ISIS scientist puts neutrons on the crystallography map
14 May 2008




A senior scientist at STFC’s ISIS neutron source has won the Physical Crystallography Prize for the best work by a young scientist in the field.

Dr Laurent Chapon (4th from right) with engineers and scientists building the Wish instrument for neutron research at the ISIS Second Target Station Project

The prize has been awarded to Dr Laurent Chapon by the Physical Crystallography Group of the British Crystallographic Association. Group chair Professor Paolo Radaelli cited Dr Chapon’s outstanding contributions to the development of magnetic neutron diffraction methodology and instrumentation and for its applications as the reason for the award.

“Only a few years ago, magnetic neutron diffraction was considered to be a reactor technique. Laurent’s work has been crucial in broadening both the discipline itself and the use of pulsed neutrons,” said Professor Radaelli.

Dr Chapon has also developed new software to interpret crystallography data and make it applicable to pulsed neutrons. This has enabled him to do groundbreaking fundamental work that studies the diverse magnetic properties of materials. This research could lead to a variety of applications for the next generation of electronic devices and data storage.

Dr Chapon is driving future research in this area as project scientist for the new WISH instrument at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s ISIS Second Target Station. By building the instrument he is ensuring that the UK will be at the forefront of this work.

“The new instrument will improve magnetic crystallography due to the higher neutron flux at long wavelengths, combined with a large detector coverage with good spatial resolution. The WISH instrument will produce clearer data and become the instrument of choice for those using pulsed neutrons for magnetic diffraction,” said Dr Chapon.