Congratulations Toby Perring!
23 Mar 2023



Prof. Toby Perring is awarded the 2023 European Neutron Scattering Association (ENSA) Walter Hälg Prize for his exceptional contributions to neutron science through his work on time-of-flight single crystal spectroscopy.

Prof Toby Perring

Prof Toby Perring in Target Station 2 at the ISIS facility.​​​

Credit: STFC
Toby joined the ISIS Facility at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK in 1992 and has held various positions as a research and instrument scientist at ISIS, becoming an STFC Fellow in 2005. In 2007 he became an honorary professor in physics at London Centre for Nanotechnology, University College London, UK.
Through several decades Prof. Perring has been a central leading figure in the evolution of highly pixelated direct time-of-flight spectrometers for the investigation of excitations in strongly correlated electron systems. Toby has been instrumental in all steps in this revolution. He designed, built and commissioned the MAPS spectrometer at ISIS​​, and went on to ensure its scientific success. MAPS was the first neutron time-of-flight spectrometer with a large array of position-sensitive detectors, allowing for efficient mapping of large areas in momentum and energy space. With unprecedented momentum and energy range and resolution, MAPS enabled detailed studies of excitations in strongly correlated systems to energies beyond 100 meV, particularly in pioneering experiments on the spin excitations in high-temperature superconductors. Prof. Perring's innovative ideas behind the MAPS spectrometer motivated the construction of similar spectrometers at other international facilities.
Furthermore Toby has been instrumental in the evolution of software analysis tools unlocking the potential of the unprecedented data-volumes achieved with MAPS and the latest generation of spectrometers to be fully exploited, leading to hitherto unachievable scientific discoveries. Starting from unique tools to plan single crystal experiments, Toby developed the resolution convolution code TOBYFIT and the HORACE suite for analyzing such data, and in so doing he undertook the challenge of nucleating community wide development efforts. These codes have now reached a maturity such that 1st year PhD students can now analyze 4D neutron spectroscopy data – to the great advancement of new science.
In his own experiments and collaborations, Prof. Toby Perring has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the dynamics of strongly correlated electron systems, including giant magnetoresistance manganites, high-temperature superconductors, and quantum magnets. His research has led to a greater understanding of spin waves in layered magnetic systems, spinons in low-dimensional magnets, and complex spin fluctuations in cuprate and pnictide superconductors.
Henrik Rønnow is the current Chair of ENSA​. He says, “The European Neutron Scattering Association (ENSA) and the global international neutron community are grateful to Prof. Toby Perring for his paradigm changing contributions to single crystal neutron spectroscopy and enthusiastically congratulate him as the 2023 recipient of the Walter Hälg prize.” The prize is sponsored by Swiss Neutronics.
ISIS Director, Roger Eccleston commented, “Toby and I formally started at ISIS on the same day and we worked closely together for several years.  I am delighted to see my good friend and colleague recognized in this way for his great contribution to neutron science, instrumentation and software.”

Contact: Fletcher, Sara (STFC,RAL,ISIS)