ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments gives unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale.
We support a national and international community of more than 3000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology and materials engineering, catalysis and polymers, and on to fundamental studies of materials.
We use the technique of neutron scattering. Neutrons tell us where atoms are and how they are moving. By studying how materials work at the atomic level, we can better understand their every-day properties – and so make new materials tailor-made for particular uses. ISIS also produces muons for use in a similar way, providing additional information on how materials work at the atomic scale.
From the original vision over 30 years ago, ISIS has become one of the UK’s major scientific achievements. ISIS has changed the way the world does neutron scattering research. In particular, ISIS is an accelerator-based neutron source. Neutrons are produced when an energetic proton beam from the ISIS synchrotron accelerator hits a heavy metal target – a process called ‘spallation’. New neutron sources in other countries are based on the ISIS accelerator method of neutron production.
New neutron sources are being based on ISIS ideas and technology. Recent research has impacted on:
ISIS, which is located at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, supports a very large and diverse national and international community of more than 2,000 scientists.
ISIS is strongly placed to address many of the major scientific challenges of the 21st century whilst at the same time building a strong foundation of knowledge for the future.
The neutron and muon beams produced at ISIS are used in research areas ranging from clean energy and the environment to pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology and IT.
ISIS attracts international investment and creates very successful partnerships with local science, engineering and technology businesses.
ISIS uses the technique of neutron scattering to study materials at the atomic level. Neutrons are able to tell us where atoms are and how they are moving.
By studying how materials work at the atomic-level, we can better understand their every-day properties – and so make new materials tailor-made for specific applications.
ISIS also uses muons in a similar way, providing additional information on atomic-level properties. Many researchers who use neutrons or muons at ISIS also use x-rays as well to provide complementary information.
Its seven new instruments are enabling detailed studies of advanced materials, polymers, soaps and bioscience systems. A further four instruments are presently under construction to provide new experimental capabilities.
Below are some downloadable infographics which illustrate some aspects of the work ISIS undertakes. Simply select the image and a full size version will be displayed which can be saved for later use.
Detailed information on how ISIS works and what it does can be found on the ISIS website. This also contains information on how to apply for beamtime at ISIS.
ISIS has been performing experiments with neutrons since 1984. The 27 neutron and muon instruments on its first target station have produced between them over 10,000 scientific publications.
More recently, a new neutron target station has been constructed which produced first neutrons in 2008.