Phase Two instruments
10 Sep 2009







The success of the seven neutron instruments operating at the ISIS Second Target Station has attracted a further £21 million from the UK government to add four more instruments to the suite. The instruments will add distinctive new capability for neutron scattering in Europe and open up new areas of science​​.


ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. The suite of 27 neutron and 6 muon instruments allow the properties of materials to be understood on the scale of atoms. Research on subjects as varied as clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology, materials engineering and IT are carried out every year by an international community of over 2000 scientists.

During 2009, the £145 million ISIS second target station project was completed adding new scientific capability and doubling capacity for experiments at ISIS. The new target station produces extremely bright beams of low-energy neutrons enabling the ISIS science programme to expand in the key research areas of soft matter, advanced materials and bio-science.

Seven neutron instruments are operational and all are producing research papers. Recent highlights have included studies of surfactant additives for supercritical carbon dioxide, fundamental physics of neutron reflection, research into hydrogels for surgical applications and providing the first data to determine the orientation and bonding of benzene rings in adjacent molecules.  

In March 2011, a £21 million investment was announced by UK Universities and Science Minister David Willetts to build four new instruments together with the necessary advanced detectors, electronics, software, and changes to the target reflector system . This funding will be supplemented by contributions from ISIS partner countries.

The four new instruments are:

  • Chipir
    A strategic facility for the aerospace and computing industries for fast neutron testing of electronics
  • Zoom
    Small-angle scattering instrument with polarisation for advanced materials, magnetism, environmental science, pharmacy and healthcare
  • Larmor
    Advanced techniques instrument for polymer science, bio-materials and food science
  • Imat
    Neutron imaging and materials testing for power generation, civil engineering, transportation and aerospace

Chipir and Imat will give ISIS scientific capability that is in short supply worldwide and currently unavailable at ISIS. Chipir will give the UK and Europe a strategic facility for fast neutron testing of electronics. Imat will offer unique neutron imaging capability. Larmor and Zoom will extend the range of techniques available from the ISIS instrument suite.

The instruments will be built and brought into operation over the four years from 2011 to 2015.