Neutron Scattering Group

This is an IOP special interest group, which is a community of IOP members focused on a particular discipline, application or area of interest. 

Special interest groups allow members to connect and share knowledge and ideas. The IOP funds groups to deliver a range of activities including events, prizes and bursaries. All of our groups are driven by members. 

We are jointly hosted by the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Chemistry to represent UK users of neutron scattering techniques. 

About the group

We formed in 1972 for scientists interested in the use of neutron scattering.

Neutron scattering to study the structure and dynamics of systems has continuously increased since neutrons became available in reasonable quantities from research reactors and accelerator based sources.

Neutrons are used in academic research and industry. They are used in:

  • physics
  • chemistry
  • materials science
  • geology
  • archaeology
  • catalysis
  • biology
  • engineering

In the UK, neutron scattering has been extensively supported by ISIS Neutron and Muon source at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). 

The UK is a major partner in the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble, France, which offers complementary instruments at a reactor source. 

It is also funding and supporting the building of the European Spallation Source in Lund, Sweden. This will be the most powerful spallation source worldwide when it comes online in 2023.

What the group does

As a special interest, member-driven group, we are engaged in three major facilities and represent the interests of UK users of scientific neutron radiation to local and international neutron sources.

We make sure that UK science is disseminated at national and international conferences. 

A principal function of our group is to make information about neutron facilities available to a wide audience. This is for newer entrants to the field and those in related subjects who want to use neutron scattering techniques from time to time.

We organise and contribute to conferences and schools on neutron scattering research. These include:

  • the Gordon Research Conferences on Neutron Scattering 2018 and 2019
  • the Faraday Joint Interest Group Conference in 2017
  • the biennial Oxford School on Neutron Scattering
silhouettes of a group of people with backdrop of equations

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Group physics prizes

BTM Willis Prize

In 2007, we established the BTM Willis Prize to honour our founding chair, Professor Terry Willis.

The prize is awarded to an early career scientist who has worked less than 12 years since their first degree.

It recognises a single outstanding piece of work, or a longer-term coherent body of work, on the application of neutron scattering to a significant problem in:

  • physics
  • chemistry
  • materials science
  • earth science
  • life sciences
  • engineering 

Alternatively, the prize is awarded to recognise a major development in neutron scattering instrumentation or techniques.

Penfold-Thomas Poster Prize

We award an annual poster prize for contributions made by an undergraduate or postgraduate student at our Science Day.

Learn more about our prizes.

Group events 

Read about our meetings on our website.

Find group events on the IOP events site.


October 2017 (PDF, 147MB)
August 2016 (PDF, 1.38MB)
March 2014 (PDF, 990KB)

Committee and contacts

Professor Felix Fernandez-Alonso (chair)
Dr Katharina Edkins (secretary)
Dr Elisabetta Canetta (treasurer)
Dr Yuri Gerelli (ILL representative)
Dr Melissa Sharp (ESS representative)
Dr Sanghamitra Mukhopadhyay (ISIS representative)
Dr Andrew Mccluskey (early career representative)
Professor Don Paul
Professor Jayne Lawrence
Dr Richard Campbell
Dr David Barlow
Dr Eddie Cussen

Find more on the current committee