Highlights from “Canada is experiencing a neutron shortage — here’s why that matters”, CBC News,
Image: University of Windsor assistant professor Drew Marquardt (Dale Molnar/CBC)
Neutrons — subatomic particles with no electric charge — allow researchers to examine materials at the atomic level.
“You can take a biological sample and measure it with neutrons and not have destroyed your bacteria or our model membrane where as if you were to use x-rays, so light, those high intensities will destroy your sample,” said [biochemistry professor Drew Marquardt at the University of Windsor].
“If we want the next generation of cellphones or the next generation of drug delivery, we need the proper tools in order to investigate their structures and understand how they work,” he explained.
Marquardt added the NRU was staffed by experienced researchers who could help people with less experience conduct their experiments. He fears those talented researchers could now leave Canada.
“The people who are going to suffer are the scientists who aren’t experts in the field but really need the tools,” he said. “Without a plan in place to keep these expertise it will really put a strain on researchers that don’t rely on neutrons on a daily basis.”
“I’m really hoping that some of the aspects of the CNI will be adopted and prevent Canada from losing a legacy of being a leader in the field for the last 70 years,” he said.