The São Paulo School of Advanced Sciences (ESPCA) on Recent Developments in Synchrotron Radiation

Harry Westfahl, Helio Tolentino and Esen Ercan Alp

Sao Paulo School of Advanced Sciences

The São Paulo School of Advanced Sciences (ESPCA) on Recent Developments in Synchrotron Radiation was held between July 13-24, 2015 at LNLS in Campinas, Brazil. LNLS is the Laboratorio Nacional de Luz Sincrotron, The Brazilian Synchrotron Light Source.. 96 students, 48 of them from abroad spread over 17 different countries attended the school. A total of 27 different nationalities were represented in this 12 days school, in which 22 lecturers presented 34 lectures. 

Welcoming talks by A. José Roque da Silva, Director of LNLS, and C. Henrique de Brito Cruz, Scientific Director of FAPESP (São Paulo funding agency), gave the participants a chance to learn first hand the future plans for LNLS and Science in São Paulo. In particular, the ongoing construction of one of the brightest synchrotron X-ray sources in the world, SIRIUS, provided a perfect setting for this summer (winter) school.

The topics discussed at the school were synchrotron radiation source characteristics, including coherence and polarization, new X-ray optics components for focusing, and high-resolution monochromatization, as well as crystal analyzers. Among the scientific topics discussed were applications of various X-ray spectroscopy, scattering and imaging techniques to problems in materials science, geology, structural biology, condensed matter physics, soil science, and environmental science.

The school was accompanied by hands-on experiments and tutorials at 17 different beamlines of the LNLS, complemented with tutorials on the accelerator itself, X-ray detectors and X-ray optics. Each student had a chance to participate in 5 experiments plus an experiment of their choice. LNLS staff had prepared a detailed introduction to each beamline covering spectroscopy, diffraction and imaging, and students were then allowed to take data under the beamline personnel’s supervision.

The Sao Paulo School on Recent Developments in Synchrotron Radiation was able to attract some of the best young researchers in the world, as well as leading scientists to present lectures. Complemented with superb hands-on experiments in the afternoon, the school provided an unprecedented opportunity for students and postdoctoral researchers. The fact that Brazil is building the brightest X-ray source in the World (SIRIUS) was the perfect back drop for the summer (winter) school. The vision of the funding agency, FAPESP, in terms of making Brazil a destination country for young talent to come and work can only be realized by showing the opportunities it has in research laboratories and in its Universities. Thus, one of the important aspects of the school in terms of explaining and showing the real opportunities available in Brazil was accomplished, with students sharing 13 days in Brazil with their peers.

The friendly atmosphere, and the excellent hospitality offered to the visitors, students and teachers alike, complemented this positive picture. The school may boost the current user capacity of the existing synchrotron, LNLS, and increase the scientific interest in the dozen or so new beamlines which are being designed for SIRIUS.

The generous support from FAPESP (Fundaςão de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo), the Sao Paulo Research Foundation to fund the school, strong promotion by American Physical Society, and genuine embrace of the LNLS and CNPEM management and staff were the key to the success of this school.

Harry Westfahl is the Scientific Director of LNLS, Helio Tolentino is a Researcher, LNLS, and Esen Ercan Alp is a Senior Scientist at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory and Past-Chair of the FIP.