Phase One instruments

Seven new instruments for neutron scattering have been built at the ISIS second target station providing new opportunities in surface science, disordered materials, magnetic diffraction, small angle neutron scattering and slow dynamics.


Neutron reflectometry is a powerful technique for studying surfaces and interfaces between solids, liquids and gasses, and three state of the art reflectometers will be constructed.

Inter builds upon the success of the world-leading Surf instrument at ISIS and provides a unique facility for the study of air/liquid, liquid/liquid, air/solid and liquid/solid interfaces.

Offspec will characterise the increasingly important area of in-plane interface structure using the spin-echo technique. Through delicate manipulation of polarised neutrons, small structures with sizes from 10-1000 nm can be examined in thin-film samples.

Polref is a polarised neutron reflectometer designed for the study of the magnetic ordering in and between the layers and surfaces of thin film materials. Three-directional polarisation control will allow unique information to be obtained on the size and direction of the magnetism as a function of depth in multi-layer structures.

Small-angle scattering

Small angle neutron scattering, SANS, is a powerful technique for determining structural dimensions in the nanometre to micrometre range

Sans-2d represents a new concept in small angle scattering, using multiple position sensitive detectors to give unsurpassed simultaneous data collection across a wide range of length scales. It will be well-placed to exploit the trend towards studying non-equilibrium and multi-component chemical systems.

Intermediate range order

The ability to relate changes in local molecular environment to the phase and function of materials is essential in many current and emerging fields of technology.

Nimrod is a total scattering instrument that will offer greater insight into the subtle balance between short-, medium- and long-range interactions found in many materials.

High-resolution magnetic diffraction

The ability to produce diffraction patterns at nearly constant resolution over a wide range of lattice-spacings is one of the distinct features of time-of-flight sources such as ISIS.

Wish is a long-wavelength instrument optimised for studying magnetism at an atomic level. Designed for powder diffraction at long d-spacing in magnetic and large unit-cell systems, it will specialise in such topics as magnetic clusters, extreme conditions of magnetic field and pressure, and new designer magnetic systems tailored for specific applications.

High-resolution spectroscopy

The study of atomic motion in matter with inelastic neutron scattering provides one of the most exacting tests of the understanding of the microscopic origin of material properties, particularly when combined with powerful computer modelling techniques now being pioneered.

Let will introduce unique flexibility to low-energy spectroscopy, with the ability to make quasi-elastic and inelastic measurements over a wide dynamic range.

How the Phase One instruments were selected

Ten proposals for instruments were presented in open session on 26 June 2003 in the presence of the Science Advisory Committee for the second target station project. The committee then met in closed session to prioritise the instruments to be built. The committee was particularly impressed with the quality of all the instrument presentations and thanked the user groups, the external co-ordinators and the ISIS scientists and engineers for their work. It was recommended that in due course all of the instruments should become part of the ISIS instrument portfolio.

Using the criteria of scientific quality, exploitation of the characteristics of the second target station, user community support and technical challenge/feasibility the above instruments were selected for Phase One build. 

The Chair of the Science Advisory Committee was Professor R K Thomas from the University of Oxford.

Bookmark and Share
Skip to the top of the page