The top 10 most talked about ISIS papers of 2022
09 Jan 2023
- Katie Burke



2022 is complete! Let’s take a look back at the ISIS research that got the highest engagement over the last year to celebrate all the scientific leaps and bounds that ISIS contributed to.




These papers are ranked by their Altmetric score. This considers social media, mainstream media coverage, citations, discussion in blogs and other activities that make an impact on the public's understanding of science and gives the article a ​numerical score. The score is generated by not just focussing on the articles' citations but instead judges the influence of the article using modern methods to best calculate the impact it has on the public's understanding of science.

1. Exceptional fracture toughness of CrCoNi-based medium- and high-entropy alloys at 20 kelvin

Our top paper of 2022, with an altmetric score of 578! A new alloy was found to be amongst the toughest ever recorded, even at extreme low temperatures. Researchers studied the mechanical properties in Cr-Co-Ni at temperatures as low as -253°C. Using our Engin-X instrument, they were able to uncover the mechanisms that occur during crack formation, vital for analysing strength and ductility. Through understanding them we can improve the future of materials that can be used under extreme conditions. Read more in our science highlight “Extreme toughness at ultra-cold temperatures" here.

TMAO image square.png

2. The ability of trimethylamine N-oxide to resist pressure induced perturbations to water structure.

Our second-place article from 2022 has an altmetric score of 161. This study was based around one key molecule: TMAO. Thought to be the secret behind life in the highly pressurised depths of the ocean, biophysicists from Leeds university used neutrons to investigate just how important this molecule could be. Read more in our science highlight “Life Under Pressure".


3. An oomycete NLP cytolysin forms transient small pores in lipid membranesOomycete.jpg

​Number three on our list is a delve into plant microbiology, exploring the impact that the plant toxin NLP can have on global food production. Using ISIS, they were able to analyse the damage NLP causes to plant cells, specifically discovering the creation of cracks in the cell membrane. Using this in-depth knowledge of the destructive process can help us prevent future damage on global food supply. Read our Science Highlight or the UKRI feature article for more information.

Dirty Windows.jpg4. The evolution of surface structure during simulated atmospheric ageing of nano-scale coatings of an organic surfactant aerosol proxy

​Next on our list is an investigation into the impact of aerosols on pollution, using neutron reflectometry to analyse coatings of organic surfactant aerosols. These can get stuck to surfaces such as windows, where the toxins can hang around for long periods of time. The researchers were able to not only study the nano-scale composition of these films and how their surface structure changed, but also mimic the behaviour of films over time. All together the research builds our understanding on the behaviour of toxic pollutants in an advance towards building eco-friendly habits.  Read more in our science highlight “Grimy windows could be harbouring toxic pollutants".  


5. Revealing the residual stress distribution in laser welded Eurofer97 steel by neutron diffraction and Bragg edge imaging

Halfway through our list with a score of 75, we have an investigation of Eurofer97 steel, used to build fusion reactors. Analysing the residual stress from laser welding, these researchers from the University of Surrey hope to improve the structural integrity for critical structural components of UK AEA fusion reactors. To find out more read the paper here.


6. Room-Temperature Type-II Multiferroic Phase Induced by Pressure in Cupric Oxide

In this “technically perfect" study, current and previous ISIS scientists demonstrated that a rather simple material (cupric oxide) can become multiferroic at room temperature. Our science highlight on this explains further how this was achieved. The hope is that this could lead to a new route to developing materials to be used as data storage materials


7. Structure and Spectroscopy of Iron Pentacarbonyl, Fe(CO)5Rainbow.jpg

​​At number 7, this paper reveals a discovery of a previously un-reported phase transition and found that it was ferroelastic. The paper authors, both based at ISIS, also observed all of the internal modes of vibration in the molecule for the first time . Read our science highlight “Surprises found in combined diffraction and spectroscopy study" to find out more.


8. Detection of trapped molecular O2 in a charged Li-rich cathode by Neutron PDF

For our next most engaged with paper of 2022, we have a study of lithium-ion batteries. Looking for a potential way to increase the energy density of these batteries, scientists from the University of Oxford used both neutron and X-ray techniques to detect molecular O2 trapped within the material. For more information find the paper here.

Twitter fridge.png9. Neutron imaging of an operational dilution refrigerator

This research was our most engaged-with tweet of 2022! Using our IMAT instrument, the ISIS cryogenics team were able to image what happens inside a dilution fridge as it cools. The cryogenics team use these fridges to create the ultra-low temperatures required for many of the experiments at ISIS. The analysis is a unique insight into the inner workings of the device, providing a valuable resource for its usage. Read more in our highlight “Looking inside a fridge that cools to ultra-low temperatures"

​10. Spin fluctuations associated with the collapse of the pseudogap in a cuprate superconductor

Number 10 on our list is a study into magnetic behaviours of a superconductor. Neutron scattering allowed researchers from Bristol and Grenoble to build a full picture of the spin fluctuations and phonons so that very low energy spin fluctuations could be isolated. By demonstrating the importance of spin fluctuations in understanding these materials, this was a step towards designing materials with higher superconducting temperatures. Find out more in our highlight “Spin fluctuations: another piece in the superconducting pu​zzle"

Read all of our science highlights here for more exciting advancements from ISIS. 

Contact: Burke, Katie (STFC,RAL,ISIS)