October 2023 Sample Environment and Support Labs Newsletter
22 Sep 2023





Photo of the Support Labs Group in homage to the classic "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" picture.



Welcome to the newest issue of the Sample Environment and Support Labs (SEaSL) Newsletter! Following on from the success of December's edition of the Newsletter, we are continuing with the online format.

As ever, the Support Labs and Sample Environment teams have been busy over the past 6 months, including attending this year's UK Neutron & Muon Science and User Meeting. This marks the first attendance by the Sample Environment teams, and a repeat attendance by the Support Labs team.

In addition, this year marked the 2nd joint ESS/ISIS Support Laboratories Symposium, a joint event between ISIS and ESS' support laboratory teams to share updates, methodologies and practical information relevant to both facilities. For this meeting, other institutions were also invited; please follow the link for the full list.

For all events covered in this newsletter issue, please visit this page.

Editor, Dan Nye

ERAs and Sample Safety

The ISIS Sample Safety Team would like to welcome Dr. June McCorquodale to the team. June will be active in the Sample Safety Team from September onwards, and will be available through the regular ISIS Sample Safety Team email to discuss experiments at that time.

Safety for Biological Samples

The BioLab manager Ludmila Mee has produced a chart to help explain the submissions process for the safety case for biological samples for review by the ISIS Sample Safety Team (below).

Biosafety Chart Oct 2023.png

A chart for submission of biologal samples to the ISIS Sample Safety Team. To expand to full size, please right click and open in a new tab. For more details, please contact the BioLab manager, or check the link here.

Please note that when working with biological objects in a multi-user laboratory space such as ISIS, it is important to be aware of any bio-compatibility/incompatibility with surrounding samples. For example, it is especially important to avoid contamination from bacteriaphages when growing bacteria, so be aware of any cross contamination from other users.

Further details of Bio-Safety can be found on the Biolab webpage.


As promised in the last issue, there is new guidance for shipping. This will serve to list the process of shipping samples to and from ISIS.

Of particular note is the difficulty of shipping batteries, especially those containing:

  • Lithium
    • Metals
    • Ions
  • Sodium
    • Metals
    • Ions
  • Potassium
    • Metals
    • Ions
If you have any battery samples that need to be shipped, either to or from ISIS, please talk to the ISIS Sample Safety Team  as soon as possible to give them sufficient time to avoid delays with your samples. Please do ensure that you have discussed your battery samples with the ISIS Sample Safety Team before shipping them to us.

For further information, please contact the ISIS Sample Safety Team.

Technician Commitment

Many of you will already be aware of the Technician Commitment, launched in 2017 and designed for Technicians, which aims to raise the profile of technical work and workers in the UK, of which UKRI/STFC is a supporter.

Recently, a £5.5m national Institute of Technical Skills and Strategy (ITSS) has been launched, for which they recently opened applications to be on the UK Technical Council, and received over 150 applications, the specialised panel finally choosing 14 members to be on the council to represent the voice of technicians in higher education and research nationally; one of these was our very own BioLab manager, Ludmila Mee, so please join us in a hearty congratulations to Ludmila!

In addition to this, Erik Johnson is on the STFC Council.

Support Labs Strategy Project Update

A strategy project is currently underway to assess the current array of support laboratories and facilities available to the user programme.

The support laboratories at ISIS provide a wide range of facilities in support of the science programme for the Muon and Neutron instruments. The direction of laboratory growth/expansion and equipping thereof must be dictated by the science programme. The suite currently includes the Material Characterisation Lab, the Deuteration Lab, Crystal Growth Lab, Biology Labs and a Catalysis Lab. The users of the labs make use of facilities such as sample prep, sample screening, supplementary measurements and in-house and collaborative research. Evolution in the science programme has led to a growing demand in recent years for offline laboratory space, in addition to instrumentation (prep and analytical) and the provision of lab facilities should reflect this. This project aims to highlight the future opportunities of the support laboratories for the next 5-10 years, keeping pace with ISIS, its strategy and the direction of the science programme.


The objective of the strategy project is to scrutinise known and expose future proposal ideas for further laboratory development at ISIS establishing the strategy for the next 5-10 years ensuring ISIS is ready for Endeavour and ISIS 2.

​Support Labs​​​ Group

Support Laboratories Website.

Biology Laboratories (BioLabs)

The BioLabs have new liquid chromatography equipment and news about the studentships going on in the labs.

For more information, please click here to access the BioLabs page.

Chemistry And Sample Prep Labs (Prep Labs)

The Prep Labs have concluded their removal of legacy chemicals and equipment.

For more information, please click here to access the Prep Labs page.

Deuteration Facility (D-Lab)

The D-Lab have a new lab manager: please join us in welcoming Dr. June McCorquodale to the group.

For more information, please click here to access the D-Lab page.

Hydrogen Catalysis Lab

The Hydrogen and Catalysis Lab has chosen to highlight their new Quantachrome iSorb HP2 equipment.

For more information, please click here to access the Hydrogen Catalysis Lab page.

Materials Characterisation Laboratory (MCL)

The MCL has chosen to highlight several papers as science highlights for the lab.

For more information, please click here to access the MCL page.

Sample Environ​​ment​ Group

Sample Environment Group Website.


The Cryogenics team have chosen to highlight several ongoing projects, a new paper, an interesting visit from a YouTuber and some official recognition for their team members.

For more information, please click here to access the Cryogenics page.

Pressure and Furnace​

The Pressure and Furnace team has chosen to highlight works undertaken on the IMAT beamline.

For more information, please click here to access the Pressure and Furnace page.

Soft Matter

The Soft Matter team has chosen to highlight the work conducted by their new member of staff, Harry Oliver, who had previously completed an apprenticeship with the team.

For more information, please click here to access the Soft Matter page.

Contact: Nye, Daniel (STFC,RAL,ISIS)