A year around the Facility

A year around the facility

ISIS Science Away Day 2007

Held at The Cosener’s House in February, the away day provided an opportunity for RAL staff to present their research using neutrons, x-rays and muons in areas as disparate as solvation structure in aqueous solutions, chip irradiation, chemical applications of x-ray spectroscopy and high-field muon spectroscopy. The meeting also included a lively poster session at the end of the day to encourage cross-collaboration amongst different departments at RAL. Attendees particularly valued the opportunity for ISIS and DIAMOND staff to get together and build collaborations.

ISIS Muons celebrate 20 years!

The ISIS muon source produced its first muons on 23 March 1987. The source was built by a collaboration between the UK, the European Economic Community, Germany, France, Italy and Sweden, and initially consisted of a single muon spectrometer. Further upgrade funds from the European Union in the early 1990s enabled expansion of the facility to three beamlines. To date, at least 800 different muon experiments have been performed. With the provision of a new high-field muon instrument shortly, we look forward to many more years of muon experiments at ISIS.

Third Empirical Potential Structure
Refinement Workshop

In November, the third workshop on Empirical Potential Structure Refinement (EPSR) of liquids and disordered solids was held at RAL. The meeting was organised by Daniel Bowron and Alan Soper and celebrated ten years since the original development of EPSR. On the first day, the 25 participants enjoyed a diverse programme of presentations reporting recent scientific highlights and developments of the method. This was followed by trialling of the latest version of the analysis code by the workshop participants under tutorial supervision.

2006 Disordered Materials User

Group Meeting

The 2006 ISIS Disordered Materials User Group meeting was held on the 31st October and 1st November at RAL and was attended by 29 participants. The meeting was split into two half-day sessions separated by a lively user group dinner. The first session consisted primarily of activity reports from the facility, whilst the second provided a valuable opportunity for both the younger and more established members of the community to give short presentations on their recent scientific projects.

Current Challenges in Liquid and Glass Science

This workshop, sponsored by the IOP Liquids and Complex Fluids Group, ISIS Disordered Materials Group, Centre for Materials Science and the Centre for Molecular Structure and Dynamics, focused on present challenges facing the Disordered Materials community. It was also an excellent opportunity to celebrate the considerable contribution that Spencer Howells has made to ISIS science. International speakers from a broad range of disciplines, including computer simulation, experimental studies of  materials under extreme conditions and data interpretation, were present, and two poster sessions accommodated contributions that due to time limitations could not be allocated an oral presentation.

Vibrational Spectroscopy at Central Facilities

A joint meeting of the Royal Society of Chemistry Molecular Spectroscopy Group and the Infrared and Raman Discussion Group was held at RAL in August with 37 attendees, half of which were from industry. The talks showed the range of activities in vibrational spectroscopy at CCLRC, including gas phase infrared atmospheric studies, surface science using synchrotron radiation, time resolved Raman studies, neutron scattering and theoretical work. There was a look-forward at how vibrational spectroscopy will develop as Diamond and 4GLS come online. The contributed talks are available as a RAL report (RAL-TR-2006-028).

Theoretical and Experimental Magnetism Meeting

The Theoretical and Experimental Magnetism Meeting was held at The Cosener’s House in Abingdon in August, organised by the Centre for Materials Physics and Chemistry of CCLRC and by the Magnetism Group of the
Institute of Physics, and attracted 87 participants from seven different countries. The meeting presented an excellent opportunity to interact with leading experts from all over the world on topics of current interest in magnetism, and there were 27 oral and 12 poster presentations.

Neutron Training Course

The Neutron Training Course was held again in December 2006 and was, as usual, heavily oversubscribed and very successful. The students benefited from a combination of lectures on key aspects of the neutron technique and practical work on ISIS instruments. We plan to hold the next Training Course in February 2008, with more information available on the ISIS website when the details have been confirmed (www.isis.rl.ac.uk/trainingcourse)

Workshop in Computational Methods for the Exploitation of Vibrational Spectra

This course showed how computational methods can be used for the exploitation of vibrational spectra. ISIS staff Barbara Montanari, Stewart Parker, Timmy Ramirez-Cuesta, Keith Refson and John Tomkinson helped the 29 participants learn more about state-of-the art software (Gaussian03, DMOL3, CASTEP). For each method the areas of application, its limitations and how to recognise and overcome them were shown. Participants came from a wide range of backgrounds and experience, and over half were from outside the neutron community. This was the second such Workshop we have run and there is still clearly a considerable demand for such training so we propose to run it again in autumn 2008.

Workshop on the Future Development of European Muon Sources

A workshop on the Future Developments of European Muon Sources took place at Cosener's House, Abingdon in November. The Workshop was funded as a foresight study through the EC Neutron and Muon Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (NMI3) and attracted 36 participants from 9 countries. It brought together European users of the μSR technique to discuss future possibilities for the development of muon sources within Europe. The workshop enabled consideration of current European sources (ISIS, UK and PSI, Switzerland) and their future development plans; developments in the muon technique and their implications for future sources; the extent to which new neutron sources in Europe might be used for muon production; and the further development of a science case to support new muon source initiatives. A report is available from www.isis.rl.ac.uk/muons.

ISIS People

Each year sees the comings and goings of ISIS staff. Peter Bradley retired from his job at ISIS TS-2 and is now a retained consultant. Other people to retire are Richard Lloyd, Dennis Hylton and Darren Todd, and Tim Broome retired as head of the Target Division. Katie Hopgood moved from ISIS to take up the position of PA in HR/Admin and Finance. Paula Woods left the ISIS User Office after many years and is now working in the Administration Services Group. 

Mike Johnson also retired as Head of the Technology Department at RAL this year. Mike has had a thirty-year association with neutrons, joining the Neutron Beam Research Unit at RAL in 1975, progressing through to ISIS Instrumentation Division Head and then continuing to support neutron instrumentation development in the Technology Department. A symposium to mark his retirement, ‘From Neutrons to Nanotechnology’ was held in March.

Instrument Scientists to join ISIS include Chris Stock on Let and Silvia Imberti on Sandals and Nimrod. The Accelerator Division has welcomed John Govans, Adrian Hooper, Mark Dyer, Weihe Li, Stephen Clark, TerenceJeffcock, Andrew McMenemy and Simon Aldworth. The Target Division were joined by Rajesh Gupta, Detlev Riedel, Richard Bennett, Yanling Ma, Tomilayo Odupitan Gareth Powell, Philip Wise, Daniel Brioti, Richard Rawcliffe, Ian Davies, Brian Ford and Neil Parsley. Diffraction were joined by Gareth Howells and Tom Griffin. Adam Warne and Steve Roberts joined the User Support Group. Congratulations to Jeff Penfold who has been awarded the 2007 Hälg Prize of the European Neutron Scattering Association in recognition of his ground breaking work in neutron reflectivity. Bill David has received the 2006 Award of the European Society for Applied Physical Chemistry for structural studies of molecular materials using powder diffraction techniques. Richard Nelmes has been awarded the Institute of Physics’ Duddell Medal for his work in high pressure structural science. Felix Fernandez-Alonso and Steve Bennington were appointed Visiting Professors at University College London, and Sean Langridge was promoted to Individual Merit Band 2.

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