OPEN SESAME Fellow Shamila Imtiaz benefits from training at ALBA synchrotron
Shamila Imtiaz arrived in Barcelona on 18 October on a two-month OPEN SESAME Fellowship to develop her skills in Fourier Transform Infra-Red spectroscopy, FTIR, at the ALBA synchrotron. A junior scientist at PINSTECH, the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology in Islamabad, Shamila is also enrolled in a PhD programme at the University of the Punjab in Lahore. It’s there that she learned about OPEN SESAME, and the opportunities it offers for early-stage researchers from the SESAME region. “FTIR is an essential part of my PhD research,” she said, “and I am getting a lot of information here that will be very useful for the future.”
Shamila’s thesis concerns the synthesis and characterisation of a class of bio-nanocomposite materials known as chitosan-sepiolites, which show promise in applications ranging from filtering membranes to fuel-cell components. FTIR is one of the techniques used to study these novel materials and understand their behaviour. It is a technique available at SESAME, and Shamila looks forward to submitting a proposal to carry out here research there. “I’ve never been to SESAME,” she says, “but I’m looking forward to discovering the lab.”
The Imtiaz family is steeped in science. Shamila’s husband is a materials scientist and also a potential SESAME user. While he’s not accompanying her in Barcelona, her 9-month-old son is getting an early start in the world of light sources. “They have great day care facilities here,” she says, “which really helps. It’s always good to see his face light up when I pick him up at the end of the day though.”
Shamila Imtiaz at work on ALBA’s MIRAS beamline, which is dedicated to Fourier Transform InfraRed (FTIR) spectroscopy.
Photo credit: ALBA