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

MDANSE flyer
MDANSE 2016

Thursday 10 November 2016

The ISIS Molecular Spectroscopy Group and ILL Computing for Science Group will hold the next MDANSE (Molecular Dynamics and Lattice Dynamics to Analyse Neutron Scattering Experiments) workshop at the Cosener’s House, Abingdon, UK from the 10th to 12th of November 2016.

The RAL team and their robot Sweeney Todd
ISIS Graduate joins RAL Robot Wars team in battle

Monday 15 August 2016

ISIS Graduate, Jon Elmer, joined his fellow RAL Graduates to star in BBC2’s Robot Wars last night, in one of 40 teams battling it out to become the show’s 2016 champion. The RAL graduate team, completed by Laurence de Bruxelles (RAL Space), Sean Cleary (Team Captain; Technology) and Dominique Anderson (Robot Pilot; Central Laser Facility), spent four weeks staying late after work to design and build their Robot, Sweeny Todd.

The ISIS synchrotron. Credit: STFC
ISIS features in three-part series on accelerators

Wednesday 10 August 2016

The Royal Institution has produced three short films about accelerator science as part of ‘Accelerators for humanity’, a project supported by an STFC Public Engagement Large Award. The first film, released today, explores what is needed to keep the ISIS particle accelerator running and the people that make it happen.

Giorgia Albani (Universita Milano Bicocca)
ISIS Facility Development Studentships – call now open

Wednesday 10 August 2016

ISIS has available a limited number of 50%-funded studentships available to UK users to run from October 2017. A full description of this studentship scheme plus instructions on how to apply is available and the deadline for requests is 16 October 2016.

Dr Kathi Edkins receiving the 2016 B.T.M Willis Prize
Exploration into water and drugs scoops prestigious neutron scattering prize

Thursday 28 July 2016

Research into the interactions between water and pharmaceuticals has resulted in a young researcher winning the B.T.M. Willis Prize for neutron scattering. The ongoing research, which takes place at the Institut Laue-Langevin, the Bragg Institute and ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, will impact on the pharmaceutical industry by improving the efficiency of the process of new drug compounds reaching the market.

The Indian Minister and ISIS Director
ISIS and India embark on new partnership

Wednesday 13 July 2016

The Indian Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences visited the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source during a trip to the UK to mark the start of new partnerships between the UK and India research communities.

The Rubens’ tube
ISIS Staff Make Waves at the Sci-Tech Daresbury Open Day

Wednesday 13 July 2016

A team from ISIS travelled up to the Daresbury Laboratory in North West England last weekend to showcase the facility at the Sci-Tech Daresbury public open day.

ISIS Deputy Director, Zoe Bowd
Up, Up and Away! Tackling the inflationary cost of Helium

Thursday 30 June 2016

At 4pm today, Zoe Bowden, ISIS Deputy Director, opened R108, the new helium recovery building at ISIS. This is the first stage in a cost reduction programme that will see liquid helium from the many cryogenic experiments at ISIS recycled for use elsewhere in the facility as helium gas, which could save the organisation up to £500k per annum.

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

Reproduced from Phys. Chem. Chem. Physwith permission from PCCP
Neutron Scattering in Catalysis and Energy Materials

Monday 15 August 2016

As we move away from our dependency on fossil fuels and work towards cleaner energy resources and chemical conversion it is key to further our understanding of catalysis. Whether it’s assisting reactions in energy transformations, providing chemicals with increased efficiency or getting rid of, or preventing, waste, catalysis will help in the move towards a greener future. Progress in catalytic science and its applications requires an understanding of what is taking place with the catalyst at the molecular level, which is where techniques such as neutron scattering are invaluable.

A phase arrangement of the iron magnetic moment in calcium ferrate
Solitary magnons in calcium ferrate

Monday 08 August 2016

Materials that display localised electronic or magnetic behaviour are of wide interest in physics. One reason is that they can provide insights into unusual quantum phenomena, as seen in single molecular magnets for example. An international group of scientists have been using neutrons to study calcium ferrate to understand how different magnetic arrangements are distributed throughout the material. Surprisingly they found that the phases existed in tiny regions only a few nanometres across, containing localised waves of magnetic excitations. This discovery could lead to the use of magnetic materials in a similar fashion to photonic crystals.

Using neutrons in the development of treatments for infectious disease
Scientists gather to discuss the future of tackling infectious diseases

Thursday 04 August 2016

World-leading neutron scientists gathered last week to discuss the latest findings in the development of drugs to tackle infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance. The annual UK Neutron and Muon Science and User Meeting (NMSUM) was hosted in Warwick, UK, and brought together researchers using the neutron instruments at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, UK, and the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in France.

How pesticides protect crops
Neutrons could reveal how pesticides protect crops

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Scientists have created a model of a leaf’s waxy surface, similar to those found in wheat crops, in a project supported by the agrochemical company, Syngenta. They are now using the model at ISIS to study how surfactants, a key component in pesticide formulations, interact with the leaf surface to get into the plant and take effect. The results could lead to the fine-tuning of pesticide formulations to further increase crop yields in an attempt to meet the demand of feeding an ever growing global population.

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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