ISIS is the world’s leading spallation neutron source, providing UK and international researchers access to the best scientific facilities of their kind. ISIS has contributed significantly to many of the major breakthroughs in materials science, physics and chemistry since it was commissioned in 1985.
Expansion of ISIS through the building of a Second Target Station was announced in April 2003 by the then Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury, as a key part of the UK investment strategy in major facilities.
During 2009, the £145 million project was completed adding new scientific capability and doubling capacity for experiments. The ISIS second target station is enabling the ISIS science programme to expand in the key research areas of soft matter, advanced materials and bio-science. The project was completed on time and to budget.
Seven instruments have been built during Phase One. All are operational and user experiments have begun. There is capacity for a total of 18 instruments in the future at Target Station 2 adding to the 20 instruments already available at Target Station 1.
Neutron scattering is a unique and powerful way of studying the properties of materials at the atomic level. Neutron scattering experiments reveal where atoms are and what they are doing, enabling the spacing of atoms and the forces between them to be measured Innovations in technique and improved instrument performance over the last twenty five years have made a huge contribution to our understanding of materials and the number of disciplines where neutron scattering has made an impact has steadily increased.
The US and Japan have constructed neutron sources like ISIS in order to catch up with the UK. The threat to the UK position posed by new spallation sources in the US and Japan has been mitigated to a large extent by the commissioning of the ISIS second target station which will help safeguard ISIS competitiveness for at least the next decade.
The ISIS Second Target Station Phase Two Project will build the next four instruments together with the necessary advanced detectors, electronics and software.
At 13:08 BST on Sunday 3 August 2008 , the ISIS second target station project measured the first neutrons from the new target station in the Inter beamline. A significant milestone in the life of the facility and in the completion of the project, the first neutrons met all of the technical performance predictions. ISIS now has two neutron sources in routine operation.