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

The tritium gas handling system
RIKEN, UK Atomic Energy Authority and ISIS team up for recycled science!

Wednesday 04 March 2015

RIKEN, Japan’s largest research organisation, the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UK) are collaborating on the transfer of science equipment from RIKEN to UKAEA.

NMUM 2014
UK Neutron and Muon Science and User Meeting 19- 21 May 2015

Tuesday 19 May 2015

The UK neutron and muon science and user meeting is an opportunity to hear about the latest science from ISIS and ILL, plus updates from the facilities and other matters of interest to facility users. This will be an extended meeting compared with Neutron and Muon User Meetings held in previous years. It will include a student day, a day dedicated to neutron and muon science in key areas and a user meeting including facility updates. An extended meeting is being held in 2015 in order to mark 30 years of operations of the ISIS Neutron and Muon source, which was officially inaugurated in 1985.

ISIS scientist Dr Francesco Grazzi setting up the ENGIN-X measurements
Secrets of India’s master sword-makers revealed

Friday 13 February 2015

The skilled craftsmanship that produced pure, strong steel for Indian swords has been revealed in new tests carried out at STFC’s ISIS pulsed neutron source in Oxfordshire. The ISIS instruments were able to study the metal without needing to damage the sword by taking samples.

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. We stress this course is a practical on beamlines course aimed at complete beginners. Registration is now open and will close on the 5th of March 2015.

Oxford School of Neutron Scattering
14th Oxford School on Neutron Scattering

Thursday 29 January 2015

We are pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 14th Oxford School on Neutron Scattering, which will take place in St Anne's College Oxford between the 6th and 18th September 2015. Come join us for an introduction to neutron theory and techniques!

IMAT design outline
New Swedish collaboration funds unique ISIS instrument

Wednesday 04 February 2015

A new collaboration between the Swedish Research Council, Vetenskapsrådet, and STFC's ISIS Neutron and Muon Source will fund a novel facility, IMAT, offering capabilities that are not available anywhere else in the world. IMAT will be able to provide neutron imaging and diffraction simultaneously, making it a valuable tool for engineering, energy generation and storage, agricultural and cultural heritage applications. The agreement builds on long-standing collaborations between Sweden and ISIS, with 14m Kr (~£1.1m) funding over the next 4 years.

Professor C.N.R. Rao and Professor Robert McGreevy
UK and India forge new research partnership

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The Government of India and the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have today forged a partnership that will benefit both STFC’s ISIS neutron and muon facility and India’s Nano Mission.

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Magnetism 2015

Monday 30 March 2015

Magnetism 2015 is a conference primarily for the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland magnetism communities. This follows from the similar and highly successful conference in 2014. A mixture of invited talks and submitted contributions will allow the breadth of magnetism research in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland to be presented. Participation from outside UK/RoI and from industry is also encouraged.

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Proceedings of Frontiers and Horizons in Electron Volt Neutron Spectroscopy

Tuesday 06 January 2015

The proceedings of the Frontiers and Horizons in Electron Volt Neutron Spectroscopy workshop, held back in January 2014, are now available as part of the IoP Conference Series.

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 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.

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.

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

Cancer Research UK,
ISIS and exploding bubbles in the fight against cancer

Thursday 12 February 2015

ISIS is playing an increasingly important role in cancer research. Neutron scattering is particularly helpful for examining structures and processes at the molecular and nano level because it enables researchers to see deep into tissues and materials without damaging them. Since Target Station 2 opened in 2009 cancer research has increased by roughly 54%. One particular area of focus is into the nano particles that are being added to the established chemo and radiation therapies. These nanoparticles have either ingenious therapeutic or delivery characteristics and sometimes both.

An incommensurately-modulated spin density wave structure stabilised
A spin density wave state in strontium ruthenate

Wednesday 21 January 2015

The search for novel states of matter have led many researchers to focus on layered oxide metals. These contain planes of atoms which dominate the electrical conduction. A famous example is high temperature superconductivity which is found in materials containing layers of Cu-O or Fe-As atoms. A fascinating layered material, from an electronic point of view, is strontium ruthenate, in which conducting layers of Ru-O are separated by Sr-O ‘spacers.’ By altering the balance of Ru-O to Sr-O layers, one can tune the material from superconductivity to ferromagnetism via metamagentism (a sudden rise of magnetisation over only a narrow range in field).

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.

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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