The aim of the visit was to celebrate the collaboration between CNR and ISIS which has been going strong for over twenty years after the original agreement was signed by Francesco Paolo Ricci in 1985.
On arrival at RAL, the president and his group of five were greeted by ISIS Director Robert McGreevy who gave them an introduction to STFC and the ISIS facility. This was followed by a tour of both ISIS target stations.
The tour focused on instruments which CNR has invested support into, and the group were met by instrument scientists who reported news on recent research and updates at each instrument. These included instruments currently being built on the ISIS Second Target Station – Chipir and IMAT – as well as LET and Nimrod which are already running. Following through to the first target station, the group visited Vesuvio, Prisma, Tosca and INES - all instruments with significant Italian contributions.
Italian involvement with ISIS also includes 300 Italian scientists having produced 200 publications based on research at ISIS over the last five years. Italian science at ISIS spans a wide range of areas from fundamental studies through to biomaterials, materials for energy and cultural heritage studies.
Cultural heritage was not a commonly studied area at ISIS, but as a result of the Italian collaboration and the variety of research that followed, cultural heritage has expanded along with a number of other research areas. For example, the instrument Engin-X was used to study the Ghiberti Heads, portrait sculptures of prophets by Lorenzo Ghiberti which date back to the Renaissance.
Other areas of research stemming from the Italian relationship stretch from proton motion in ice, studied using Vesuvio, to biological systems with health applications, such as the use of nanoparticles in drug delivery and lipid vesicle studies.
CNR have enabled science at ISIS to progress by backing the development of many instruments over the years, including Vesuvio, INES, which is run by CNR, and Nimrod. In many cases, Italy has contributed through the development of new technologies for neutron scattering such as detector enhancements. The most recent collaboration since 2008 has been named the PANAREA project which includes major Italian engagement in Second Target Station phase two instruments Chipir, which will be used to study radiation effects, and IMAT which will be used for neutron imaging and diffraction. There is also a smaller Italian engagement in the development of Larmor and Zoom.
ISIS and Italy look forward to continuing their partnership well into the future – for the development of neutron technologies, new instrument construction and exciting collaborative science.