This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.

First spectrometer to accurately measure inelastic neutron scattering. Source: Ingenium 1995.1561

This spectrometer revolutionized the sub-atomic analysis of solid materials, and helped its designer, Bertram Brockhouse, win a Nobel Prize. Brockhouse was a physicist at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) in Chalk River, Ontario. Between 1950 and 1961, he specialized in neuron-scattering methods and developed the triple-axis method of spectroscopy. This technique uses beams of neutrons to reveal atomic behaviour within solid materials such as metals, minerals, and rocks. By 1958, Brockhouse had designed and built the final version of this instrument, the first to accurately measure inelastic neutron scattering.

In 1994, Brockhouse shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for this work.

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