The early advances in neutron scattering at the Chalk River Laboratories of Atomic Energy of Canada are recorded. From initial nuclear physics measurements at the National Research Experimental (NRX) reactor came the realization that, with the flux available and improvements in monochromator technology, direct measurements of the normal modes of vibrations of solids and the structure and dynamics of liquids would be feasible. With further flux increases at the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor, the development of the triple-axis crystal spectrometer, and the invention of the constant-Q
technique, the fields of lattice dynamics and magnetism and their interpretation in terms of the long-range forces between atoms and exchange interactions between spins took a major step forward. Experiments were performed over a seven-year period on simple metals such as potassium, complex metals such as lead, transition metals, semiconductors, and alkali halides. These were analyzed in terms of the atomic forces and demonstrated the long-range nature of the forces. The first measurements of spin wave excitations, in magnetite and in the 3D metal alloy CoFe, also came in this period. The first numerical estimates of the superfluid fraction of liquid helium II came from extensive measurements of the phonon–roton and multiphonon parts of the inelastic scattering. After the first two decades, neutron experiments continued at Chalk River until the shut-down of the NRU reactor in 2018 and the disbanding of the neutron effort in 2019, seventy years after the first experiments.
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