CINS Supports “Building a Future for Canadian Neutron Scattering, Phase 2”

Over the past two years, the University of Windsor has led a pan-Canadian effort to address Canada’s ongoing neutron needs in the CFI-IF 2023 competition. Considering previous engagements and the discussion at recent workshops, the CINS Executive Board proposed the following statement in support of the proposal to seek additional funding from CFI resources. In the subsequent online survey, CINS members were over 97% in favour of the statement.

CINS supports the University of Windsor’s multi-university, multi-disciplinary proposal to the CFI 2023 Innovation Fund (IF), entitled “Building a Future for Canadian Neutron Scattering, Phase 2,” because it is an essential contribution to the emerging national neutron strategy.

CINS has cooperated with the Canadian Neutron Initiative (CNI) working group in the development of a strategy to rebuild Canadian capacity for materials research with neutron beams. The Canadian neutron beam community is aligning around this strategy and is optimistic about the future, as demonstrated by active participation in the CNI national roundtable meeting in December 2020, and the CINS CFI & Road Map planning workshop in March 2021. The recent success of the pan-Canadian McMaster-led CFI 2020 IF award (i.e. Phase 1) represents a significant contribution towards the national neutron strategy.  This award will dramatically expand neutron scattering capacities at the McMaster Nuclear Reactor, Canada’s only domestic source of neutron beams, and provide increased access for Canadian scientists at high brightness neutron sources abroad. Although this is an excellent start towards addressing Canada’s neutron needs, much more investment is still required to meet the national demand.

“Building a Future for Canadian Neutron Scattering, Phase 2” has emerged as the natural next step for building Canadian neutron infrastructure, and the goals of this proposal already enjoy broad support among the user community. It advances key objectives of the national neutron strategy, including foreign partnerships that will leverage access to more critically-needed beam time and provide Canadians with world-leading capabilities complementary to those secured in Phase 1. It will also include the development of a prototype compact accelerator-based neutron source, which will enable Canada to explore the potential of this source technology and determine its place among the options for new domestic neutron sources in the long-term.  This prototype will add to Canada’s domestic neutron beam capabilities in the areas of neutron diffraction and Boron Neutron Capture Therapy. It will also play a unique role in developing Canadian expertise in pulsed neutron sources and instrumentation.

In order to brighten the future of neutron scattering for Canada, CINS will work with project leaders to organize and facilitate the necessary workshops to plan, and engage the community in, this project.

“Beam-based Probes of Condensed Matter Physics, Chemistry and Related Fields in Canada” Conference


The Centre for Molecular and Materials Science (CMMS) at TRIUMF is organizing a virtual 2-day workshop for Thursday, June 3rd and Friday, June 4th. The motivation for this workshop is that TRIUMF is engaged in developing a 20-year vision for the laboratory and our stakeholders. There have been several areas where the community would benefit from contributions from TRIUMF, both scientifically and on technical elements. This in turn would provide the community enhanced options for studies outside of the existing program in μSR and βNMR, building new capabilities and synergies. All these ideas need to be put in context of national and international developments and competitiveness.  

This workshop is designed to enable researchers, professors and scientists at Canadian institutions and facilities to present and discuss developments, and learn from ideas at other facilities and in other research areas. It will provide opportunities for coordination and identification of new concepts. The workshop will have sessions on the following topics:

Thursday, June 3rd (all times in PDT)
08:00 – 10:00 Session 1: Novel capabilities with μSR
10:30 – 12:30 Session 2: Neutron scattering (with an accelerator-based source)
13:00 – 15:00 Session 3: Polarized radioactive isotopes
15:30 – 17:30 Session 4: Muonic X-ray analysis and μ-SR

Friday, June 4th (all times in PDT)
08:00 – 10:00 Session 5: Positron annihilation spectroscopy
10:30 – 12:30 Session 6: THz spectroscopy in Canada
13:00 – 15:00 Session 7: Synchrotron light sources
15:30 – 17:30 Session 8: μSR idea and concepts

Each session will have three 30-minute talks followed by 30 minutes for discussion. Between each session there will be a 30-minute break, where additional discussions can occur. A link to the Indico site can be found here:  We are currently confirming the last of the invited speakers and contribution titles.

While there is no registration fee, registration is required for attendance to this conference. Please register by 11:59pm PST on Sunday, May 30th via the Indico site above. All registrants will be contacted via email on Monday, May 31st with the Zoom connection information.

Any questions can be directed to the Physical Sciences Division office at

CINS applauds the CFI award for the McMaster-led national project, “Building a Future for Canadian Neutron Scattering”

The Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering (CINS) is thrilled for the neutron beam community to receive a $14.25 million Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Innovation Fund grant project called, Building a Future for Canadian Neutron Scattering.

“Researchers who use neutron beams are contributing to many key areas of technological innovation that is important to Canadians – from reducing greenhouse emissions, fighting cancer and antibiotic resistance to auto parts manufacturing – just to name a few,” says Drew Marquardt, president of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering.

CINS along with the Canadian Neutron Initiative have helped coordinate this multi-institutional project by bringing together the Canadian neutron beam community.

“Projects of this scope cannot succeed without the entire community behind you,” says project lead Bruce Gaulin.  

“This grant breathes new life into the neutron scattering community in Canada. It will provide, not only, valuable material research tools but the ability to train the next generation of Canadian scientists ‘at home.’”

For a list of researchers across Canada willing to speak to reporters, contact Drew Marquardt at

About CINS
CINS is a not-for-profit, voluntary organization that represents the Canadian scientific community of neutron beam users and promotes research using neutron beams. Discover neutrons for materials research at:

For more information:

Drew Marquardt
Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Windsor

Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering Planning Workshop

The Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering will be holding a virtual Planning Workshop March 4th at 2 pm ET.  This workshop will be a discussion among neutron researchers to continue to build alignment on a national roadmap and the next major funding applications. The workshop will build on the success of the CFI 2020 Innovation Fund application, “Building a Future for Canadian Neutron Scattering”, aiming to take the community to the next level.

Tentative Agenda:

  1. Daniel Banks – Neutrons Canada and the national neutron strategy: developing a detailed roadmap for rebuilding Canada’s neutron beam capabilities
  2. Drew Marquardt ­– A prototype CANS as the centrepiece for a national-proposal to the CFI 2023 Innovation Fund
  3. Bruce Gaulin – A proposal to the CFI 2023-2029 Major Science Initiatives Fund
  4. Open discussion about strategy for each of the above.

Registration for the Zoom meeting is open by clicking here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Posted by / February 22, 2021 / Posted in Events

Inaugural Seminar

CINS is thrilled to announce the first set of seminars in our monthly seminar series. The February seminar will take place online Thursday February 25th at 3 pm Eastern Time. Our format will be two seminars 25 min. + 5 min for questions.

Dr. Zahra Yamani, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Fun with TAS: From Solid Superconducting Crystals to Liquid Heavy Water!
Dr. Dalini Maharaj, University of Windsor & TRIUMF
Conceptual design of a multipurpose CANS for Canada at the University of Windsor
Registration for the Zoom meeting is open by clicking here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Posted by / February 13, 2021 / Posted in Events

“An Emerging National Neutron Strategy in Canada”

McMaster Nuclear Reactor (MNR)
McMaster Nuclear Reactor (MNR) (Photo by McMaster University)

On December 15 and 16, 2020, leading scientists from across Canada gathered virtually to shape this “national neutron strategy” at a round-table organized by the Canadian Neutron Initiative (CNI)and CIFAR, with support from the European Spallation Source and the Fedoruk Centre.

A brief news item can be found at:

Spinel structure high entropy oxide (CrMnFeCoNi)3O4

Neutrons Clarify Convoluted Magnetic Materials

CINS Scattering Spotlight: Graham Johnstone

Source: Mitchell DiPasquale
Image: Spinel structure high entropy oxide (CrMnFeCoNi)3O4.

Everyone is waiting for the next big technological leap. As devices grow in complexity, the limits of materials and hardware are pushed toward their energetic and physical limits. Materials researchers across the globe redesign and tweak hardware to extend capabilities, but before too long these roadblocks will be unavoidable.

A technological revolution demands revolutionary hardware, and a new class of materials called high entropy oxides (HEOs) may have the necessary exotic electromagnetic properties to reinvigorate the field.

Graham Johnstone

Graham Johnstone, Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute, University of British Columbia

HEOs are crystalline materials with ordered oxygen and a mixture of randomly positioned metal ions. These unique materials possess intrinsic chemical disorder, lending fascinating properties that hold potential to develop technologies from reversible batteries to multiferroic components to make devices more efficient.

Graham Johnstone, a graduate student with Dr. Alannah Hallas at the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute of the University of British Columbia, is studying HEOs to define relationships between magnetism and chemical disorder.

High Entropy Oxide materials provide us with a wellspring of elemental combinations through which we can explore the relationship between magnetism and intense chemical disorder.

Graham Johnstone, Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute, University of British Columbia

Graham is using a spinel structure HEO with the composition (CrMnFeCoNi)3O4 to dig deeper into these complex magnetic behaviours. In bulk, this HEO material remarkably retains its ferrimagnetic properties above room temperature. Theory predicts intrinsically disordered crystals that are doped with non-magnetic metals to exhibit decreased magnetism; however, HEOs have proven to be a stark exception to the rule.

To further define the origins of this magnetic paradox, Graham will use neutron diffraction to probe the magnetic properties of the various crystallographic sites in the spinel structure HEO. Neutrons are uncharged and possess the property of spin, offering an essential tool to probe the arrangement of magnetic moments deep inside materials at the sublattice scale – a feat not accomplished by other techniques.

In addition to shedding light on the nature of HEO magnetism, neutrons will also help Graham distinguish the cause of thermal changes in magnetic susceptibility to further explain the complex and remarkable magnetic properties of HEOs.

CINS Scattering Spotlight aims to raise awareness for the world-class neutron research being conducted by students across Canada. We encourage you share your research stories by contacting

Serpintinite - Simone Pujatti

Neutrons Take Geology to New Scales

CINS Scattering Spotlight: Simone Pujatti

Source: Mitchell DiPasquale 
Image: (Left) Serpentinite Rock (Right) 3D Rendering of porous network in a serpentinite (scale = 500 nm).

We’re all familiar with how rainwater flows across the ground into streams and rivers after a heavy rainfall. But what happens to the water that soaks deep into the soil and rocks?

The reactions between water and rock control the chemical evolution of the Earth. Water seeping through the Earth’s crust changes the rock and influences global-scale processes such as plate tectonics. One of the most important of these reactions is serpentinization, which occurs when rocks from the Earth’s mantle, upwelling at mid-ocean ridge, interact with seawater. The resulting green and scaly serpentinites may have been the key to the origin of life.

Simone Pujatti, University of Calgary
PhD Student, Simone Pujatti, University of Calgary

Vast regions of oceanic mantle rock have almost completely been transformed into serpentinite, releasing hydrogen and methane that can be used as nutrients by early-Earth microorganisms. The process of how water has been able to infiltrate deep into these highly impermeable rocks is still very much a mystery.

Conceptually, serpentinization deep into the mantle rock is fueled by a constant supply of water and solutes that creep through the porous network formed by the spaces between the solid particles of rock. In reality, theory predicts that the serpentinite formed in the reaction should clog the pores of the rock, sealing off the supply of reactants, and stopping the transformation. Unfortunately, to limitations of classic geological characterization techniques, researchers have yet to study the extremely small pore structure of serpentinites – ranging from tens to hundreds of nanometers.

Simone Pujatti, a PhD student at the University of Calgary, is employing a modern solution to research the feedbacks between serpentinization and porosity to explain how this reaction has taken over the Earth’s mantle.

Using a combination of small and ultra-small angle neutron scattering, Simone will capture and quantify the whole distribution of pore sizes in various mantle rocks drilled from under the Atlantic Ocean. Each sample is meticulously chosen to reveal the evolution of the pore network as serpentinization progresses.

“The evidence generated will elucidate the relationship between serpentinization extent, volume increase and changes in porosity. This will impact our understanding of systems both at the molecular level, as the pores can be inhabited by microorganisms, and at the regional scale since porosity changes drive serpentinization reactions through the oceanic crust.”

Simone Pujatti, University of Calgary

Neutrons provide a non-destructive technique to study the nano-scale porosity of materials, including rocks, under the high temperatures and pressures in which they naturally form. The broad microstructural range quantifiable by combining multiple neutron scattering techniques offers a unique tool to modern geoscientists, and Simone hopes it will provide the evidence necessary to resolve a century-old issue about solid volume increase during serpentinization.

CINS Scattering Spotlight aims to raise awareness for the world-class neutron research being conducted by students across Canada. We encourage you to share your research stories by contacting

Thank you!

63 Canadian researchers responded to our survey of how they are able to meet their research needs with neutron beams. We’re tabulating the responses to see how things are in the two years since the closure of the CNBC.