Skip to McMaster Navigation Skip to Site Navigation Skip to main content
McMaster logo

Nuclear

Operations & Facilities

Small Angle Neutron Scattering Facility

SANS technology is used to study the structure of a variety of materials at an atomic level. Uniquely Canadian, it will support more than 25 research groups at McMaster and other universities.

A group of researchers led by Professor Bruce Gaulin (Physics & Astronomy) is building on the scientific legacy of Bertram Brockhouse, establishing a Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) facility at the McMaster Nuclear Reactor. When complete, SANS will be unique in Canada, and will support more than 25 research groups at McMaster and other universities.

SANS will use beams of neutrons from MNR to probe the structures of biomaterials and advanced synthetic materials. In contrast to positrons, which are used to characterize surfaces, neutrons can penetrate deep into matter, enabling researchers to characterize the interior structures of a wide variety of substances at the atomic level.

A key component of the SANS facility is its most obvious design component: a subterranean guide-hall. This feature will allow researchers to maximize the distance between their samples and the detector, enabling them to accurately measure very small angles of diffraction that are otherwise too small to be observed.

Director of Nuclear Operations Chris Heysel stands inside the newly completed neutron beam hall.
Director of Nuclear Operations Chris Heysel in the newly completed neutron beam hall.