ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments allow the properties of materials to be understood at the scale of atoms.
We support a national and international community of more than 2000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology, materials engineering and IT.
An international panel chaired by Professor Dr Joel Mesot, Director of Switerland’s Paul Scherrer Institute, and including representatives from the United States, Denmark, Switzerland and the UK has been praised as innovative and world-leading. STFC Chief Executive Professor John Womersley says, "This review by an international panel of experts further reinforces the UK’s position as ‘the’ place to do science globally.”
ISIS provides world-class facilities for neutron and muon investigations of materials across a diverse range of science disciplines. ISIS 2013 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.
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.
The 13th Oxford School on Neutron Scattering supported by NMI3 was held in September in St. Anne's College of the University of Oxford, UK. 60 students have attended the school to receive “an ideal introduction to the theory, techniques and applications of neutron scattering”.
On Wednesday the 21st August the sun wasn’t the only thing beaming at the STFC, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire. There was a real buzz about the place as more than 200 people came from far and wide for a unique and exciting opportunity to see ‘behind the scenes’ of a cluster of the world’s leading science facilities.
To satisfy the world’s desire for ever more processing power, at ever diminishing energy cost, in even tinier devices, scientists are looking to spintronics (spin transport electronics) to provide the next generation of high-speed, high-efficiency electronic devices.
The Right Honourable Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills visited ISIS today (13 August 2013) where he had an opportunity to visit both target stations and talk to ISIS scientists about how the facility is working with industry to solve real-world problems – from under-sea pipes to turbochargers to rail tracks to testing microelectronics – alongside more fundamental research.
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.
In times where cracking down on energy consumption, cutting emissions and saving resources are central environmental concerns – enhanced lubricants, with the potential to increase operating efficiency in many systems, are attracting global interest. In a recent study a collaboration of scientists from the BP Institute, at the University of Cambridge (Dr Stuart Clarke), and Queen Mary’s University of London (Dr Ali Zarbakhsh) have used neutron reflectometry to look at lubricant additives and their interactions with iron, a common engineering material, to discover how these molecules function.
Water is a familiar substance. It is vital to life and covers over 70% of the surface of the Earth. But we’re less familiar with the quantum mechanics that controls the structure and dynamics of water on the atomic scale – including the temperatures at which water boils and melts. An international group of researchers have been using the VESUVIO instrument at ISIS to study competing quantum effects, explaining why the melting points of light and heavy water are surprisingly similar. Their research has been published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
Nanotechnology is all about little things with a big impact. From constantly shrinking electronic components, with as much processing power as a supercomputer, to nanosized systems to diagnose or treat disease - nanomaterials can offer creative solutions to big problems. In a recent study, scientists from the University of Greenwich, University of Barcelona, and The institute for Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia, INL and ISIS have used neutrons to study potential cationic nanocarriers and their interaction with anionic drugs.
One in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime, making it the most common cancer in the UK. If caught early, treatment options are positive. Unfortunately this type of cancer can spread to other places in the body, such as bones, which increases morbidity. But suppose you could engineer an army of biological nano-soldiers? Using magnetic navigation to guide them to breast tissue, they could use in-built technology to find, engage and fight breast cancer cells. Sounds impossible? Well, a collaboration between scientists from Denmark, Brazil, Germany and the UK have developed a new bio-nanocomposite which they hope, with more research, will be able to do just that!