The ISIS Neutron and Muon Source is a world-leading research centre located at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. Using the different neutron and muon scattering instruments we are researching life science and physical science materials. With this method, we can gain unique understanding of the properties of these samples on an atomic scale by looking at the nuclei.
We are a national and international research community looking at a diverse range of subjects. These range from current challenges like batteries for renewable energies, carbon capture technology, and novel materials, over medical and pharmaceutical research to fundamental studies of materials. To support this diverse range of research ISIS is home to a staff of around 500 staff from different technical backgrounds and supports a wide range on international scientific activity!
Neutrons carry no charge and as such offer the unique advantage of not interacting with the electron shell of an atom but instead penetrating to the nucleus of the atom. This allows us to study the behaviour of materials at the atomic level and to penetrate samples deeply without causing radiation damage to the sample. Additionally light atoms such as hydrogen can be observed using neutrons, which is difficult to do using X-ray methods.
The Molecular Spectroscopy Group operates and develops a range of innovative neutron spectrometers. These can probe the motions and dynamics of different materials, which are relevant for understanding or adjusting their macroscopic properties. IRIS is a time-of-flight inverted-geometry spectrometer, and is the instrument that will be part of this project. Experiments on IRIS focus on the dynamic properties of samples by performing quasi-elastic and low-energy, high-resolution spectroscopy.
An in-situ calorimeter has been developed for the IRIS spectrometer, to allow for calorimetric measurements while a quasi-elastic neutron spectroscopy (QENS) experiment is performed. In a standard QENS, experiment an initial scan is performed over a large temperature range, in order to probe for dynamical transitions. These changes can be caused by structural and/or thermodynamic changes. In the case of thermodynamic changes, a calorimetric measurement is normally performed ex-situ. The aim of this calorimeter is to perform the calorimetric experiment simultaneously with the QENS experiment, thus the same sample is measured under the same conditions.
Sample cells for liquids and powders have been developed and tested and a dedicated member of our team is now required to perform final tests on the powder cells, as well as in-situ testing of the setup to establish it as an available sample stick for the IRIS instrument and hence part of the ISIS user programme.
During this project you will learn about amorphous, crystalline, and thermodynamic properties of different materials, neutron spectroscopy and diffraction, sample preparation and characterisation, data analysis and interpretation. You will work with different ISIS teams (scientists, engineers and technicians) and gain hands on experience regarding laboratory work and running experiments, as well as working on real scientific issues!
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