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Howard Flack Lecture Series: Lukáš Palatinus filled the elite Swiss auditoriums

The Swiss Crystallographic Association invited Dr. Lukáš Palatinus on this year's prestigious Howard Flack Lecture Series tour, named in honor of Howard Flack, an eminent British crystallographer who spent much of his scientific career in Switzerland. Dr. Palatinus, the world expert in crystallography gave a series of lectures on electron crystallography at the ETHZ in Zurich, the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, the University of Basel, the University of Bern, the EPFL in Lausanne and the University of Geneva. The lecture tour took place on 7-11 November 2022.

In his presentations, Lukáš Palatinus focused on the theory and practice of 3D electron diffraction (3D ED), which is currently one of the fastest-developing crystallographic techniques enabling the analysis of the structure of individual submicrometric crystals. The audience got acquainted with the possibilities that 3D ED offers today in all areas of structural crystallography.

The method is suitable for materials scientists and chemists who need crystallographic characterization of microcrystalline materials. The technique, whose general applicability and accuracy were debated a few years ago, still offers an opportunity for further development.

The observation of hydrogens and other structural details is now considered routine, and advanced applications such as charge density analysis from 3D ED data are emerging. Palatinus also presented applications to materials from intermetallic alloys including precipitates to multiphase mineralogical samples to hydrated materials, MOFs and complex organic materials.

An important part of the lectures was also the presentation of the possibilities of determining the absolute structure using electron crystallography and the discussion of the existing limitations of this method and the possibilities of overcoming them.

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