The ISIS pulsed neutron and muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences. ISIS produces beams of neutrons and muons that allow scientists to study materials at the atomic level using a suite of instruments, often described as ‘super-microscopes’. It supports a national and international community who use neutrons and muons for research in physics, chemistry, materials science, geology, engineering and biology.

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.

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.

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:

  • the breakdown of environmental contamination by natural enzymes;
  • disordered materials, glasses and liquids - central to optical communication;
  • waste storage and management.