Highlights from the CINS meeting in Windsor

Science talks showing the range of research applications of neutron beams, from Alzheimer’s disease to rock formation, and intense discussion of the neutron beam community’s future are among the highlights from the CINS meeting at the University of Windsor.

Source: Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering (CINS)
Contact: webmaster@cins.ca
Date: Oct 23, 2018

Science Talks

Zoya Leonenko (U. Waterloo, pictured above) presented a scientific talk on Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and her studies of amyloid beta, a key molecule that can disrupt membranes of brain cells. Her team used neutron beams to examine the effect of melatonin and cholesterol on the ability of amyloid beta to disrupt membranes.


Ben Tutolo (U. Calgary) presented studies on how porous rocks have been formed out of the interaction of seawater and magma. He has used small-angle neutron scattering to examine the nanoscale pores in order to assist simulations of the rock formation.

Looking to the Future

Ron Rogge (Canadian Neutron Beam Centre) described the process of dispositioning neutron beam equipment from the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre. The asset inventory is being reviewed by the owners, NRC and AECL, to determine the general direction of redeployment or disposal, aiming to maximize scientific outcomes for Canada.  In the coming months there may be opportunities for universities or other third parties to express interest in acquiring some of these assets.

Bruce Gaulin (McMaster U.) led discussions of grant applications for neutron beam resources, notably NSERC RTI applications to transfer equipment to the neutron beam lab at McMaster, and a multi-university CFI Innovation Fund application for infrastructure funds for (1) partnerships with foreign facilities and (2) the neutron beam lab at McMaster Nuclear Reactor.

Dan Neumann (NIST Centre for Neutron Research, USA) and Steve Nagler (Oak Ridge National Lab, USA) presented capital projects planned in the near future at their facilities. Canada could make contributions to these projects as a basis for partnerships.

Daniel Banks (Canadian Neutron Beam Centre) presented a discussion document describing a governance model for national neutron beam resources, and invited feedback. The governance model is being developed by the Canadian Neutron Initiative at the request of CINS. For a copy of the discussion document, contact: webmaster@cins.ca.

Neutron Scattering at the McMaster Nuclear Reactor


Pat Clancy (McMaster U.) presented the state of neutron scattering at the McMaster Nuclear Reactor. The MAD beamline has seen a large increase in usage in 2017, and there is much more potential to support more users. The small-angle neutron scattering beamline is to be complete in 2019.

Chris Heysel (McMaster U.) presented the status of the McMaster Nuclear Reactor and other nuclear facilities at McMaster, which have undergone a major expansion since 2012. He described the requirements for neutrons for the reactor’s commercial and non-commercial stakeholders, and the reactor’s increasing mandate to advance research and education.

Analysis of neutron user community

Thad Harroun (Brock U., CINS President), presented a method of determining the size of the Canadian neutron community using Web of Science data. His method includes users of foreign neutron beam facilities and can be used to monitor the community without access to data that has until now been maintained by the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre.

Daniel Banks presented a Science-Metrix study of citations from papers arising from access to the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre. Key takeaways include:

  • The CNBC’s performance between 1980 and 2017 can be described as a steady output of papers of a high quality that incrementally improved over time.
  • The users of the CNBC had a scientific impact that is well above world average and is competitive both with other Canadian facilities for materials research, and with neutron beam facilities abroad.
  • Citation rates of all the facilities examined were above the world average, show that having access to large shared resources for materials research enhances scientific impact.

New Officers

Thad Harroun (Brock U.) was re-elected as CINS President.

Young-June Kim (U. Toronto) was appointed and Dominic Ryan (McGill U.) was re-appointed to the Board.

Pat Clancy (McMaster U.), and Mitchel DiPasquale (student, U. Windsor) were elected to the Science Council.