What does ISIS do?
14 Apr 2009



Learn how experiments can show us where atoms are and what they do. 

​​​​Neutrons can probe engineering components such as turbine blades


​Neutrons play a definitive role in understanding the material world. They can show where atoms are and what atoms do. ​

​By scattering neutrons off sample materials, scientists can visualise the positions and motions of atoms and make discoveries that have the potential to affect almost every aspect of our lives.

Neutron scattering is a unique research and analysis technique for exploring the structure and dynamics of materials at the nanoscale. The process of neutron scattering is non-destructive and produces results that cannot be achieved by other techniques.

Neutrons are used to study the dynamics of chemical reactions at interfaces for chemical and biochemical engineering, food sciences, drug synthesis and molecular biology.

Neutrons can probe deep into solid objects such as turbine blades, gas pipelines and welds to give a unique microscopic insight into the strains and stresses that affect the operational lifetimes of these crucial engineering components.

Neutron studies of nano-particles, low-dimensional systems and magnetism impact upon next generation computer and IT technology, data storage, sensors and superconducting materials.

ISIS is strongly placed to help provide solutions to major sociological and technological problems of the 21st Century. ISIS plays a vital role in the portfolio of analysis techniques used by researchers for areas as varied as energy, nanotechnology, materials processing, drug design and pharmaceuticals, bio-technology and green technology for a clean environment. Examples include studies of:

  • hydrogen absorption in new materials designed for hydrogen storage and clean energy
  • the structure of chemical polymorphs in pharmaceutical compounds
  • the breakdown of environmental contamination by natural enzymes
  • disordered materials, glasses and liquids - central to optical communication
  • bio-compatible materials for healthcare
  • waste storage and management.​