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

Dr Anita Zeidler (University of Bath) receives the B.T.M. Willis prize
Bath researcher scoops top neutron scattering prize

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Dr Anita Zeidler (University of Bath) has been awarded the prestigious '2014 B.T.M. Willis Prize' for neutron scattering in recognition of her studies of a wide range of materials including water, and their interactions at the atomic and molecular level.

First monitor spectrum on Larmor with the choppers set up
First neutrons to Larmor!

Thursday 20 March 2014

The Larmor instrument, the first of a second phase of instruments to be commissioned on Target Station 2 at ISIS has received first neutrons today. This is a major milestone for the instrument, which expects to be available for users from next year. Larmor will be a multi-purpose instrument for small angle neutron scattering (SANS), diffraction and spectroscopy, taking advantage of the Larmor precession of polarised neutrons. The completion of Larmor expands the capacity of ISIS to support the SANS community, which encompasses soft matter, complex fluids, food science, bio-materials and pharmacy, advanced materials engineering, environmental and earth science.

neutron spectra from a 3g crystal of copper germinate
Rep rate multiplication (RRM) makes Merlin even more competitive

Friday 07 March 2014

A new chopper system has been installed on Merlin making repetition rate multiplication (RRM) possible for the first time on this instrument. RRM involves sending several pulses of different neutron energies onto the sample in a single ISIS timeframe. In single energy mode, users request their desired energy, e.g. 50 meV, and get a single data set in return, whereas in RRM mode, up to 5 separate incident energies can be measured simultaneously, allowing a survey of data sets to be gathered in a fraction of the time.

ISIS Director Robert McGreevy signs the agreement, with Cristina Messa
STFC’s ISIS facility signs up to continued collaboration with Italy

Wednesday 05 March 2014

05/03/2014 - The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR, the Italian National Research Council) have signed an agreement today (4 March 2014) worth €15M to further develop collaboration between the two countries in the field of neutron scattering using the STFC ISIS facility, the UK’s pulsed neutron and muon source.

Workshop delegates
Frontiers and Horizons in Electron Volt Neutron Spectroscopy

Friday 21 February 2014

January 2014 saw over 40 scientists from across the globe coming together at Cosener’s House in Abingdon, UK, for a two-day meeting on the latest science and developments in instrumentation in the field of electron Volt (eV) neutron spectroscopy. The meeting was jointly organised by the ISIS Molecular Spectroscopy group, CNR, Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata and Università degli Studi di Milano in Italy.

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) (Courtesy of NPL)
NPL and ISIS collaboration to provide new insights into important materials

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Our understanding of materials and how they perform under different conditions will be enhanced thanks to a new research collaboration announced today between the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s ISIS centre, the UK’s pulsed neutron and muon source.

Target Station 2

IMAT extension build, September 2012
Phase two instruments: construction well under way

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Construction is now well underway for the four new Second Target Station instruments.

Phase Two instruments

The success of the seven neutron instruments operating at the ISIS Second Target Station has attracted a further £21 million from the UK government to add four more instruments to the suite. The instruments will add distinctive new capability for neutron scattering in Europe and open up new areas of science.

Science at ISIS

greener and more efficient ways of making nanomaterials
Might muons and a microwave make marvellous materials?

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Captured in stars like the sun, energy has been stored since the formation of the universe itself. This solar power lies amongst all kinds of energy stores such as wind, plant and tidal sources that help feed our global appetite for energy. But what happens when we want to save some of this feast for later? With the global consumption of electricity set to increase by over 60% from 2011 to 2030 , it’s clear we need to make the most of the energy we produce and so a balance between supply and demand is vital.

The characteristic diffuse neutron scattering measured using SXD
Trapping magnetic monopoles in spin ice

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Electrically isolated charges are common in nature, most notably in the form of individual electrons. However the equivalent in magnetism, the magnetic monopole, has proved far more elusive. Magnetic monopoles have been observed as so-called quasi-particles in spin-ice - a type of exotic magnet - but the model only works at certain temperatures. New research published in the journal Nature Materials used the SXD instrument at ISIS to show that oxygen deficiencies could explain why at sub-Kelvin temperatures experimental results don’t match up to predictions. This understanding is crucial in the hunt for the magnetic monopole, detecting magnetic currents and the design of future spin-ice devices.

Conservator Sam van de Geer with a sword in Engin-X
ISIS prescribes Engin-X for Oxfordshire artefacts

Monday 07 April 2014

Neutron diffraction measurements can benefit the conservation of irreplaceable artefacts. A researcher from the Open University has used neutrons to study twenty-three Early Medieval iron knives and swords found at the local Early Anglo-Saxon (5th-6th Century AD) burial ground at Watchfield, Oxfordshire. The cemetery population may well include the first generation of Anglo-Saxon immigrants to settle in this area from the Continent. The objects were loaned for analysis by Oxfordshire County Council. Data gained from these experiments will benefit the conservation of the objects which, like all early iron artefacts, will deteriorate rapidly and irreversibly if not constantly monitored, treated, and stored appropriately.

Forensic scientist studies submerged bones at ISIS
Forensic scientist studies submerged bones at ISIS

Thursday 20 March 2014

In forensic investigations unearthing the post-mortem interval (PMI) or time since death is crucial for identifying the remains and reconstructing the events that occurred at or near the time of death. When a body is discovered, pathological evaluations are largely hindered by post mortem changes and often a combination of factors such as temperature, surrounding environment and activity of insects need to be studied in order to ascertain the most accurate probable PMI. However whilst various techniques for analysing the PMI of bodies found on land are well researched, the literature covering topics concerning decomposition and forensic science in aquatic and marine environments is scarce. Could neutrons detect the missing clues? Well, a group of scientists, Dr S Vanin, Professor R Cywinski, and Professor S H Kilcoyne, from the University of Huddersfield and Dr Stewart Parker, ISIS instrument scientist, have been using ISIS to find out.

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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