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Operations & Facilities

Neutron Diffraction

The McMaster Alignment Diffractometer (MAD) is currently the only instrument in Canada capable of performing neutron diffraction and inelastic neutron scattering measurements. MAD is used to study the structural and magnetic properties of materials on an atomic level, allowing researchers to probe crystal structure, magnetic order, and the characteristic excitations of solids.

The McMaster Alignment Diffractometer (MAD) is located on Beamport #6 in the McMaster Nuclear Reactor.  MAD is a general purpose triple-axis spectrometer, capable of performing both neutron diffraction and inelastic neutron scattering measurements.  It is primarily used to align and evaluate the quality of single crystal and polycrystalline samples.  However, it can also be used for more advanced characterization measurements such as: determination of crystal structures, identification of magnetically ordered ground states, characterization of phase transitions, and investigation of magnetic and vibrational dynamics (e.g. magnons and phonons).

MAD is built on the site of Bertram Brockhouse’s original McMaster triple-axis spectrometer, based on the same design that helped to earn Brockhouse the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics.  Construction of MAD began in the spring of 2008, with the first commissioning experiments taking place in the summer of 2010.  MAD is currently open to proposals from both academic and industrial users.