Annual Report 2020

2020 Annual Report of the IUCr Commission on Magnetic Structures

Preparations for the IUCr Congress in Prague

The scientific program of the 2021 IUCr Congress in Prague will include 15 sessions with magnetic-structure themes or components, among which 9 microsymposia and 3 keynote lectures were sponsored or co-sponsored by the commission.  In preparation for the congress, the commission was very active during the first months of 2020 in advertising for these sessions.  We reached out to the international magnetic-structure community through website adverts, major mailing-list subscriptions, the IUCr World Directory of Crystallographers, attendees of past commission-organized workshops and schools, instrument scientists at magnetic-scattering beamlines, and personal contacts in developing nations.

Due to the worldwide public health situation in 2020, the congress was postponed until 2021, so that it was necessary to duplicate the advertising effort the following year.  We are grateful that the vast majority of session chairs and invited speakers were able to translate their involvement forward by one year.  Oksana Zaharko, our representative to the International Planning Committee (IPC), deftly managed all of the required changes.

Standard development

The magCIF working group actively discussed a variety of revisions to the standard magCIF dictionary established by the commission in 2016: (1) Improvement of the descriptions of tags related to magnetic moments and incommensurate magnetic modulations. (2) Addition of a tag for the magnitude of a magnetic moment. (3) Creation of a new category for rotational moments (applicable to the pivot points of rigid units) that is highly analogous to that for magnetic moments. 

In 2018, Branton Campbell and Harold Stokes presented a proposal for an international-standard magnetic space-group symbol, and in 2020, Juan Rodriguez-Carvajal presented a related proposal for Hall symbols for magnetic space groups.  Both proposals were discussed and debated by the commission, and improved by the feedback received.  The magnetic Hall symbol concept appeared in J. Appl. Cryst. (2021). 54, 338-342.

Educational/reference materials

Structure and magnetic neutron diffraction (2020) by Alexander N. Pirogov and Mikhail A. Semkin, Ural University Publishing House, Ekaterinburg, 169 pages, provides a new Russian-language source of tutorial materials for students who are new to magnetic neutron diffraction.

Scientific meetings

Most in-person research meetings were cancelled during the year 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Virtual meetings supported by the commission include the following:

  • Virtual Workshop on Magnetic Structures Determination, 28-Sep to 02-Oct 2020, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA. (Co-Organizer: O. Garlea; Lecturers: O. Garlea, B. Campbell, J. Rodriguez-Carvajal, J. Manuel Perez-Mato, Margarida Henriques).
  • Workshop ‘La diffusion des neutrons pour sonder la structure de la matière et au-delà’, 12-16 Sep 2020, Sete, France (lecturer: Margarida Henriques)

Branton J. Campbell (Commission Chair)

J. Manuel Perez-Mato (Commission Secretary)

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