The ISIS neutron and muon facility has enjoyed strong interactions with the Indian neutron community from when operations began in 1983. India was the first international partner and contributed to the construction of the IRIS spectrometer (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre). Since then Indian researchers have made an impact in a broad spectrum of research ranging from collaborations with industrial giant Tata Steel who have used the Engin-X instrument to improve their products, to fundamental research into nanoparticles, technologically relevant multiferroics and superconductivity.
In 2016 STFC signed an agreement with the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR, Bengaluru) to contribute to a new instrument at ISIS (Zoom) and to provide access for Indian users to the facility. This £2M investment over five years was funded by the Indian Nanomission, part of India's Department of Science and Technology, which aims to foster, promote and develop all aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology with the potential to tackle global challenges.
Zoom will be welcoming first users from Autumn 2018 The enhanced capabilities of Zoom will provide insights into how drugs interact with the body as well as about important industrial materials, including polymers, emulsions, metals and alloys. Involvement in the Zoom instrument development has also allowed Indian scientists to enhance their skills in the area of neutron scattering and complement the capabilities of its national facilities.
Since the agreement was signed in 2016 the number of proposals from Indian researchers has increased substantially from less than 10 in 2014 to nearly 100 in 2017. India is in the top ten list of research publishing nations and produces over 2.5 million STEM graduates each year.
“It's fantastic to see the power of neutrons and muons working for materials, engineering applications and a whole lot of other things for society. I am very happy to see the participation of the Indian scientific community in the facility of Zoom in particular."
Prof Sharma, ISIS visitor book