Omotayo Gbadamosi loads a sample into an instrumentUWindsor graduate student Omotayo Gbadamosi loads a sample into Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Neutron spin echo instrument.

Organization a leap forward for neutron research

The University of Windsor is part of a new not-for-profit research organization, Neutrons Canada, established to lead a critically needed research infrastructure program.

Led by McMaster University and the University of Saskatchewan as co-chairs of the Canadian Neutron Initiative, 15 member universities, including Windsor, have come together to incorporate the organization.

“Access to neutrons is necessary for studying and creating 21st century materials,” says Drew Marquardt, president of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering, which represents researchers who use neutron beams. “The formation of Neutrons Canada is a leap forward for our research fields.”

Dr. Marquardt, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry cross-appointed to the Department of Physics, says Canadian researchers have been struggling since the country’s major neutron source for the study of materials was shut down in 2018.

“Access to neutrons is essential for our members’ research addressing challenges such as making better batteries for storing clean energy for vehicles or the electricity grid, understanding and treating diseases such as cancer, and making discoveries for quantum technologies,” he says.

“We celebrate the creation of Neutrons Canada as a major step forward for our research fields.”

The new organization’s purpose is to govern, manage, and represent Canada’s infrastructure program for research and development with neutron beams. This program will include international partnerships that secure access to world-leading neutron laboratories, operation of Canada’s domestic neutron beam facilities, and national initiatives for future neutron sources — each of which enables Canadians to address major social and economic challenges.

The University of Windsor has been part of the Canadian Neutron Initiative working group since 2019 and was the third university to join along with McMaster and Saskatchewan. The leadership of the working group also includes the the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering, the University of Alberta, and Dalhousie University.

The Nov. 9 announcement builds on $57 million in investments, from federal and provincial sources and other project partners, in neutron beam infrastructure to establish a national neutron beam lab at the McMaster nuclear reactor and to gain access to neutron sources in the United States.

In addition, Neutrons Canada is expected to play a critical role in the development and operation of a compact neutron source at the University of Windsor representing what interim vice-president for research and innovation Chris Houser calls a "transformative moment for research in Canada.”

“We are excited to be part of Neutrons Canada and helping to lead materials research across Canada,” says Dr. Houser.

For more details read the news release.