ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments gives unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale.
We support a national and international community of more than 3000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology and materials engineering, catalysis and polymers, and on to fundamental studies of materials.
Long-term ISIS user, Dr Richard Martin from Aston University has been awarded the Gottardi Prize for his work on glasses. The prestigious prize, awarded by the International Commission on Glass, recognises young people with outstanding achievements in the field of glass in research and development, teaching, writing, management or commerce.
Experiment report forms are an important way we account for beamtime usage at ISIS. They are used by Facility Access Panels to assess follow-up proposals, they help us understand likely outcomes from experiments, and they provide feedback on things we could improve - from experiment equipment to the coffee in Café Zoom!
International scientists came together for a mini-symposium to celebrate Biophysics Week at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on Friday 11th March. At the meeting, leading experts who apply the laws of physics to biological phenomena, in a field known as Biophysics, presented the latest developments in their research, from ‘pizza’ proteins to bacterial models.
The IOP Neutron Scattering Group and the Faraday Division of the Royal Society of Chemistry have established a prize for outstanding neutron scattering science. The prize is named in honour of the founding chairman of the Neutron Scattering Group, Professor B T M Willis. It is intended that the prize will be awarded annually, usually in conjunction with the annual Neutron and Muon Beam Users Meeting, NMUM. The winner would normally be expected to give a short presentation at NMUM.
2015 will see both the capacity and capability of ISIS increase with two new instruments coming online. Target station 2 started operation in 2008 with 7 neutron instruments, and now two new instruments, ChipIR and Larmor have received first neutrons and are beginning their commissioning phases. A further two instruments, IMAT and ZOOM, are under construction.
The ISIS First Target Station (TS1) has now been operating for over 30 years. During this period, there has been no significant work carried out to maintain or develop the internals of TS1. The ISIS First Target Station project aims to refurbish much of TS1 to ensure its continued operation for many years into the future.
The ISIS muon facility has been operating since 1987, and some of the muon beamline magnets were second-hand then – they are now over 50 years old in some cases. During the long shutdown in 2014/5, the quadrupoles near the muon target will be replaced.
The ISIS linear accelerator (linac) consists of 4 radiofrequency (RF) accelerating tanks, accelerating hydrogen ions generated in the ion source to 37% of the speed of light before feeding them into the synchrotron for final acceleration. Tanks 1 and 4 were built at RAL in 1976, for ISIS’ predecessor, Nimrod. They are now showing their age, so a project is underway to replace tank 4 by 2018.
EPB1 is made up of 68 magnets all of which are roughly 50 years old. Many of the electrical windings of these magnets are deteriorating (especially in high radiation-dose areas near the downstream end of EPB1). Replacement of magnets upstream of the muon target and between the muon target and the neutron target will take place during the 2014/15 shutdown.
Scientists have designed a novel catalyst that overcomes the challenge of breaking down complex plant components to produce some of the highest yields of biofuel. In the study, scientists used ISIS to see how a model of the plant material was broken down at the surface of the catalyst. These results bring us one step closer to lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, and are an important development in our shift towards renewable energy.
Methane storage in the form of gas hydrates, the so-called solid methane storage, has gained an increased interest in the last few years for safe and easy transportation of methane in short and long-distance applications. This approach is inspired in natural methane hydrates that grow in the deep sea and in permafrost under demanding pressure and temperature conditions. Research using TOSCA at the ISIS neutron source has paved the way towards using metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as a potential platform to promote the nucleation and growth of methane hydrates.
Scientists from the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source have solved the mechanism behind the long-term freeze storage technique ‘cryopreservation’ that is used to preserve the embryos of species that are in danger of extinction. The study, published in Royal Society Open Science, opens the door to protecting endangered species that have never before been able to be preserved.
How fluids behave when contained within porous materials is of interest in a range of diverse applications. However, it is not that well understood. Condensation in pores has been studied fairly extensively, but when the temperature is lowered below freezing point strange things start to happen. Studies on the NIMROD instrument at the ISIS neutron and muon source have shown that in the case of CO2 in a mesoporous material as the temperature cools, instead of freezing or remaining liquid, it escapes from the pores altogether. The process is also reversible. The work has been published in Physical Review Letters.