Connecting Industrial R&D Staff to State-of-the-Art Neutron Methods
Oct 14 – Nov 25 all-day

In the frame of the H2020 project ACCELERATE, a series of webinars focused on state-of-the-art neutron methods will be held in October and November 2020. Each talk will be facilitated by an expert in the field from the European Spallation Source.

This series of webinars aims to bring together researchers from industry as well as R&D staff from both academia and industry to exchange knowledge and expertise. Each talk will be focused on a specific field of application which would be of high interest for researchers working in the food, pharmaceutical, and energy sectors.

1st webinarNeutrons: A Natural Tool for Industrial Research        

Date and time: 14 October 2020 at 15:00 (CET)

Speaker: Dr. Andrew Jackson, Acting Head Neutron Instruments Division, Group Leader Instrument Scientists (European Spallation Source)


Neutron beams are highly penetrating, non-destructive, and sensitive to light elements and magnetic structures. As such neutron scattering, imaging and spectroscopy form a family of methods that provide unique insight into structure, dynamics and kinetics from the atomic to macroscopic scale.

Whilst neutrons have played a key role in many fields of academic research, the special characteristics of neutrons, and the maturity of many of the techniques, lend themselves to application in industrial R&D. Neutron methods have been successfully employed in areas ranging from formulations and personal care products, through to understanding strains in aircraft wings.

This talk will give an overview of why we choose to study materials with neutrons, how we generate neutron beams, and what types of measurements are possible. Examples of applications from a broad spectrum of industrial research will be presented, with a view to both giving an opportunity for discussion and as an introduction to the rest of the seminars in the series.

Read here the speaker’s biography.

► Register now.

2nd webinarNanoscale to Microscale Structural Analysis with Neutrons

Date and time: 4 November 2020 at 15:00 (CET)

Speaker: Dr. Judith Houston, Instrument Scientist for LoKI (European Spallation Source)


The interactions and assembly behaviour of a product’s components in the nano-range, such as the colloidal building blocks in milk, or the polymer chains in plastic thin film coverings, determine not only the structure of the material at the nanoscale, but also directly influence that materials’ structure, rheology and functional properties at the macroscopic scale. Therefore, when designing new products, such as food, drug formulations or packaging, it is increasingly important to understand the relationship between the structural and functional properties of that material’s constituent components.

Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) is an ideal technique to help us unravel complex soft matter structures on the 1-500 nm scale. The specific properties of neutrons, such as their capability to distinguish light elements and their isotopes (e.g. 1H (hydrogen) and 2H (deuterium)), or their negligible absorption, make them particularly useful in the field of soft matter. Firstly, by selectively deuterating components of a complex material, we can create contrast in an otherwise homogenous system without altering its physico-chemical properties. Such components can then be rendered effectively invisible in the measured scattering data when combined with judicious selection of the solvent. Therefore, this method of contrast-variation enables full structural characterisation of not only the global structure, but also its constituent components and their interaction, which cannot be obtained by light or x-ray scattering. In addition, the comparatively weak interaction between neutrons and matter, enables them to penetrate most materials. As a result, we can design relatively complex sample environments for in situstudies with neutrons. This has powerful implications for studying the evolution of nanoscale structures in industrial processes, without the need for overly simplified model set-ups. Finally, their non-invasive nature makes neutron perfect to study bio-relevant material without radiation damage.

This talk will include numerous examples from the literature aiming to highlight the versatility of neutron scattering for industrial applications, from understanding the structure of food or packaging to demonstrating the flexibility of neutrons to study processing techniques.

Read here the speaker’s biography.

► Register now.

3rd webinarNeutron protein crystallography reveals molecular details of inhibitor binding to clinical targets.

Date and time: 11 November 2020 at 15:00 (CET)

Speaker: Dr. Zöe Fisher, Group Leader Deuteration and Macromolecular Crystallisation (European Spallation Source)


Ligand binding to proteins are mediated through numerous interactions. These can include direct hydrogen bonds, water-mediated interactions, electrostatics, metal coordination, energetic changes through water displacement, aromatic ring stacking, and hydrophobic interactions.

Using X-ray crystallography as a tool for the study of protein: ligand complexes is a powerful and high throughput approach, but cannot elucidate many of the atomic details of the types of interactions involved. Neutrons can fill this knowledge gap as they have unique properties that enable us to determine the location of light atoms [1H (Hydrogen), and its isotope 2H (Deuterium)]. By extension then it is possible to observe hydrogen bonds and infer electrostatics based on presence or absence of a hydrogen atoms on the protein but also the ligand. This can inform the researcher on the charged state of a ligand, the involvement of water molecules, and the charged state of amino acid side chains involved in binding.

Combining the unique information from neutron crystallography with high resolution X-ray crystallography, it is then possible to obtain a complete and accurate view of the interactions that drive ligand binding. This talk will include examples from the literature on where this strategy was employed to investigate novel compounds binding to a cancer metastasis marker, and clinically used protease inhibitors to HIV protease.

Read here the speaker’s biography.

► Register now.

4thwebinarNon-destructive testing with neutrons: Revealing (micro-) structural properties and providing unique contrast inside large samples and assembled components

Date and time: 25th November 2020 at 15:00 (CET)

Speaker: Dr. Robin Woracek, Instrument Class Coordinator for Imaging and Engineering, Instrument Scientist for Test Beamlines and Engineering (European Spallation Source)


While neutron based material characterization tools may seem exotic, they have much in common with more widely available microscopy techniques or x-ray based diffraction and computed tomography methods. Due to the high penetration power of neutrons into most materials and the unique contrast they provide, they complement the more standard tools and moreover, are invaluable for in situ and in operando investigations.

Large-scale neutron infrastructure methodology has played key roles in the innovation of engineering systems and provided insights about materials and processes that enable developments of novel and improved products. Thanks to the high contrast for elements like Hydrogen and Lithium, neutron imaging and diffraction has been used to optimize the fuel cell technology that will power our cars tomorrow, to gain insight into the operation of batteries, as well as to reveal corrosion in airplane components. The high penetration power allows probing deep inside of metallic alloys to study phase transitions, determining internal residual stresses or crystallographic texture, hence significantly expanding what can be done using electrons or x-rays.

This presentation will summarize the most important neutron characterization tools for the study of engineering materials and components, and beyond that will aim to spark ideas on how neutrons can help to solve open questions and problems that you are currently facing in your industry.

Read here the speaker’s biography.

► Register now.

Save the date ►ACCELERATE webinar ”The Missing 90%: From an Idea to a Product”
Dec 8 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

The 13th edition of the ACCELERATE webinars will take place on 8th December 2020 at 11:30 am (CET time). The speaker of this edition is Mr. Pete Lomas, Founding member of Raspberry Pi.


Steve Jobs once commented “Having a great idea is only 10% of the solution” So what is the other 90%? There is a large number of activities that have to come together to deliver a world beating product. The speaker of this edition will go through the pathway to designing, developing and manufacturing an electronic product using the hugely successful Raspberry Pi as an exemplar.

► Register here

About the speaker

Pete Lomas holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in computer science from the University of Manchester. His passion for teaching and sharing ideas led him to take up a lecturing post at Manchester. During this time he became heavily involved in the ‘hobby computer’ movement and set up a local computer club that engaged the local community in this new and exciting field.

In 1986 the lure of industry became too great and he set up an electronics design consultancy. In 1997 he sold the company and established Norcott Technologies, a leading UK provider of electronic design and manufacturing services serving a wide range of customers ranging from innovators and early stage businesses through to blue chip multinational companies and academic research institutions.

Within Norcott he serves as Director of Engineering and is heavily involved at the engineering “coal face”. He has led on designs as diverse as engine management units, high performance cryptographic engines, x-ray scanning systems and “internet edge” devices.

In 2008 his passion for education resurfaced .With a group of like- minded individuals based in Cambridge they established the Raspberry Pi Foundation. As a UK registered charity it has a keen focus on putting creativity, experimentation and fun into the teaching of digital making, primarily through the use of the low cost Raspberry Pi Linux computer.

Pete was responsible for the design and manufacturing support for the first three million devices including the transfer of operations back to the UK at Sony Pencoed. Over a period of eight years the Raspberry Pi computer has gone from being a small scale educational project to a worldwide phenomenon with sales of over 30 Million units and becoming the third best-selling computing platform behind the Apple Mac and the ubiquitous ‘86 based PC .

Within Raspberry Pi, Pete also served a 10 year term as foundation trustee focusing on helping to bring computer science and engineering centre stage in young people’s search for a fulfilling career through mainstream and ad hoc educational opportunities.

In 2017 Pete was a co-recipient the prestigious MacRobert Award for excellence in engineering and became a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2018.

Today in addition to his other roles he is president of the Institution of Engineering Designers promoting excellence in design across the spectrum of engineering disciplines.


Save the date ►Workshop on Impact Assessment, Evaluation and Monitoring of Research Infrastructures
Dec 16 – Dec 17 all-day

Recently, impact assessment and/or monitoring have been highlighted as an important element of long-term sustainability of research infrastructures by ESFRI, European Commission, Competitiveness Council as well as OECD. This has resulted in an adoption of a report Monitoring of Research Infrastructures Performance by ESFRI in 2019, and a focus on impact assessment and monitoring by a number of research infrastructures.

The present workshop intends to highlight the recent developments in the field of impact assessment, scientific evaluation and monitoring of research infrastructures and is co-organized by three European Commission co/funded projects, ACCELERATE, ERIC Forum and RI-PATHS.

► The draft program is available here.