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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An Introduction to Neutron Techniques in Catalysis

Monday 03 November 2014

The UK Catalysis Hub in association with the ISIS Neutron and Muon Facility are pleased to announce a two day meeting on neutron scattering with an emphasis on catalytically relevant techniques. This will take place at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in Oxfordshire.

New UK facility aims to protect next generation microchips from cosmic ray chaos

UK scientists have built a new facility aimed at understanding how particles from space can interact with electronic devices, and to investigate the chaos that cosmic rays can cause – such as taking communications satellites offline, wiping a device's memory or affecting aircraft electronics. ChipIR has successfully completed its first round of development testing before going in to full operation in 2015.

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2nd Annual CCP-SAS Project Meeting

Monday 06 October 2014

CCP-SAS is a joint US/UK collaborative software development project, involving both ISIS & Diamond, to provide the infrastructure and tools for analysing small-angle scattering data on complex soft matter systems using atomistic and coarse grained modelling approaches.

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Changes for ISIS Users – things which might affect you!

Tuesday 12 August 2014

We are making changes which will affect all ISIS users. These include changes to proposal access routes. We are also relaunching experimental reports, and we are changing some of the travel, subsistence and consumables arrangements for UK users.

Practical at the 2014 ISIS Muon Spectroscopy Training School
The 2014 ISIS Muon Spectroscopy Training School

Tuesday 29 July 2014

In the week of 12 – 17 May, 22 students travelled to the ISIS facility in the UK to learn about muon spectroscopy at the ISIS Muon Spectroscopy Training School. 2014 was an exceptional year with the school receiving twice as many applications as in previous editions. Ines Crespo from NMI3, which provided support for the course, meets the participants.

Neutron Characterisation in Fundamental and Applied Biochemistry

Wednesday 03 September 2014

Neutron based measurements are well established in colloidal science and studies of synthetic polymers and complex fluids. More recent interests have included fundamental biophysical studies in protein structure and assembly, but many researchers in biochemistry, applied biophysics, and the biotechnology industry remain relatively unfamiliar with the range of neutron-based techniques and their ability to answer questions about macromolecule structure, morphology, and dynamics in bulk solution and at interfaces. This inaugural meeting is intended to provide a venue for students and established researchers to learn about the application of neutron science to fundamental biophysical studies proteins and other biological macromolecules, with a long-term view of enhancing the use of these techniques in biotechnology applications.

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ISIS user receives the 2014 Yamazaki Prize

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Professor Roberto De Renzi from the University of Parma has been awarded the 2014 Yamazaki Prize for muon science. He is recognised for his sustained and exceptional contributions to the development of the muon spin relaxation (μSR) technique to investigate solid-state physics.

Eynsham Hall
8th International Workshop on Sample Environment @ Neutron Scattering Facilities

Sunday 12 October 2014

Sample environment support is a vital element in the success of neutron scattering experiments. The 8th International Workshop on Sample Environment at Neutron Scattering Facilities will bring together scientists, engineers and technicians, as well as leading suppliers, to exchange experience, form collaborations and discuss new ideas.

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

Boeing 767
Optimising machining strategies for Boeing

Friday 08 August 2014

Understanding the development and distribution of residual stresses caused by machining is key to improving machining processes. The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), with Boeing, at the University of Sheffield have been using Engin-X at ISIS to study the evolution of residual stresses in AA7050 – an aluminium alloy commonly used in aerospace structures - as it is heated and then machined. This understanding will enable them to reduce non-conformance in the manufacturing process, and significantly reduce costs.

Breaking the Barriers to a solar Future
Breaking the Barriers to a solar Future

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Researchers at the University of Sheffield, University of Durham and ISIS in collaboration with Start-up Company Ossila are using neutron reflectometry to look the formation of plastic solar cell films with the goal of developing devices which efficiently harness the power of the sun whilst being cheaper and easier to manufacture than the current silicon solar cells.

Lloyd’s Register provides quality assurance to the marine industry
Building safer ships with Lloyd’s Register

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Ultrasonic peening (UP) is a technique for improving the fatigue performance of welded joints. Little research has been done on how UP-treated welds behave when they are subjected to real world conditions such as compressive overload or variable amplitude loading. Lloyd’s Register provides quality assurance to the marine industry, and they have been using ENGIN-X to investigate UP welded joints in these conditions. Understanding the process and its benefits will allow improved control of fatigue cracking, lower maintenance costs, and extending the life of welded connections in marine and other industries.

European Pressurised Reactor (EPR)
Testing new welding techniques for the nuclear industry with AREVA

Monday 21 July 2014

Introduction of new designs, novel fabrication methods or modifications to existing plant in the nuclear power generation industry are subject to intense scrutiny to ensure that safety is not compromised. Multi-national corporation AREVA has designed the new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) to meet stringent demands for increased safety and reduced cost of electricity generation. A twin EPR power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset is planned and will be constructed using modern welding technology.

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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