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

ISIS Target Station 1
Update on the ISIS First Target Station Project

Wednesday 10 February 2016

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.

Work experience students
ISIS summer student scheme now open

Friday 29 January 2016

The ISIS summer student placement scheme allows undergraduate students studying for a degree in Science, Engineering, Computing or Media/Communications to gain experience working in the scientific environment at ISIS, a large scale international research facility.

Public Engagement Fellowships
STFC Fellowships in Public Engagement for STFC Facility Users

Friday 15 January 2016

STFC’s Public Engagement Fellowships scheme is open to users of STFC research facilities who would highlight the use of STFC research facilities, including ISIS.

Uschi Steigenberger
OBE for Uschi Steigenberger

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Congratulations to Uschi Steigenberger, former Director of Operations at ISIS, who received an OBE for ‘Services to Science’ in the Queen’s Honorary Awards.

IOP Magnetism 2016
IOP Magnetism 2016 conference abstract submission is Now Open

Thursday 07 January 2016

The IOP Magnetism 2016 conference is being held on 4th & 5th April 2016 in Sheffield, UK following the highly successful conferences in 2014 and 2015.

ISIS Neutron Training Course
ISIS Neutron Training Course registration now open!

Thursday 07 January 2016

The ISIS Practical Neutron Training Course is aimed at PhD and post-doctoral researchers who have little or no experience of neutron scattering, but whose future research program aims to make use of neutron scattering techniques at ISIS. We stress that this is a hand-on course using the ISIS neutron instruments aimed at complete beginners.

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

Conceptualisation of Anthrax bacteria
Anthrax toxin: a new tool in the fight against cancer?

Monday 01 February 2016

For the first time, scientists have disarmed the anthrax toxin and converted it into a positive tool for delivering drugs for a specific form of gene therapy, an experimental technique that treats disease by replacing or inactivating faulty genes. During the development of this technology, scientists used the LOQ instrument at ISIS to characterise the system they’d built and see that the drug delivery molecules they had designed were behaving as predicted.

Gold Roman coin
Probing the past with negative muons

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Using negative muons as a tool for elemental analysis is now possible at ISIS. Muon scientists, together with the Universities of Oxford and Warwick, are currently developing the technique on the RIKEN Port 4 to non-destructively probe the composition of archaeological objects – including gold and silver coins from the Roman period and the Mary Rose – paving the way for future studies on other archaeological artefacts, engineering samples, bio-systems, and battery materials.

Dr Francesco Grazzi (CNR, Italy)
Detecting hidden patterns on ancient swords

Monday 30 November 2015

Hidden ‘Damascus’ patterns in the steel used to make ancient Indo-Persian swords and daggers are being uncovered by collaborators from London’s Wallace Collection and CNR, Italy, during neutron diffraction experiments at ISIS. This work gives insight into the quality of the blades as well as helping curators identify ‘Damascus steel’.

Unburned (top) and burned humerus bones
Developing new forensic techniques with the help of neutrons

Friday 13 November 2015

New forensic techniques to help with the positive identification of unknown victims based on their burned skeletal remains are being developed by bone experts working beside neutron scientists.

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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