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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 9 April, 2003, 09:11 GMT 10:11 UK
Boost for British neutron lab
A leading British particle laboratory is to get a 100m government grant for a new wing.

Scientists use the facility to study matter
It will keep the facility in Oxfordshire - already the most powerful in the world - at the forefront of neutron research.

The expansion is on wasteland at the existing site within the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Didcot.

It will allow cold, or low energy, neutrons to be produced, enabling scientists from all over the world to probe the structure and dynamics of matter.

A new range of technological applications are envisaged, from super-fast computers, data storage and sensors to pharmaceuticals.

"We're able to see where atoms are and what they do," Professor Jeff Penfold, project scientist for the new wing, told BBC News Online.

"This will be in a range of technological applications including soft matter, biomaterials and advanced materials."

Investment strategy

It is one of the largest ever awards of government funding for a single science project.

Lord Sainsbury, Science and Innovation Minister, said: "This 100m for the ISIS laboratory is a key part of our investment strategy in major facilities for scientists in this country.

"It will keep the UK at the forefront of neutron research for many years."

A second target station is needed to meet the needs of research and industry.

The existing facility hosts 500 academic groups a year and cannot expand any further.

Building work is expected to start in the next few weeks and should be finished by the end of 2007.

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