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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.