Crystallography Group
23 Nov 2022



The group operates seven powder and single-crystal diffraction instruments at ISIS. These are used to characterise the local and average nuclear and magnetic structures of a wide range of different materials.


​​​​​​​​Joint Crystallography and Disordered Materials Group science away day (The Cosenor's House, Abingdon, 14th January 2020)

The Crystallography Group is responsible for the operation of seven neutron diffraction​ instruments at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, located at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The group typically supports around 200 experiments per year, across a diverse range of academic and industrial disciplines. These studies investigate the crystal structures of materials and how the atomic arrangement influences their bulk properties. 

Research studies include the provenance of historical artefacts, the behaviour of technologically important materials for energy production/storage, phase transitions within complex magnetic systems, and the chemical bonding within samples of relevance to earth/planetary science and pharmaceuticals. Further details can be found here​. The Engin-X and IMAT instruments were separated from the Crystallography Group in 2021, forming the Engineering and Imaging Group.

The group has an extensive programme of development projects, many supported by collaborations with UK and international partners. These include new software for the analysis of neutron diffraction data, novel sample environment devices that mimic conditions found in technological applications, upgrades to existing diffractometers and the construction of new instruments. 

The group currently has 16 Instrument Scientists who both pursue their own research programmes, and operate and develop the diffraction instrumentation for the user community. These activities are supported by a number of post-doctoral researchers, visiting scientists, PhD students (jointly hosted by UK universities and ISIS), and industrial placement (sandwich) students. Craig Bull has been the Crystallography Group leader since 2021. 

Instrument Scientists​

The team of Instrument Scientists within the Crystallography Group support the scientific user programmes on each instrument, develop new facilities to expand the capabilities offered by the Group and pursue their own research projects, often in collaboration with external academic and industrial groups.

Postdoctoral Researchers

The Crystallography Group employs several postdoctoral researchers, funded by a number of different routes. They principally contribute to specific development projects, but also provide user support on the Group’s instruments and conduct their own scientific research programmes.

Joint PhD & Industrial Placement Students

Members of the Crystallography Group act as joint supervisors for many PhD students, as part of collaborative projects with UK Universities. The students are typically half-funded by STFC, either through specific calls (e.g. Global Challenges), internal research networks (e.g. Centre for Molecular Structure and Dynamics), the ISIS Studentship scheme or directly from the Crystallography Group. If you are interested in proposing a joint PhD studentship, further details of the ISIS Studentship Scheme can be found here, and if you interested in applying to work as a student in the Crystallography Group, then please look here​.​ Information on the Industrial Placement Scheme at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source can be found here​.

Visiting Scientists​

The Crystallography Group is fortunate to host a number of visiting scientists, who make significant contributions to a number of development projects in the areas of instrumentation, sample environment and software.​​