ISIS hits the target

The ISIS Second Target Station Project has extracted protons into the new proton transfer beamline from the existing ISIS accelerator and delivered them to the new target


The ISIS Second Target Station Project has achieved the major milestone of extracting protons into the new proton transfer beamline from the existing ISIS accelerator and delivering them to the new target station ahead of schedule.



The £140m Second Target Station Project, based at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, will double the capacity of the world-leading ISIS research centre and significantly increase its capability for nanoscience applications. It will open for experiments in Autumn 2008 and is expected to operate for at least 20 years.



The high energy beam of protons will be used to release neutrons from a tungsten target. By scattering these neutrons off sample materials, scientists can visualise the positions and motions of atoms. The technique is non-destructive and can be used to study everything from delicate biological specimens to priceless archaeological artefacts.



Prof Keith Mason, CEO of the STFC said: ‘The ISIS Second Target Station will keep us at the forefront of materials research, enabling UK scientists to make breakthroughs that will underpin the next generation of super-fast computers, data storage, sensors, pharmaceutical and medical applications, materials processing, catalysis, biotechnology and clean energy technology.’



During the test, bunches of protons travelling at 84 per cent of the speed of light were transferred from the circular ISIS synchrotron accelerator into the 143m long proton beamline. They were guided by a sequence of 57 steering and focusing magnets onto a graphite test target located inside the new target station. The arrival of the protons was detected by measuring the electrical current induced in the target and the beam profiles along the length of the beam line were checked.