writing), it’s still super cool! I made all of the figures, and we actually got the front page of the journal for that volume – which of course I also made!

Our Neutron News front page

Our Neutron News front page

You can see the publication via the DOI link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10448632.2013.751795

Experiments Travel

My first ISIS beamtime

During the last six days, I’ve been in England, more specifically the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, to do measurements on one of our LCO+O crystals (actually the same crystal that we did measurements on at DMC in Switzerland last month). I was at the SXD instrument, a time-of-flight neutron Laue diffractometer, where we measured at five different rotations of the crystal, each for both low temperature and room temperature.

We got a huge amount of data, and mapped out a large volume in reciprocal space. The number of superstructures we saw was really large, and so far we haven’t been able to get a full refinement of the data. The on-site peak integration software was really cool though, and seemed to do the job great – and the instrument scientist was extremely helpful.

All in all, a great experience, and I hope that I (probably with the help of the instrument scientist) will be able to get the superstructures solved.

Of course I also had a few minutes here and there to walk around and take some pictures:

Yet another beam time, now with students!
Experiments Teaching Travel

Yet another beam time, now with students!

I just got home from Switzerland, once again, this time from a beamtime at the DMC powder diffractometer, where I was measuring on one of our LCO+O single crystal samples, in order to map out part of reciprocal space (both for the crystal aligned in the cb- and the ab-plane). It was some really cool measurements, and I think I’ve already found the front page image for my thesis!

I actually started out the trip with starting up a beam time at the RITA-II instrument, where a YMnO3 sample were to be investigated. That was also really exciting – and that experiment continued during my own DMC beam time as well (sadly I didn’t have time to follow it all the way though, but their results looked really cool!).

Some of the students from the neutron scattering course were down there with us, to follow the two experiments. That was really fun, but I hadn’t expected how hard it was to help them to understand everything, when I didn’t even understand half of it myself! Usually beam times are really tiring, but this really took the price!

The DMC data weren’t really the most perfect data to do structure refinement from (in the cb-plane we only got 12 structural peaks, and some of them were of really bad resolution), but we saw some cool temperature dependencies, and already have some new proposals out for TriCS and other instruments in order to explore those things more. We also got a friendly beam time of two days at the new EIGER instrument, which will be really cool to work with.

This trip also marked the end of the neutron course, although I still need to correct a few reports, and help a few more of the students with their final project. But all in all, it’s been fun teaching in the course, even though it has been quite hard at some times!

Total scattering workshop in Santa Fe
Travel Workshops, schools, and courses

Total scattering workshop in Santa Fe

From October 14th to 23rd, I was in the states for the first time. I went to Santa Fe (New Mexico) to attend a workshop/conference on total scattering, the Advanced Simulation Techniques for Total Scattering Data conference, arranged by people from Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The actual conference was only from the 16th to the 19th, so I had a few days on each side to go around town and be a bit of a turist. I brought my camera, and got a lot of nice shots (although I’ll have to find the time to actually do the editing and sorting of them later).

My flight there went through Heathrow and Dallas Fort Worth, and turned out to end in a mess – both ways. On the way over there, some very thick fog had hidden Heathrow, and we had to fly in circles – eventually landing in Stanstead to get re-fueled, before we could finally land – more than an hour late – in Heathrow. Of course I missed my Atlantic flight, but luckily I got on the next available one, and still caught my connecting flight in Dallas. My luggage wasn’t as lucky, though.. The people in Dallas were really bad at handling the situation, and it was first when I landed in Santa Fe that people could help me on with the luggage problem (at which time it was too late to send the luggage on from Heathrow, so I had to wait to the evening after). On the way back, our landing in Heathrow got delayed because of the number of planes waiting, and I nearly missed my connecting flight to Copenhagen. The people at Heathrow were nice enough to hand out special orange tickets for people connecting with flights that left soon, but they didn’t take into account that the name ‘Jensen’ is very common in Denmark, and hence stupidly enough only made one ‘Jensen’ ticket, and gave that one to the other ‘Jensen’ Dane that was going on the same plane. So I had to go through the normal procedures, and just caught the plane in time. Of course, my luggage didn’t, again. But oh well, at least I got home.

The conference itself was really nice – both the practical arrangements, the small PDFgui tutorial, the talks, and the trip to Los Alamos, were really well planned and executed. I learned a lot of new information about total scattering, and what it can be used for, and met a lot of cool people. I was really happy to talk to a couple of people from ORNL, to hear how things work over there, since I will be going there in half a year of so.

The turisting part of the trip went nicely as well – I had some fun walking around town, looking at the old buildings and just getting a feel of things. I went to a local supermarket just to see how it was (I was expecting the people packing your groceries for you, but it still just felt creepy to me..), and I went to lots of small restaurants to get some of the New Mexican food (which I was pleasantly surprised about), especially the chile. I even went all the way through town to see the farmers market, and I’m glad I did; You could get to see how they roast the peppers for the chile – that was fun.

Overall, it was a great trip, and I’m really looking forward to going over there again.

A while later, a meeting report was published for the workshop in Neutron News, which can be viewed here. The picture in the top of this blog entry is also from this report.

Workshops, schools, and courses

Responsible Conduct of Research course

These last two days, I’ve spent my mornings at the old faculty of life sciences, following the new mandatory PhD course Responsible Conduct of Research. The course was started because of the problems with the neuro-science (or what was it?) researcher Milena Penkowa, who did a lot of bad things (read; science misconduct). I don’t know exactly what the logic was, but I think the people at the top of the university thought it would make them look good if they demanded all PhD students to follow a course on the matters of misconduct and politics.

First, I was appaled by the sheer weight of the papers they wanted us to read: Not only news-paper clips and guides, but huge pieces of law texts. I haven’t had that much trouble getting through a curriculum since following the (also mandatory, but on the bachelor education in physics) course in science ethics and history/theory. I guess I learned a bit though – I now know what the different committees are called, and what they do, and I learned about a couple of cases where people have done wrong. But all in all, most of what they made me read what logics, and I felt a bit stupid for actually following their demands of reading it – I might as well just have thought it up myself.

The lectures on the two mornings were fine, though, but maybe (who am I kidding, not maybe, definetely!) boring. At least we got free coffee…

To pass the course, you have to write a two-page essay on a case from your own scientific environment or work, related to the curriculum of the course. I haven’t written an essay since high school, and I’ve always hated it. For now, I have no idea what I want to write about, and I really don’t know how I’ll be able to write something I’ll be happy about handing in. Let’s see what I end up with…

Travel Workshops, schools, and courses

One more workshop on the list – this time on DISCUS

During the full last week, I was in Erlangen (Germany, close to Nürnberg), following a workshop on the diffuse scattering simulation program DISCUS.

It was lots of fun, but I had kind of hoped for something else. A lot of the first day (and sub-sequent days) were used on how to use linux and the terminal (and ranting about how bad windows is – that is, using bad and wrong arguments for it…), instead of introducing the program in a good way. We went through a lot of different tutorials, but a lot of it was very hurried, and not very deep. I guess that at least I got a lot of tools back home with me, so if I really need to use the program (I don’t know if I will, yet), I have something to read up on.

I did buy the DISCUS cook book beforehand, and read a little in it (I didn’t get that far because of me being really busy). I must say that it was a really expensive book, due to the fact that you can only get it i hard-cover, but it is well written – and I think I’ve learned far more from that short period of reading in it, than I did from the actual workshop.

All that said, I would probably recommend people going to the workshop if they actually intend to use the program themselves. It’s really hard figuring out the small logic things on your own – like the fact that they have three different independent programs in the package.

Teaching

Started teaching in the neutron scattering course

This week was the first week of block 1, and hence the first week of the neutron scattering course held at the Niels Bohr Institute. I was helping a bit last year as well, since I was hired to develop some different e-learning tools for the course, but this year I am an actual student instructor on the course.

We started Monday afternoon with some small introductions and a few exercises, and the small team (this year I think there are only about 12 students following the course…) is kind of cozy. Wednesday was the first long day, and since Kim went to Switzerland, Linda and I (and Peter Willendrup, who had promised to help with giving an introduction to McStas and the virtual machines we wanted to install on the student’s laptops, was also there) handled the day. Linda took care of lecturing about instrumentation, while I did a small MATLAB introduction and a little view of our local neutron source and He-3 detector tube. Most of the students seemed to get things running, and I think they’re ready for the startup of the real simulation projects in next week.

Teaching

Teaching at a neutron and X-ray scattering summer course

These last couple of days (that is, Monday through Wednesday), I’ve been one of the teachers of the Applications of X-ray and Neutron Scattering in Biology, Chemistry and Physics course held as a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, the University of Lund, the University of Roskilde, and DTU. It’s a three week course, and this is the first time for the course to be held.

The idea was to teach fairly young university students the basics of both neutron and X-ray scattering, in order for them to be prepared for the great new times with the ESS and MaxLab IV.

These first three days, where I was teaching, consisted primarily of introductions, and Monday and Tuesday I was teaching in split-sessions. These sessions were a split-up of the students in biologists and physicists (or, in practice, people not usually using a lot of math, and people better at math). The physicists were taught something about proteins, while Kim Lefmann and I were teaching the others to do some basic math, and understand things like complex numbers, Fourier transformations, waves and simple scattering. All in all, I think it went okay. But I guess I would have liked to be better prepared (I only found out that I was going to be teaching at Sunday evening…).

On Wednesday, I helped three of the lecturers with exercises. The last two weeks I have been working on a simulation of a simple neutron reflectometer instrument, to be used this single day. I never got the multilayers working flawlessly, but I got the rest working okay, and offered to help the three others to do the actual teaching, using the live-simulation tools that we also used during the tutorials that I was helping in on i Italy in July. This ended up kind of a mess, but I hope that the students learned something anyway…

OrientExpress beamtime over
Experiments Travel

OrientExpress beamtime over

I’ve just returned from the Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France, where I’ve been on a super-short beamtime at the neutron Laue instrument OrientExpress. This was my first time to the ILL, and I was going there on my own. That was confusing! The airport in Lyon has really bad signing, but I found my way (after a while of wandering around not understanding anything, I might add..).

I was measuring on two new LSCO crystals, to see how many single crystals was in them. Both of them actually came from one crystal, but it broke into two during the oxygenation process. It seems like they are possibly full single crystals, a great result, but they might have a splitting in the length direction (they are cylindrical) – which is kind of a mess to cut up. I guess I will have to do some X-ray Laue images to see if that is the case.

The absolutely stunning rail station at Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport

On the way back home, I went to the airport in Lyon a little early, to go explore the train station connected to the airport. I have never seen a more alien building – it’s absolutely stunning!

Home from teaching in Italy
Teaching Travel

Home from teaching in Italy

The last week (from the 15th to today, the 22nd) I have been participating in the International Neutron Scattering Instrumentation School (INSIS), partly as a teacher, and partly as a normal student. This was all happening in the small town Frascati, on a mountain close to Rome, Italy.

I was teaching the students about McStas during two afternoon tutorial sessions, where Linda Udby, Peter Willendrup, and I strolled around helping the students getting through the exercises we made for them. For the rest of the school, I followed the lectures – learning a lot of new words from the neutron scattering world (even though some of the lectures were kind of a repetition of what I already knew), and I met a lot of cool people. I really had fun during the evenings, talking to a lot of great people from the neutron scattering world.

We also got a tour of the particle accelerator at the Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati, which was absolutely awesome!

A little trip to Rome

I did take a single day off, though, to go down to Rome and play turist. I went downthere awfully early in the morning, to have time to see things and walk around without dying in the heat. I was one of the first people of that day to get into the Colloseum – that was really cool. I also saw the pyramid of Cestius, the Trevi fountain, and the forums.

All in all I had a great trip – but I would recommend people that are not very heat-tolerant to not go there in the middle of the summer!

A while later, a meeting report was published for the school in Neutron News, which can be viewed here.

Another workshop
Workshops, schools, and courses

Another workshop

This whole week I have been participating in the Second Annual Niels Bohr International Academy Workshop on ESS Science (yeah, that’s a long name, I know) held here at the Niels Bohr Institute.

During the lectures, we were told a lot about current neutron instruments, and the programming used to analyze data. I also participated in tutorial sessions in the program RMCProfile, and I was really happy to get to know that particular program. I might use it during my Ph.D., if I get the time (and beam time!).

Teaching

Experimental Physics exams, finally over!

Today and yesterday we had the final exams of the Experimental Physics course. The students used the last couple of weeks on doing experiments around in the actual research groups at the Niels Bohr Institute. These experiments were then documented in small 4-page articles (PRL style), and the final exam was then individual oral presentations of their projects, using slides. The idea was to make it small konferences, and the students were split up into different teams where they held the presentations for each other (as well as the teachers, being there both as chairmen and examinators).

It went really well for most of the students, and it seems like they’ve learned at lot during the course. I feel like the course has been a success again this year – although I haven’t looked at the student evaluations yet..

Experiments Travel

Another RITA-II beamtime

This was a hard couple of weeks! Just the day after getting home from the DanScatt meeting in Odense, I took a plane to Switzerland super-early in the morning, for a new round of beamtime at the RITA-II instrument at PSI.

Helium and nitrogen refill

Helium and nitrogen refill gives a lot of smoke

With a little help from Christof Niedermayer, I used the first couple of days to get our sample aligned and get it on a new holder (it was already aligned in the ac-plane from the last beamtime, but we needed it in the ab-plane with a certain tilt out of the plane). Astrid showed up Sunday to help. Unfortunately, somewhere in the research phase we had found the wrong diameter of the magnet we were going to use, and it turned out that we had to start all over with a much smaller holder! That was a huge setback, and we had to start almost all over with the alignment. We weren’t done yet when Linda showed up on Monday.

But we did get it working in the end, and did a lot of cool measurements on an incommensurate magnetic peak, and how it changed with applied magnetic field.

A little weekend trip to Basel

Astrid went home after the first week, leaving Linda and I to finalize the experiment (even though I guess this experiment was mostly for her project). Luckily, it was possible to script a large amount of the scans, and we actually took a whole day off to go to Basel Saturday June 9th. That was a really great little trip, and we saw a lot of fun museums and architecture – especially the Tinguely museum was interesting, with so many odd sculptures!

Another fun thing that happened was that I met Ivana (who I met at the PSI summer school in 2011) in the instrument hall! She was at a beamtime at the SANS-I instrument, doing some measurements that I really didn’t understand. But we had a little time to get some coffee at talk things over, that was nice.

DanScatt 2012 meeting in Odense
Conferences Travel

DanScatt 2012 meeting in Odense

This Thursday and Friday the group went to the yearly meeting of the Danish Centre for the use of Synchrotron X-ray and Neutron facilities (DanScatt). This year it was held at the university in Odense (Syddansk Universitet), and it was the first time that I was there.

Some of us went together in one of the minibuses owned by the institute, and had a nice trip with lots of joking around and meeting new people.

The meeting itself consisted of lectures and some poster-sessions, but was in general quite boring. I brought my poster over my bachelor project, but it didn’t really fit in: Most of the other posters were centered around the use of neutrons and X-rays on crystals or biological systems, so a poster about neutron moderators was a bit out of focus..

Publications

I published a new note collection as a small book!

I’ve now gotten a new version of my older notes collection for the MatIntro course published. It contains more equations, more and better solution approaches, and reworked illustrations – and it’s printed in color this time! Oh, and it’s published with a new publisher, since the old one was slow to print more copies… I actually got contacted by Polyteknisk directly, because people kept asking about my “little blue” note collection in their stores, and the old publisher couldn’t deliver copies fast enough – so they arranged for a takeover contract of a new version, and even made this beautiful graphics for the front page of the book!

One thing that I really like, is that the book binding is an actual paperback book binding this time, instead of the stapled together binding that the old publisher did. It makes it so much nicer to go through it, plus you can actually have it on a book shelf and find it again…

It is published as “Den lille blå – En grundlæggende matematisk formelsamling til MatIntro på KU“, by Polyteknisk Forlag (June 2012), with ISBN10: 8770782407, and ISBN13: 9788770782401.

They even, somehow, managed to set the price point a little lower than the price that the old one sells for at the moment. So a hint, if you want to buy my note collection for the course – you might as well get the new one. The old one is just getting pricier every day!

PSI detwinning beamtime
Experiments Travel

PSI detwinning beamtime

Yesterday, I returned from a long week in Switzerland, where I’ve been on a beamtime at the RITA-II instrument at the SINQ neutron source at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI).

I was there along with Astrid T. Rømer and Linda Udby, doing measurements on three different LSCO crystals. We tried detwinning them using magnetic fields, but it ended up not working at all.. Week well spent! Well, at least I got some training in aligning single crystals, and we did get some beautiful data.

We’ll have to look at some different techniques for measuring detwinning than neutron scattering (possibly dilatometry), before we want to do anything with neutrons again.

Studies

FysikRevy 2012

Yesterday I was to the annual FysikRevy at the Niels Bohr Institute, and it was great! A bunch of the students band together and make a two-hour (or was it more?) show with singing and acting (and a lot of booze) – doing small sketches teasing the teachers and the administration.

I haven’t been to the revy the last couple of years, since it always ended up being in a weekend where I didn’t have time. But this year, I finally found the time, and I am really glad that I did. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Oh, and something funny: I was actually indirectly in the revy. A printed version of one of my note collections was in one of the sketches!

For an example of what happened at the FysikRevy, even in English, have a look at their YouTube page for one of the most awesome songs they’ve written so far!