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.

News and Events

Dr Chris Frost inside the ChipIR instrument
Instrument Scientist and ISIS users present at prestigious AAAS conference

Friday 17 February 2017

Friday 17th February saw ChipIR instrument scientist Chris Frost take to the stage in Boston to present at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Uschi receiving her OBE. Credit: Andrew Chappell
Uschi Steigenberger receives OBE

Thursday 16 February 2017

Uschi Steigenberger, who had a long and distinguished career at ISIS, has been honoured with an OBE for Services to Science. She was formally presented with the award in a ceremony at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on Wednesday 8th February.

15th Oxford School of Neutron Scattering
15th Oxford School of Neutron Scattering

Wednesday 01 February 2017

We are pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 15th Oxford School of Neutron Scattering, which will take place in St Anne's College Oxford between the 3rd and 15th September 2017. Come join us for an introduction to neutron theory and techniques!

The Indian Minister and ISIS Director
First call for proposals to access ISIS neutrons and muons for Indian research

Thursday 26 January 2017

As part of the recently announced agreement between STFC and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, the ISIS neutron and muon source is pleased to announce the inaugural call for proposals for Indian researchers to access the portfolio of instruments.

IOP Magnetism 2017 Meeting
The Institute of Physics Magnetism 2017 Meeting

Monday 16 January 2017

Magnetism 2017 is the premier conference organised by the UK and Rol magnetism community. It welcomes and encourages participation from Europe and further afield, and from industry. It follows the highly successful conferences in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

ICANS 2017 will be held in Oxford.
ICANS XXII - Registration now open!

Thursday 15 December 2016

The 22nd meeting of the International Collaboration on Advanced Neutron Sources (ICANS XXII) will be held on the 27th - 31st March 2017 in Oxford.

Major Instrument and Accelerator Projects

Target Station 2 Phase 2

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.

ISIS First Target Station Project

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.

TOSCA and MAPS guide projects

Design on the new guides for Maps and Tosca has started with the aim of having the upgraded instruments running sometime in 2016.

Replacement of muon beamline magnets

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.

Linac Tank 4 Replacement

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.

Refurbishing part of the first target station proton beamline (EPB1)

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.

Science at ISIS

Catalytic converters
New insights into nanoceria synthesis using Sandals

Friday 10 February 2017

Scientists from the Universities of Bath and Cambridge have developed a new, green synthetic route for cerium oxide (ceria) – an important component in catalytic converters and solid oxide fuel cells – using neutron diffraction to determine the mechanism of reaction.

Circuit board
Effects of cosmic ray irradiation on organic electronics for aviation

Monday 30 January 2017

Minimising payload is vital in aviation and space applications, and one option is to replace conventional inorganic electronics with organic-based devices. Organic semiconductors, in particular, are carbon-based materials that combine the excellent mechanical characteristics of organic materials, being robust, flexible and lightweight, with the optoelectronic properties of semiconducting systems. However, any electronics used in space or high in the atmosphere are subject to bombardment by cosmic rays, which can generate neutrons that cause damage through neutron-nucleus collisions.

Intracellular water – an overlooked cancer drug target?
Intracellular water – an overlooked cancer drug target?

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Scientists have identified a potential new target for the development of anticancer drugs against metastatic breast cancer. In a novel series of experiments, whole human cells were analysed with neutrons for the first time and the results revealed that the water within cells responded to the widely used chemotherapy drug, cisplatin. This study highlights the potential of intracellular water as an additional target for the development of new anticancer drugs, which could lead to higher efficiency, fewer cases of acquired resistance and less deleterious secondary drug effects in the treatment of breast cancer.

Laser system installed on HiFI
Photo µSR gives insights into key industrial processes and fundamental science

Monday 12 December 2016

Photochemistry is a chemical reaction caused by the absorption of light (photons). It underpins a large range of important biological and industrial processes, from photosynthesis in plants through a host of chemical engineering applications – for example, the manufacture of the antimalarial drug artemisinin. Excitations in molecules also play a key role in devices – for example organic LEDs and organic photovoltaic cells. However, the fundamental science that underpins many of the photophysical and photochemical processes is not understood on the atomic scale.

Making an impact

Impact of Neutron Scattering brochure
Neutron Scattering: Materials research for modern life

Thursday 22 November 2012

Read about the social and economic impact of neutron scattering in a new brochure highlighting key examples of the use of the technique.

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