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

First monitor spectrum on Larmor with the choppers set up
First neutrons to Larmor!

Thursday 20 March 2014

The Larmor instrument, the first of a second phase of instruments to be commissioned on Target Station 2 at ISIS has received first neutrons today. This is a major milestone for the instrument, which expects to be available for users from next year. Larmor will be a multi-purpose instrument for small angle neutron scattering (SANS), diffraction and spectroscopy, taking advantage of the Larmor precession of polarised neutrons. The completion of Larmor expands the capacity of ISIS to support the SANS community, which encompasses soft matter, complex fluids, food science, bio-materials and pharmacy, advanced materials engineering, environmental and earth science.

neutron spectra from a 3g crystal of copper germinate
Rep rate multiplication (RRM) makes Merlin even more competitive

Friday 07 March 2014

A new chopper system has been installed on Merlin making repetition rate multiplication (RRM) possible for the first time on this instrument. RRM involves sending several pulses of different neutron energies onto the sample in a single ISIS timeframe. In single energy mode, users request their desired energy, e.g. 50 meV, and get a single data set in return, whereas in RRM mode, up to 5 separate incident energies can be measured simultaneously, allowing a survey of data sets to be gathered in a fraction of the time.

ISIS Director Robert McGreevy signs the agreement, with Cristina Messa
STFC’s ISIS facility signs up to continued collaboration with Italy

Wednesday 05 March 2014

05/03/2014 - The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR, the Italian National Research Council) have signed an agreement today (4 March 2014) worth €15M to further develop collaboration between the two countries in the field of neutron scattering using the STFC ISIS facility, the UK’s pulsed neutron and muon source.

Workshop delegates
Frontiers and Horizons in Electron Volt Neutron Spectroscopy

Friday 21 February 2014

January 2014 saw over 40 scientists from across the globe coming together at Cosener’s House in Abingdon, UK, for a two-day meeting on the latest science and developments in instrumentation in the field of electron Volt (eV) neutron spectroscopy. The meeting was jointly organised by the ISIS Molecular Spectroscopy group, CNR, Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata and Università degli Studi di Milano in Italy.

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) (Courtesy of NPL)
NPL and ISIS collaboration to provide new insights into important materials

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Our understanding of materials and how they perform under different conditions will be enhanced thanks to a new research collaboration announced today between the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s ISIS centre, the UK’s pulsed neutron and muon source.

NMUM 2013
2014 UK Neutron and Muon Users Meeting (NMUM) - registration available now

Thursday 10 April 2014

NMUM is an opportunity for UK neutron and muon users to get together to hear about the latest neutron and muon science, ISIS and ILL facility developments, and other matters that affect you, and to discuss and provide feedback on these matters.

ISIS director Robert McGreevy shows Deputy PM Nick Clegg Offspec
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visits ISIS

Thursday 30 January 2014

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited ISIS today (Thursday 30 January) where he saw the brand new ‘ChipIr’ facility. ChipIR will replicate the cosmic radiation which interacts with the earth’s atmosphere that can cause disruption to microelectronic devices in aeroplanes, helping manufacturers build more reliable electronic systems. ChipIr will be the first of four new instruments to come online as a result of a £21 million investment by the government in 2011. It is expected to be fully operational later this year.

Target Station 2

IMAT extension build, September 2012
Phase two instruments: construction well under way

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Construction is now well underway for the four new Second Target Station instruments.

Phase Two instruments

The success of the seven neutron instruments operating at the ISIS Second Target Station has attracted a further £21 million from the UK government to add four more instruments to the suite. The instruments will add distinctive new capability for neutron scattering in Europe and open up new areas of science.

Science at ISIS

Conservator Sam van de Geer with a sword in Engin-X
ISIS prescribes Engin-X for Oxfordshire artefacts

Monday 07 April 2014

Neutron diffraction measurements can benefit the conservation of irreplaceable artefacts. A researcher from the Open University has used neutrons to study twenty-three Early Medieval iron knives and swords found at the local Early Anglo-Saxon (5th-6th Century AD) burial ground at Watchfield, Oxfordshire. The cemetery population may well include the first generation of Anglo-Saxon immigrants to settle in this area from the Continent. The objects were loaned for analysis by Oxfordshire County Council. Data gained from these experiments will benefit the conservation of the objects which, like all early iron artefacts, will deteriorate rapidly and irreversibly if not constantly monitored, treated, and stored appropriately.

Forensic scientist studies submerged bones at ISIS
Forensic scientist studies submerged bones at ISIS

Thursday 20 March 2014

In forensic investigations unearthing the post-mortem interval (PMI) or time since death is crucial for identifying the remains and reconstructing the events that occurred at or near the time of death. When a body is discovered, pathological evaluations are largely hindered by post mortem changes and often a combination of factors such as temperature, surrounding environment and activity of insects need to be studied in order to ascertain the most accurate probable PMI. However whilst various techniques for analysing the PMI of bodies found on land are well researched, the literature covering topics concerning decomposition and forensic science in aquatic and marine environments is scarce. Could neutrons detect the missing clues? Well, a group of scientists, Dr S Vanin, Professor R Cywinski, and Professor S H Kilcoyne, from the University of Huddersfield and Dr Stewart Parker, ISIS instrument scientist, have been using ISIS to find out.

Phenyl acetylene Silicon Nanoparticles
Muons make the most of waste heat

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Approximately 90% of the world’s electricity comes from heat energy generated by fossil fuels. These power stations operate at about 30 – 40% efficiency, with the remaining heat being lost to the environment. One way to improve efficiency is through the use of thermoelectric materials, which convert waste heat directly into electricity. Scientists from the University of East Anglia have been working with the muon group at ISIS to understand a new type of thermoelectric material that could take advantage of waste heat from, for example, furnaces, car exhausts or solar cells, improving overall efficiency and helping in the move towards a low carbon economy.

lung cancer cells, Wellcome Library, London
Shining the beam on anti-cancer drugs

Friday 21 February 2014

Platinum-based drugs are known for their anticancer ability. Cisplatin, the most famous and most widely prescribed drug of this kind, offers treatment for several types of cancer such as testicular, lung, bladder and ovarian cancers. It works by latching on to the cancer cell’s DNA, preventing cell division, and in doing so marks the cell for destruction. Cisplatin treatment, however, is tough to endure, owing to its significant toxicity to healthy cells in the body, and critically in many cases cancer cells develop resistance to the treatment. In the hope of generating new anti-cancer agents able to overcome this acquired resistance, a group of scientists from Portugal have been using a combination of INS and Raman scattering at ISIS to study cisplatin as well as new platinum and palladium-based complexes with antitumor properties.

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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