Advances in instruments and techniques

Alongside the seven instruments that are up and running on the ISIS Second Target Station, construction has started on four new ‘Phase 2’ instruments following the announcement of funding by David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, in March. Chipir, Larmor, Zoom and Imat will all be built over the next few years.

From Phase One to Phase Two!
Alongside the seven instruments that are up and running on the ISIS Second Target Station, construction has started on four new ‘Phase 2’ instruments following the announcement of funding by David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, in March. Chipir, Larmor, Zoom and Imat will all be built over the next few years.

 

Chipir


Concrete shielding for Chipir, an instrument designed to look at the effect of cosmic radiation on microchips, has been manufactured and installed this year. This shielding stops stray neutrons from the instrument entering the experimental hall, and creates a platform on which Chipir will be placed.


Chipir will be one of only a handful of facilities outside of the US capable of looking at the response of silicon microchips to cosmic radiation. Cosmic radiation has the power to cause the failure of critical electronic systems such as those found in aircraft and road vehicles. The new neutron beam line will replicate the cosmic radiation that can affect microchips. The findings will help manufacturers build more reliable electronic systems for use in cars, planes and other devices.

Beginning of the construction of the Chipir beamline

Beginning of the construction of the Chipir beamline
View full-size image

 

Larmor

Larmor will extend both the spatial and temporal ranges accessible to the neutron technique and is particularly applicable to soft matter and biomolecular science. It will exploit the Larmor precession of the neutron spin to deliver a suite of techniques extending those presently available at ISIS. Larmor will initially be used for small angle neutron scattering (SANS) with polarisation analysis, spin-echo SANS and Larmor diffraction, but additional operational modes will be made available as the instrument develops. Detailed instrument design is now underway, and component procurement has started.

 

Design drawing of the new Larmor instrument.

Design drawing of the new Larmor instrument.
View full-size image

 

Zoom


Zoom will be a flexible, high count rate small-angle scattering instrument ideally suited for kinetic and dynamic experiments. Additionally, it will allow for grazing incidence techniques to study surface structures and will be able to polarise neutrons for studies of magnetic materials. It will be the first ISIS instrument to use focusing, which, when coupled with a high resolution, two dimensional detector, will enable us to reach very small Q, ~ 0.0003 Å-1 (~ 2 μm) with a wide simultaneous Q range out to at least ~ 0.15 Å-1. Stage 1 of the design, a highly flexible small angle instrument, is presently underway.

Design drawing of Zoom.

Design drawing of Zoom.
View full-size image

 

Imat


Imat is a neutron imaging and diffraction instrument for materials science. The instrument will offer a combination of possibilities such as neutron radiography, neutron tomography, energy-selective imaging, neutron strain scanning and texture analysis. The combination of these analytical techniques on the same instrument is unique and will allow new types of experiments to be carried out. For
example, residual stresses inside engineering-sized samples can be more effectively analysed if the diffraction scans are guided by radiographic data. Conversely, diffraction analysis may be indispensable for a quantitative analysis and physical interpretation of the attenuation features observed in radiography data. Imat will have a straight neutron guide to transport the neutrons to an aperture selector giving a maximum field-of-view of 20 x 20 cm2 at a sample position at 56 meters from the moderator.

 

The new Imat instrument.

The new Imat instrument.
View full-size image

 

 

Polaris


The upgrade of the Polaris instrument is nearly completed, and commissioning experiments are planned to begin towards the end of 2011. When finished, 38 modules of fibre-coupled scintillation detectors will contain some 400,000 m of fibre optic light guides and will give Polaris a count rate up to 20 times higher than the old instrument. New opportunities in the study of disordered and nanostructured materials, in-situ investigations of chemical and electrochemical reactions and texture measurements of historical artefacts will become routinely available.

 

Bank 4 detector module during installation in vacuum tank

Polaris Bank 4 detector module during installation in vacuum tank
View full-size image

 

TOSCA Chopper Upgrade


With a new disc chopper running at 10 Hz, the energy-transfer range on Tosca has been extended below 3 meV. This development provides new scientific opportunities, particularly in the study of the interplay between low-energy excitations and molecular mobility in a wide range of applied systems (hydrogen storage, catalysis, proton conductors, soft nanocomposites, etc). It also provides a direct link to quasielastic studies on Osiris and Iris.

 

TOSCA Chopper upgrade

TOSCA Chopper upgrade
View full-size image

 

Mantid goes International

Mantid is a data analysis framework and application to support the neutron and muon communities. The project started as a joint collaboration between ISIS and Tessella, and has now grown to include the SNS and HFIR facilities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). In the last 12 months the data reduction for direct and indirect-geometry spectrometers has been moved to operate within the Mantid framework, so that, for example, Iris, Osiris and Tosca data can be fully reduced using Mantid.

 

The new Mantid interface

The new Mantid interface showing data analysis and visualisation on Tosca.
View full-size image

 

Polarisation


This year saw a significant milestone in the ISIS polarized neutron project – the first wide-angle polarised neutron measurement ever performed at ISIS. A full polarisation analysis measurement of silicon powder was performed on the Wish diffractometer on the Second Target Station, using the new uniaxial field-coil polarized neutron insert. The flipping ratios of the silicon Bragg peaks (the ratio between spin-up and spin-down scattered neutrons) gives a measurement of the polarisation of the beam.

With the delivery of the ISIS 3He ‘filling station’ at the end of 2011, polarised neutrons will be available on both Wish and Let in the coming year.

 

Wish diffractometer.

Stephen Boag (ISIS) craning the polarisation field-coil insert into the Wish diffractometer.
View full-size image

 

Pearl


Over the past year the high-pressure diffraction facility at ISIS (Pearl) has undergone a major upgrade to improve the diffraction data resolution and detector stability while maintaining as large as possible incident flux and d-spacing range. All of the detectors have been replaced, with the new modules incorporating the latest design of ZnS scintillator detector element. The commissioning trials conducted so far have demonstrated the anticipated resolution gains very well. The Pearl upgrade work has been part-funded by the Spanish government via the CSIC research council in partnership with Spanish companies AVS and Scientifica.

Geoff Eacott (ISIS) working on the Pearl detector banks.

Geoff Eacott (ISIS) working on the Pearl detector banks.
View full-size image

Bookmark and Share
Skip to the top of the page