ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments gives unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale.
We support a national and international community of more than 3000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology and materials engineering, catalysis and polymers, and on to fundamental studies of materials.
On the evening of 16th December 1984 a small group of scientists and engineers waited nervously in the control room. Back in 1984 spallation neutron sources were not common things, so there was a certain amount of trepidation! However at 19:16 that evening first neutrons were detected in what was then the only target station at what was then known as the SNS (Spallation Neutron Source) rather than ISIS!
ISIS provides world-class facilities for neutron and muon investigations of materials across a diverse range of science disciplines. ISIS 2014 details the work of the facility over the past year, including science highlights, major instrument and accelerator developments and the facility’s publications for the year.
The ISIS Practical Neutron Training Course is aimed at PhD and post-doctoral researchers who have little or no experience of neutron scattering, but whose future research program aims to make use of neutron scattering techniques.
From snowflakes to grains of salt, diamonds to proteins, crystals are found everywhere in nature. Throughout history people have been intrigued by their beauty and symmetry. 2014 marks the International Year of Crystallography, to celebrate 100 years since the discovery that X-rays (and later, neutrons) can be used to ‘see’ inside matter. In the 100 years since its discovery, crystallography has seen great progress in the study of materials, leading to advances in all scientific disciplines.
December 2014 will be 25 years since the first neutrons appeared on SANDALS - 4th December 1989! To celebrate this occasion we are holding a Disordered Materials Science Meeting, 6-7 January 2015, at The Cosener's House. Following the SANDALS meeting, we will be holding another EPSR (Empirical Potential Structure Refinement) workshop at The Cosener's House, 8 – 9 January 2015.
UK scientists have built a new facility aimed at understanding how particles from space can interact with electronic devices, and to investigate the chaos that cosmic rays can cause – such as taking communications satellites offline, wiping a device's memory or affecting aircraft electronics. ChipIR has successfully completed its first round of development testing before going in to full operation in 2015.
We are making changes which will affect all ISIS users. These include changes to proposal access routes. We are also relaunching experimental reports, and we are changing some of the travel, subsistence and consumables arrangements for UK users.
2015 will see both the capacity and capability of ISIS increase with two new instruments coming online. Target station 2 started operation in 2008 with 7 neutron instruments, and now two new instruments, ChipIR and Larmor have received first neutrons and are beginning their commissioning phases. A further two instruments, IMAT and ZOOM, are under construction.
The ISIS first target station – TS1 – has been operating since ISIS started up in 1984. With the experience gained from the new TS2, and the ability to use computer modelling to simulate target station performance, there is now a significant opportunity to upgrade TS1.
The ISIS muon facility has been operating since 1987, and some of the muon beamline magnets were second-hand then – they are now over 50 years old in some cases. During the long shutdown in 2014/5, the quadrupoles near the muon target will be replaced.
The ISIS linear accelerator (linac) consists of 4 radiofrequency (RF) accelerating tanks, accelerating hydrogen ions generated in the ion source to 37% of the speed of light before feeding them into the synchrotron for final acceleration. Tanks 1 and 4 were built at RAL in 1976, for ISIS’ predecessor, Nimrod. They are now showing their age, so a project is underway to replace tank 4 by 2018.
EPB1 is made up of 68 magnets all of which are roughly 50 years old. Many of the electrical windings of these magnets are deteriorating (especially in high radiation-dose areas near the downstream end of EPB1). Replacement of magnets upstream of the muon target and between the muon target and the neutron target will take place during the 2014/15 shutdown.
Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a promising new class of next-generation materials. With nanoscale cage-like structures featuring exceedingly large internal surface areas, MOFs can be used to capture and store molecules, giving them a wide range of potential applications from gas storage and capturing CO2 to microelectronics, drug encapsulation and use in sensors. In order to turn potential into reality, it’s necessary to understand their physical structure at a fundamental level, and how this determines their properties on the macroscopic scale. The Multifunctional Materials & Composites (MMC) research group, led by Prof J.C. Tan at Oxford University has been using ISIS and Diamond Light Source to study a group of MOFs and how their properties can be tuned. Their research has recently been published in Physical Review Letters.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics has become one of the biggest health concerns of the 21st century. New work into disabling rather than destroying bacteria may help mankind win the on-going battle against bacterial disease and antibiotic resistance.
Cholesterol is vital to the human body. It is an essential component in the membranes of cells as well as necessary for the production of important hormones and the transport of chemical signals. But we know cholesterol can also be damaging – it has been linked to heart disease, strokes and more recently Alzheimer’s disease.