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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Bath, the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL), the USA and Germany have uncovered some unexpected behavior of hydrogen gas when it is contained in optimally-sized sub-nanometer pores. Using the TOSCA inelastic scattering instrument at ISIS, the team observed direct evidence for solid-like behaviour of hydrogen gas, indicating hydrogen densities almost 1,000 times the density of gaseous hydrogen at ambient temperatures and pressures.
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.
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 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.