A year around ISIS

ISIS Muon Training Course

Sean Giblin and Iain McKenzie (ISIS) with students on the ISIS muon training course loading a cryostat.
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A year around ISIS

ISIS Muon Training Course

In order to help researchers learn about how muons can be used to study materials, ISIS ran a week-long training course in April. Eighteen researchers, mainly post-graduate and post-doctoral workers, came from twelve different countries. They were able to hear a variety of lectures and workshops on the muon technique given by experienced researchers. But perhaps the most valuable part of the course was the chance to perform muon experiments – the best way for the participants to learn how they can best use muons in their own research in the future. Post-course questionnaires filled in by the students suggest that the training course was a success – and one that will be of much benefit when they come back to ISIS for muon experiments in the future.

Recent advances in the understanding of confined fluid: from superfluids to oil reservoirs

Participants at the Confined Fluids Workshop

Participants at the Confined Fluids Workshop in January.


This meeting was held in January with speakers and participants coming from across Europe and North America. It was supported by the STFC Centre for Molecular Structure and Dynamics, the Institute of Physics, Schlumberger, SoftComp and EPSRC. Presentations covered a broad range of topics from latest studies of fundamental interactions of liquid helium in confined geometry to the study of viscoelastic surfactants in porous media. There were talks about Casimir forces that affect lubricants in microscopic machinery, and remarkable STM images of ice developing on hydrophobic surfaces.

Disordered Materials User Group Meeting

The 2007 ISIS Disordered Materials User Group meeting was held on the 8th and 9th November 2007, at the Cosener’s House, Abingdon. 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 and from the ISIS instruments, whilst the second session provided a valuable opportunity for both the younger and more established members of the community to give short presentations on the scientific projects they had undertaken in the previous year.

ISIS User Meeting: Phase 2 instruments at the Second Target Station

ISIS User Meeting

The ISIS - Institute of Physics Theoretical and Experimental Magnetism Meeting was held at the Cosener's House in July.


The user community is regularly involved in new instrument developments at ISIS, for example through user group meetings. This meeting was dedicated to enabling community discussion of proposals for second-phase TS-2 instruments. Eight proposed new instruments were presented, each by a ‘champion’ from the user community. There was also the opportunity to visit the TS-2 hall to see construction progress.

Instrument funding for ISIS TS-1 and TS-2

The UK government (Department of Universities, Innovation and Skills) announced in July that a further £2.5M has been earmarked for investment in instrument development at ISIS through the Large Facilities Capital Fund. This investment will cover the period 2012-2016 and is in addition to the £21M already earmarked for Second Target Station Phase 2 for the period 2009-2013. The sustained investment programme will allow ISIS to keep its instrument suite ate the forefront for the next decade, enabling cutting edge research by its many hundreds of UK and international users. The Second Target Station Phase 2 project is planned to go through the government Gateway process this autumn to enable the release of the £21M funding to that instrument design and construction can start in 2009.

STFC programmatic review

STFC has undergone a very significant review of all of its programmes over the past year. This programmatic review will be undertaken periodically by the research council, but has had particular importance this year in the light of the Council’s finance issues. We are very grateful to all members of the ISIS user community who submitted comments to the review process, and particularly to the Institute of Physics Neutron Scattering Group committee, chaired by Prof Don Paul at Warwick University, for assimilating all the comments and reporting back to the STFC.

European Framework Programme Funding

ISIS is a member of the large European network of neutron and muon facilities, universities and research centres called the Neutron and Muon Integrated Infrastructure Initiative (NMI3). The NMI3 is funded by the European Commission, and receives money to enable European researchers to gain access to neutron facilities, to develop the neutron and muon techniques, and to provide networking, training and foresight opportunities. The present NMI3 project, in EC Framework Programme 6, ends this year, but ISIS will continue to be a part of the new project likely to be funded under the Framework Programme 7. This will continue to provide EC researchers with access to ISIS neutrons and muons (albeit at a much reduced level compared with the previous project), together with enabling ISIS to participate in a variety of neutron and muon technology development networks.


A variety of ISIS staff have received awards and honours this year. Sean Langridge, Leader of the Large Scale Structures Group, received a visiting professor position from the University of Leeds, and Toby Perring, of the Excitations Group, is now Honorary Professor and University College London. Laurent Chapmon of the Crystallography Group was awarded the Physical Crystallography Prize of 2008 of the British Crystallographic Association for ‘outstanding contributions to the development of magnetic neutron diffraction methodology and instrumentation, and for its applications, particularly in the field of functional magnetic oxides’. John Thomason, ISIS Synchrotron Group Leader, was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. Alan Soper, Disordered Materials Group Leader, chaired the Gordon Conference on Water and Aqueous Solutions, a role that recognises his position at the forefront of his field. Debbie Greenfield, Head of the ISIS Instrument Division, is one of forty women world-wide being profiled as a role model to encourage more women to enter the science and technology field. And congratulations to Paolo Radaelli, Crystallography Group Leader, who has been appointed as Dr Lee’s Professor of Experimental Philosophy at Oxford University. Congratulations also to Julian Eastoe, a regular ISIS user, who is the recipient of this year’s Ridel Lecture awarded jointly by the RSC Colloid & Interface Science Group and the Society of Chemical Industry Colloid & Surface Chemistry Group.

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