Rutherford Appleton Laboratory


Applied Science Division

The Applied Science Division (ASD) offers a range of key skills and technologies of long-term value to the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). These include magnet and materials technology, cryogenics, energy technologies, high power target engineering and advanced engineering design and analysis.

ASD undertakes a wide range of projects in conjunction with STFC departments, universities and science funding agencies, both within the UK and overseas.

In addition, ASD works directly with industry in consultative and collaborative roles.

Project Engineering Group

The Project Engineering Group’s professional mechanical engineers and designers work within a quality management system and in accordance with the STFC Project Management Framework.

Based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), the group carries out project management, finite element analysis, and all aspects of mechanical engineering and conceptual design. We have a successful history of working on large projects in collaborative teams in the UK and around the world.

Cryogenics and Magnetics Group

The Cryogenics and Magnetics Group is engaged in a wide range of activities in the areas of long life closed cycle cooling systems for spacecraft, superconducting magnet design and manufacture, cryostat design and manufacture, and medical applications of cryogenics.

Recent projects include the development of miniature closed cycle refrigerators with industry for the European Space Agency, the development of a cryo-probe for the ablation of cancer tumours and the development of undulators for particle physics and light sources. The group is heavily engaged in the Muon Ionisation Cooling Experiment (MICE) project, working with the University of Oxford to design and procure superconducting magnets as well as cryogenics for the hydrogen delivery system. It is also commissioning the pion decay solenoid for the same experiment.

The European Southern Observatory awarded the group the contract to build the cryogenic systems for the 66 antenna ALMA telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile, all of which have been successfully delivered.

Energy Research Unit

The Energy Research Unit (ERU) is a multidisciplinary group which has a long record of carrying out ground-breaking research in new and renewable energy sources. The unit, based at the RAL, works closely with industry, UK higher education institutions and European collaborators.

For further information visit the ERU website.

Composites and Materials Testing Group

The Composites and Materials Testing Group has facilities and expertise in the manufacture and testing of materials in extreme environments, particularly adhesives and composites for cryogenic and in high ionising radiation.

Our suite of mechanical and thermal testing equipment is used to support STFC’s projects as well as our in house technology development, for example manufacture of superconducting magnets.

High Power Targets Group

The High Power Targets Group specialises in advanced simulation techniques and experimental programmes in the development of solutions to the challenges presented by international particle accelerator based facilities where a high power particle beam is required to interact with a target material, for example for the production of pions for neutrino facilities, neutrons, radioactive beams, positrons or for charged particle beam dumps.

Technical Systems Group

The Technical Systems Group, based at RAL, works in partnership with departments across the STFC, with specific responsibility for the procurement, fabrication, assembly, integration, installation and commissioning of complex mechanical systems.

Technical support is provided in the following areas:

  • manufacturing and project support
  • inspection and metrology
  • outside manufacture and procurement.

Manufacturing and project support

In addition to maintaining a manufacturing service, the ASD offers support for projects by providing direct effort and up-to-date precision machining facilities through its main mechanical workshops at RAL.

Inspection and metrology

With a suite of state-of-the-art equipment, the facility can meet the ever increasing demands for high precision measurement required in scientific applications.

We also offer expert technical assistance with geometric and dimensional inspection, metrology and calibration.

Outside manufacture

We have an extensive list of contacts in the mechanical manufacturing industry, which, combined with our knowledge of their capacities and capabilities, ideally places us to source your manufacturing needs, ranging from prototypes to volume batch production.

Technical support is also available from T@DL: Engineering Technology Centre and UK ATC: Engineering Support Group.


Applied Science Division – Anna Orlowska

Telephone: 01235 445717


Cryogenics and Magnetics Group – Martin Crook

Telephone: 01235 446149


Energy Research Unit – Jim Halliday

Telephone: 01235 445559


Composites and Materials Testing Group – Simon Canfer

Telephone: 01235 445370


High Power Targets Group – Chris Densham

Telephone: 01235 446273


Project Engineering Group – Ian Wilmut

Telephone: 01235 446002


Technical Systems Group – Richard Smith

Telephone: 01235 445325


Last updated: 31 March 2022

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