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

Excitement in the ISIS control room as first neutrons are detected
30 years of neutrons at ISIS!

Tuesday 16 December 2014

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!

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TOSCA Instrument Review

Tuesday 16 December 2014

TOSCA: Present and Future

ISIS Annual Review 2014

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.

ISIS Neutron training course

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.

ISIS Physicist, Dr David Keen
ISIS features in Max Alexander’s exhibition ‘Illuminating Atoms’

Friday 21 November 2014

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.

ISIS molecular spectroscopy meeting
ISIS Molecular Spectroscopy Science Meeting 2015

Thursday 29 January 2015

The ISIS Molecular Spectroscopy Group will hold its next science meeting at the Cosener’s House, Abingdon on the 29th and 30th of January 2015

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SANDALS 25th Anniversary Meeting & EPSR Workshop

Tuesday 06 January 2015

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.

New UK facility aims to protect next generation microchips from cosmic ray chaos

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.

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Changes for ISIS Users – things which might affect you!

Tuesday 12 August 2014

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.

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

Metal-organic framework (MOF)
Unravelling the Physical Possibilities of MOFs

Monday 08 December 2014

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.

Powerful new tool gives hope of overcoming antibiotic resistance.

Friday 05 December 2014

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.

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New chemical sponge has potential to mitigate carbon footprint of oil industry

Tuesday 02 December 2014

UK scientists have discovered a ground-breaking technique with the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of energy used in the refinement of crude oil.

A clogged artery- arteriosclerosis
Tracking the movements of the killer behind dementia and heart disease

Friday 28 November 2014

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.

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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