The Indian Department of Science and Technology has invested £2 million in STFC’s ISIS neutron and muon facility through its Nanomission programme. The financial commitment between STFC and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) which extends over the next five years, gives Indian scientists access to the entire portfolio of instruments at ISIS. It also covers the travel and subsistence costs for new Indian user groups and allows for a number of Indian Post-Doc and PhD researchers to be based at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
Water is vital to life on planet Earth. We see it every day, we drink and bathe in it; we use it to clean, cook, grow crops, provide energy, and we complain when it falls from the skies. It makes up around two thirds of a healthy human, and covers 70% of the Earth’s surface. Yet, despite its importance in everyday life, water has managed to retain some of its mystery.
Less than 2% of small molecules, including therapeutics, are able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and reach the brain from the bloodstream. The blood-brain barrier is a semi-permeable barrier that separates the extracellular fluid surrounding the brain from circulating blood. Separating the brain from the bloodstream, it protects the brain against any sort of toxins in the blood. Its protective nature is because of its high selectivity; however, this also means it is difficult to deliver therapeutics to the brain.
As we move away from our dependency on fossil fuels and work towards cleaner energy resources and chemical conversion it is key to further our understanding of catalysis. Whether it’s assisting reactions in energy transformations, providing chemicals with increased efficiency or getting rid of, or preventing, waste, catalysis will help in the move towards a greener future. Progress in catalytic science and its applications requires an understanding of what is taking place with the catalyst at the molecular level, which is where techniques such as neutron scattering are invaluable.
Materials that display localised electronic or magnetic behaviour are of wide interest in physics. One reason is that they can provide insights into unusual quantum phenomena, as seen in single molecular magnets for example. An international group of scientists have been using neutrons to study calcium ferrate to understand how different magnetic arrangements are distributed throughout the material. Surprisingly they found that the phases existed in tiny regions only a few nanometres across, containing localised waves of magnetic excitations. This discovery could lead to the use of magnetic materials in a similar fashion to photonic crystals.