IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency

04/07/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/07/2021 13:25

IAEA Conducts First Virtual Training on Using Ion Beam Techniques and Applications

The IAEA and Croatia's Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI) conducted the first live virtual training workshop on advances in ion beam techniques and their applications to minimize the impact of learning loss in nuclear science caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The five-day course focused on ion beam analysis (IBA) - a group of widely used non-destructive material analysis techniques - and attracted post-graduate students and young professionals from 16 countries.

The lack of training opportunities during the pandemic is affecting the professional development of the next generation of nuclear scientists. This is particularly true for skills requiring hands-on training to excel, such as accelerator applications, which is difficult to acquire remotely.

'We designed a virtual training that replicates as much as possible an actual in-person hands-on training in IBA, which makes this course so unique,' said Milko Jaksic, Head of the RBI Accelerator Laboratory.

The course included lectures and demonstration videos of typical ion beam experiments relevant to environmental studies, biology, cultural heritage, forensics science, and materials research. The data collected during these experiments was sent to participants for practice in data analysis and interpretation. The training course also included a virtual tour of the RBI accelerator facilities. All demonstration videos from the training course are available here.

'By conducting this live training course, we gave participants practical information on how to prepare and conduct an experiment and how to analyse real experimental data,' added Sotirios Charisopoulos, Nuclear Physicist at the IAEA.

The online training was attended by 17 female and 19 male young professionals, which is almost four times the number of participants the IAEA can accommodate during in-person trainings on IBA. This is the second of a series of IAEA trainings on nuclear techniques conducted in cooperation with RBI.

'The IBA virtual training course has given us real access to the beamline,' said Alassane Traoré, participant in the training from the Institute for Applied Nuclear Technology in Dakar. 'This is a step forward towards giving access to more students to, what we call in Senegal, 'inaccessible techniques'.'

The IAEA organizes annual training workshop series at the RBI's accelerator facilities for young scientists from all over the world, especially from developing countries. The next workshop will be held virtually in November 2021 and will feature accelerator technology and associated instrumentation, including operation and maintenance aspects of ion beam accelerator facilities.