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.

News and Events

Celebrating the milestones of the RIKEN-RAL Muon Facility.
RIKEN-RAL Muon Facility Milestones

Tuesday 15 September 2015

The RIKEN-RAL Muon Facility has just celebrated 20 years of operations, and 25 years since the first agreement was signed with RIKEN to construct and operate the facility. Staff from ISIS, from RIKEN and from elsewhere gathered to mark these events at ISIS on Friday 11 September 2015.

Dr Chris Frost, Dr Simon Philip Platt and Magdalen College students
Astro Pi Competition Winners Visit ISIS

Tuesday 15 September 2015

A team of students from Magdalen College School have returned to visit ISIS after being selected as one of the winners of the Astro Pi competition. The Astro Pi competition was a chance for students to develop and code an experiment to run on the International Space Station using a Raspberry Pi.

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ISIS Call for Studentships

Monday 10 August 2015

The ISIS Call for Studentships is now open!

For scientists of all ages!
ISIS opens its doors!

Monday 13 July 2015

The Harwell Open Day on Saturday 11 July saw around 15,000 people visiting the site, 4,300 of whom visited ISIS! They were treated to a liquid nitrogen show, the chance to make slime, grow crystal gardens and build their favourite crystal structures out of sweets, as well as witnessing some electrostatics that literally made people’s hair stand on end!

IRIS & OSIRIS International Review Panel
IRIS & OSIRIS International Review

Monday 06 July 2015

Following the IRIS & OSIRIS International Beamline Review in November 2014, the final report by the panel is now available.

Aleksandra Dabkowska and Katherine Thompson
Drug and gene studies at ISIS lead to prestigious neutron scattering prize

Monday 08 June 2015

Studies on drug and gene delivery systems at STFC’s ISIS neutron source tipped to have important implications for new medicines have won a young researcher the B.T.M Willis Prize for neutron scattering.

Bill David, winner of prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry award
Bill David wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry award

Monday 11 May 2015

Congratulations to Bill David, ISIS, who is the Royal Society of Chemistry John B Goodenough Award winner for 2015, recognising exceptional and sustained contributions to the area of materials chemistry.

Major Instrument and Accelerator Projects

Target Station 2 Phase 2

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.

TS1 Upgrade Project

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.

TOSCA and MAPS guide projects

Design on the new guides for Maps and Tosca has started with the aim of having the upgraded instruments running sometime in 2016.

Replacement of muon beamline magnets

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.

Linac Tank 4 Replacement

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.

Refurbishing part of the first target station proton beamline (EPB1)

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.

Science at ISIS

Bristol University scientist, Andreas Andriotis
Neutrons help understand cracks in nuclear reactor moderator materials

Thursday 24 September 2015

In neutron diffraction studies, researchers investigated how the graphite material used in UK Nuclear Reactors deforms non-linearly under stress, to show how the material has some tolerance to damage.

Schematic representation of the gram-negative bacterial envelope.
Neutrons help in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Monday 14 September 2015

Researchers at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source in collaboration with Newcastle University have created the first model of the outer membrane of the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli). This synthetic model will serve as a robust system and important tool in drug design, particularly in the development of antibiotics. The work, supported by the Wellcome Trust, was recently published as a ‘Hot Paper’ in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Concentrated Solar Plant
Energy Harvesting; ISIS offers unique insights into Molten Salt Mixtures

Friday 11 September 2015

We all recognise that solar energy is a renewable energy source. Energy harvesting – the capture and storage of solar energy – is therefore becoming more and more important in our increasingly energy hungry society. Concentrated Solar Plants (CSPs) utilise sunlight (or solar thermal energy) to generate electricity. One part of the generation process involves the use of molten salt mixtures for the transport and storage of heat. Research carried out at ISIS is looking to better understand the thermodynamic characteristicsr of these molten salt mixtures and maximise their transport efficiency.

Credit: Dreamstime
Staying safe in the skies

Monday 10 August 2015

It may surprise you to learn just how much ISIS has contributed to airline safety over the last few years, so here are some examples of how science is helping to keep us safe.

Making an impact

Impact of Neutron Scattering brochure
Neutron Scattering: Materials research for modern life

Thursday 22 November 2012

Read about the social and economic impact of neutron scattering in a new brochure highlighting key examples of the use of the technique.

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