Science using neutrons

The development of innovative materials will be key in addressing many of society’s grand challenges. The unique properties of neutrons are aiding the design of advanced materials by providing insight into atomic- and molecular-level structures and interactions. 

Climate change and the environment

Human activity has widespread and sometimes disastrous effects on the environment, many of which are linked to climate change. The versatility of neutron techniques is allowing for better understanding of our climate and environment, as well as progress in developing cleaner technologies and processes, including emissions reduction, catalysis and carbon sequestration.


Neutrons contribute significantly to the development of a sustainable energy economy by exploring novel materials and technologies. Examples include safe hydrogen storage systems, next-generation batteries and improved materials for nuclear, solar and wind power. Many energy materials contain light elements, such as hydrogen, lithium and oxygen, that are ideal to study with neutrons.


Neutron techniques are particularly valuable for the development of safer, lighter and more resilient highperformance materials that are needed by the transport sector. Neutrons also contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of products, materials and processes.


The sensitivity of neutrons to the biologically crucial hydrogen atoms, together with the powerful selective deuteration contrast method, enables major advancements in a wide-ranging area of health, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Information and communication technologies

The future of information technology is quantum. Neutrons will be key to the discovery of new materials and to understanding their behaviour, further advancing the development of nextgeneration IT solutions.

Particle physics

Neutron particle physics challenges the Standard Model of particle physics and contributes to a deeper understanding of the universe in which we live.

Heritage science

The non-destructive nature of neutrons makes them valuable investigative tools for historical artefacts and fossils, providing insights into the place of origin and date of manufacture of a sample, in addition to how it was produced and what it is was made from.