Discovering the structure of matter

The Crystallography Group at ISIS carries out personal and collaborative research programs using neutron diffraction in various fields of physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering. We are also responsible for developing new time-of-flight diffraction instruments.


Our group operates a suit of instruments that consist of several powder diffractometers, including a beamline entirely dedicated to high-pressure studies,  another dedicated engineering beamline and a single crystal diffractometer. The most recent addition to our suite of instruments is WISH a high-resolution magnetic materials diffractometer.

The crystallography programme at ISIS focuses largely on the powder diffractometers HRPD, Polaris, Gem and WISH, the single crystal instrument SXD and the High Pressure Facility, Pearl.

These instruments form a complementary suite:

  • HRPD with its unparalleled high resolution allows subtle effects and complex structures to be studied with great accuracy and precision
  • Polaris, with its high flux and medium resolution, offers rapid data collection, opening up the field of in situ and time-dependent studies
  • Gem combines high flux with high resolution for materials diffraction
  • SXD offers a flexible facility for single crystal studies, exploiting the power of the time-of-flight Laue technique in applications both in structural studies and in the examination of diffuse scattering
  • Pearl allows diffraction measurements to be made at pressures from 0 to 10GPa (25GPa with user-supplied sintered diamond anvils) and at temperatures between 90K and 1200K
  • Wish is a long-wavelength diffractometer primarily designed for powder diffraction at long d-spacing in magnetic and large unit cell systems, with the option of enabling single-crystal and polarised beam experiments

The Crystallography group is also heavily involved in developing instrumentation, experimental techniques and software for the full range of crystallographic work undertaken at ISIS.

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