Disordered Materials
29 May 2009



The ISIS Disordered Materials Group develops and operates diffraction facilities to characterize the atom- scale structure of liquids and disordered solids.




It supports an extensive suite of data reduction computer programs and is generating novel computational techniques for interpreting diffraction data in terms of atomistic models.​


Liquids and glasses pervade our existence. Their properties vary dramatically from strong, brittle structures such as window glass to the highly fluid lubricants in micro-machinery. As far as we know water is crucial to the existence of life, and water is fundamental to our environment and in industry. Remarkably, due to their chaotic nature, there are still big question marks about the nature of the disordered structure of liquids and glasses, which occurs right down to the atomic length scale.

Here at ISIS we attempt to answer some of these fundamental questions using diffraction studies of glasses and liquids. Our method relies on diffracting radiation beams, primarily neutrons, from materials of interest.

This "diffraction pattern" relates to the way atoms are arranged in the material, but determining this underlying structure requires much care and expertise. The Group exists to support User experiments on disordered matter and is developing computational tools for interpreting the data in terms of atomistic models. Recently, with the advent of NIMROD, we have extended the length scale we can probe beyond the atomic and local molecular scales towards the nanoscopic regime, encompassing functional materials of interest to many areas of science and engineering.

The ISIS Disordered Materials Group leads the world in developing these techniques.


Neutron Diffraction from Liquids and Disordered Solids