Target Station 2 Updates
15 Sep 2009



Updates on the development of Target Station 2


Let instr​​​ument ​​​​​online. All 7 TS2 instruments operating!

7 August 2009

The biggest instrument at TS2 started operating on Wednesday afternoon. Let instrument scientist Rob Bewley was delighted to be able to start commissioning after waiting over 6 years for ideas to become reality. Let is the purple instrument on the west side of TS2 next to Nimrod (yellow).

Initial commissioning of the incident beam disc chopper systems has started. Below are two graphs that show the neutron spectrum on a beam monitor with and without the choppers spinning. Next week, the first set of 4 metre long detectors will be installed as well as additional choppers.

With the biggest instrument starting to collect data, all 7 instruments are now operating at TS2!


TS-2 Proj​​ect has been finished!

Tuesday 21 July 2009

At its meeting on 1 July 2009 the TS2 Project Board formally agreed that the Second Target Station project was complete, with the target station and six of the seven instruments operational and the seventh (Let) about to start commissioning.

This is a tremendous achievement - after six years of hard work and dedication. 

"My thanks go to all ISIS staff - everyone has contributed to the success of TS2 either directly, or indirectly through keeping TS1 operating, and producing world class science," said ISIS Director, Andrew Taylor.

"A special acknowledgement and thanks is due to Harry Jones who, as TS2 project manager, has watched over every detail for every day of those six years."


First users at the ISIS Second Target Station

Wednesday 27 May 2009

After five years of construction, the ISIS Second Target Station has opened its doors for the first scheduled experiment.

Professor Jeff Penfold, the Chief Scientist for the ISIS Second Target Station is leading the team from Oxford University and ISIS. The joint team will carry out the experiment on the Inter reflectometer. They expect the results to lead to significant advances in understanding the workings of everything from cell membranes to the practical chemistry of fabric conditioners.

 “We plan to explore for the first time how the layered structures formed by surfactants at a liquid surface dis-assemble in real time," said Professor Penfold. "When I first started using neutron scattering for these kind of chemistry studies in the early 1990s, experiments such as these would have been unimaginable. The new optimized instruments on the second target station now allow us to see in a minute what used to take a day. It’s a real boost for studies in soft matter and biochemistry and will allow us to take a major step forward in our understanding.”

Neutrons play a vital role in offering analysis techniques for research on subjects as varied as clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology, materials engineering and IT.

“This first experiment on one of our seven new instruments is a very important milestone in the project and a significant day for the global science community," said Dr Andrew Taylor, ISIS Director.

"The Second Target Station builds on the success and expertise we have developed over the past 20 years in the UK at ISIS and allows us to move further into the areas of soft matter, advanced materials and bioscience.  We will be carrying out fundamental research that will shape the technological advances of tomorrow.”

Professor Keith Mason, Chief Executive of the STFC said:


"The start of research on the ISIS Second Target Station is a major day for UK science, and demonstrates the wisdom of long-term government investment in research. The ISIS team can be justifiably proud of their achievement in delivering this major new research facility on time and on budget. ISIS Second Target Station will play a major role in delivering on STFC's vision to maximise the benefits of our research for the UK and global communities’’.

Neutron beams at ISIS can be used like “super x-rays” to study materials at the atomic level. Neutron scattering experiments allow the location of atoms and the forces between them to be measured. ISIS has been doing this since 1984 and has established itself as a world leader in the physical and life sciences.

The first experiment at the ISIS Second Target Station is the start of a £400k major new research programme funded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) awarded to Professor Jeffrey Penfold (ISIS, STFC) and Professor Bob Thomas (University of Oxford). The research will use neutron scattering techniques to reveal how multilayer structures at surfaces and interfaces can self-assemble. These structures are found in a wide range of applications in biology and technology including aspects of soft lubrication (hair and fabric conditioners) and bio-lubrication.

The Second Target Station Project serves an international community of over 2,000 scientists. It was made possible by a grant to the Science and Technology Facilities Council from The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills through the Large Facilities Capital Fund.


ISIS pe​​​ople in t​​​he news

Thursday 21 May 2009

Over the past weeks, people from across ISIS have appeared in magazines and newspapers talking about their work at ISIS and the Second Target Station Project.

Plant engineers

The "extreme plant" operated routinely by ISIS caught the attention of journalist Brian Tinham. He got to grips with everything about ISIS with the help of Duncan Couchman, ISIS Ancillary Plant Manager, and Alan Stevens, Head of ISIS Accelerator Operations.

Professional Engineering

Engineers Hanna Fikremarium, Chris Benson and Sean Higgins featured in Professional Engineering, journal of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering. Hanna worked on the Inter beamline, the first to receive neutrons last August. Chris worked on the £5 million Wish instrument. Both of them found the four year design and build a rewarding challenge, but seeing the instruments working was absolutely fantastic. Sean Higgins also adds that the energy and diversity of people at ISIS makes it a very special working environment.

Location and Timing

Timing and controls systems across ISIS were featured in Pinpoint the magazine for the Location and Timing Knowledge Transfer Network. ISIS Controls Group Leader, Bob Mannix met with the journalist Peter Lancaster and explained how the timing signals, the 'heartbeat' of ISIS, are used to trigger equipment to operate. In a strange coincidence, they met in the same room at ISIS that the journalist had worked in 25 years earlier.


Neutron man grapples with the invisibles

Most recently, ISIS Director, Andrew Taylor has been elevated to superhero status by The Daily Telegraph with a long article in their Public Life section. 'Neutron man' Andrew talks about his career in neutrons and how ISIS has stayed ahead of the world in neutron scattering for the last 20 years, and intends to do so for the next 20 with the addition of the ISIS Second Target Station. "Our research underpins the technologies of tomorrow to deliver benefits to the nation," he says. With the TS2 project completed on time and on budget, he is certain that ISIS will continue to give academics working in polymer science through to high-temperature superconductivity a lead over their competitors.


Six instruments now operati​ng at the ISIS Second Target Station

Thursday 26 March 10:30

Two new instruments, Wish and Sans2d, have been successfully brought online over the past week at the Second Target Station meaning that a total of six out of seven of the Phase 1 instruments are now operating. This is tremendous progress for the project and marks the start of the transition of the project from construction to operations.

First neutrons on Wish 23 March 2009

First neutrons on Wish were collected on Moday night. The silicon powder diffraction pattern was collected in just half an hour, summing all the detector pixels on one detector panel. Wish currently has 2 banks of detectors working out of 5, a total of 304 detector tubes each with 128 pixels. This gives a data file of 148 MB and the plots below were generated from the new Mantid software developed specifically to handle these huge data files.

This data collection on Wish is an incredible technical achievement and represents just how good the instrument design, engineering, data acquisition electronics and installation. But this is just the tip of the iceberg for this instrument. Wish views the decoupled moderator, which is currently filled with helium gas following the earlier decision to avoid anneals or charge changes on either moderator during the remainder of this run cycle.When the moderator is operating at its design specification, some estimates indicate factors of 500-700 improvement over this initial data.

First neutrons for Sans2d

First neutrons were also sent down the Sans2d instrument this week allowing scientific commisioning to begin. Sans2d has complex incident beam optics incorporating supermirrors, changeable collimations, inflatable seals and baffles. Neutron signals were measured in the incident beam monitors. Over the coming weeks the detectors will be installed and commissioned.

First spin echo measurement on Offspec Friday 20 March 20:00

Offspec has measured its first spin-echo signal at ISIS, a real triumph for the team. Offspec commisioning will now continue witht he instrument operating in its designed mode of operation. This is the first time that a spin-echo signal has ever been measured at a pulsed neutron source. The polarisers are working well and reaching 84% polarisation.

Offspec is an advanced reflectometer giving access to nanometre length scales and allowong new surface structures such as patterned data storage media, bone porosity and biological membranes to be investigated.


On Nimrod, tests with the beam colliators during cmmisioning experiments have shown that is is possible to shape the beam spectrum and cut out the contribution from the water pre-moderator in line with calculations.This confirms that the beamline will offer great flexibility for new studies of liquids and disordered materials. Contrast variation samples have been measured as some of the first steps in commissining the instrument.


Polref has begun routine commissioning with polarised neutrons and can successfully measure flipping ratios.