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

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ISIS Call for Studentships

Monday 10 August 2015

The ISIS Call for Studentships is now open!

For scientists of all ages!
ISIS opens its doors!

Monday 13 July 2015

The Harwell Open Day on Saturday 11 July saw around 15,000 people visiting the site, 4,300 of whom visited ISIS! They were treated to a liquid nitrogen show, the chance to make slime, grow crystal gardens and build their favourite crystal structures out of sweets, as well as witnessing some electrostatics that literally made people’s hair stand on end!

IRIS & OSIRIS International Review Panel
IRIS & OSIRIS International Review

Monday 06 July 2015

Following the IRIS & OSIRIS International Beamline Review in November 2014, the final report by the panel is now available.

Aleksandra Dabkowska and Katherine Thompson
Drug and gene studies at ISIS lead to prestigious neutron scattering prize

Monday 08 June 2015

Studies on drug and gene delivery systems at STFC’s ISIS neutron source tipped to have important implications for new medicines have won a young researcher the B.T.M Willis Prize for neutron scattering.

Bill David, winner of prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry award
Bill David wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry award

Monday 11 May 2015

Congratulations to Bill David, ISIS, who is the Royal Society of Chemistry John B Goodenough Award winner for 2015, recognising exceptional and sustained contributions to the area of materials chemistry.

The tritium gas handling system
RIKEN, UK Atomic Energy Authority and ISIS team up for recycled science!

Wednesday 04 March 2015

RIKEN, Japan’s largest research organisation, the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK) are collaborating on the transfer of science equipment from RIKEN to UKAEA.

ISIS scientist Dr Francesco Grazzi setting up the ENGIN-X measurements
Secrets of India’s master sword-makers revealed

Friday 13 February 2015

The skilled craftsmanship that produced pure, strong steel for Indian swords has been revealed in new tests carried out at STFC’s ISIS pulsed neutron source in Oxfordshire. The ISIS instruments were able to study the metal without needing to damage the sword by taking samples.

ISIS Neutron training course

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. We stress this course is a practical on beamlines course aimed at complete beginners. Registration is expected to open in November.

Oxford School of Neutron Scattering
14th Oxford School on Neutron Scattering

Thursday 29 January 2015

We are pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 14th Oxford School on Neutron Scattering, which will take place in St Anne's College Oxford between the 6th and 18th September 2015. Come join us for an introduction to neutron theory and techniques!

IMAT design outline
New Swedish collaboration funds unique ISIS instrument

Wednesday 04 February 2015

A new collaboration between the Swedish Research Council, Vetenskapsrådet, and STFC's ISIS Neutron and Muon Source will fund a novel facility, IMAT, offering capabilities that are not available anywhere else in the world. IMAT will be able to provide neutron imaging and diffraction simultaneously, making it a valuable tool for engineering, energy generation and storage, agricultural and cultural heritage applications. The agreement builds on long-standing collaborations between Sweden and ISIS, with 14m Kr (~£1.1m) funding over the next 4 years.

Professor C.N.R. Rao and Professor Robert McGreevy
UK and India forge new research partnership

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The Government of India and the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have today forged a partnership that will benefit both STFC’s ISIS neutron and muon facility and India’s Nano Mission.

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Magnetism 2015

Monday 30 March 2015

Magnetism 2015 is a conference primarily for the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland magnetism communities. This follows from the similar and highly successful conference in 2014. A mixture of invited talks and submitted contributions will allow the breadth of magnetism research in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland to be presented. Participation from outside UK/RoI and from industry is also encouraged.

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Proceedings of Frontiers and Horizons in Electron Volt Neutron Spectroscopy

Tuesday 06 January 2015

The proceedings of the Frontiers and Horizons in Electron Volt Neutron Spectroscopy workshop, held back in January 2014, are now available as part of the IoP Conference Series.

Excitement in the ISIS control room as first neutrons are detected
30 years of neutrons at ISIS!

Tuesday 16 December 2014

On the evening of 16th December 1984 a small group of scientists and engineers waited nervously in the control room. Back in 1984 spallation neutron sources were not common things, so there was a certain amount of trepidation! However at 19:16 that evening first neutrons were detected in what was then the only target station at what was then known as the SNS (Spallation Neutron Source) rather than ISIS!

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TOSCA Instrument Review

Tuesday 16 December 2014

TOSCA: Present and Future

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.

TS1 Upgrade Project

The ISIS first target station – TS1 – has been operating since ISIS started up in 1984. With the experience gained from the new TS2, and the ability to use computer modelling to simulate target station performance, there is now a significant opportunity to upgrade TS1.

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

Credit: Dreamstime
Staying safe in the skies

Monday 10 August 2015

It may surprise you to learn just how much ISIS has contributed to airline safety over the last few years, so here are some examples of how science is helping to keep us safe.

ISIS features on the cover of the journal of Materials Chemistry A!
ISIS features on the cover of the journal of Materials Chemistry A!

Thursday 06 August 2015

The cover picture on the most recent issue of Journal of Materials Chemistry A features a paper presenting results from an experiment carried out at ISIS using the POLARIS instrument.

INS Spectra taken from the experiment on TOSCA
Inelastic neutron scattering shows new limits for hydrogen storage densities

Monday 27 July 2015

Researchers at the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Bath, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL), the USA and Germany have uncovered some unexpected behavior of hydrogen gas when it is contained in optimally-sized sub-nanometer pores. Using the TOSCA inelastic scattering instrument at ISIS, the team observed direct evidence for solid-like behaviour of hydrogen gas, indicating hydrogen densities almost 1,000 times the density of gaseous hydrogen at ambient temperatures and pressures.

Cancer Research UK,
ISIS and exploding bubbles in the fight against cancer

Thursday 12 February 2015

ISIS is playing an increasingly important role in cancer research. Neutron scattering is particularly helpful for examining structures and processes at the molecular and nano level because it enables researchers to see deep into tissues and materials without damaging them. Since Target Station 2 opened in 2009 cancer research has increased by roughly 54%. One particular area of focus is into the nano particles that are being added to the established chemo and radiation therapies. These nanoparticles have either ingenious therapeutic or delivery characteristics and sometimes both.

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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