Cyclotrons were developed in the 1930s to provide a means to probe matter by smashing protons at high speed into a target and watching the shower of radiation emitted. The electron cyclotron was proposed by a Russian scientist, V. Veksler, but an NRC team was first to successfully construct the apparatus.
Cyclotrons were developed in the 1930s to provide a means to probe matter by smashing protons at high speed into a target and watching the shower of radiation emitted. The electron cyclotron was proposed by a Russian scientist, V. Veksler, but an NRC team was first to successfully construct the apparatus.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

W.J. Henderson and Paul Redhead initiated the research in 1946. High Le Caine, who had worked on radar development during the war worked out how to use microwaves to accelerate the electrons. Described as "delightfully weird," his work was crucial to the project’s success.

Two coils generated a magnetic field to direct the motion of electrons in circles. Electrons were stimulated by a klystron (an electronic tube used to generate microwaves, like those used in microwave ovens). The electrons were limited to eleven orbits (because the diameter of their expanding paths then reached the diameter of the cell). A probe was inserted through a side port and its precise position was controlled by a scientist in an adjacent room. The gold-plated probe fed a signal to a chart recorder. The analytical apparatus (not pictured) was in an adjacent room, shielded from the dangerous x-rays and microwaves emitted. The cyclotron produced an electronic "rainbow" called a spectrum on a paper strip. This apparatus was later used in medical experiments at the University of Western Ontario before making its way into the Museum’s collection.
W.J. Henderson and Paul Redhead initiated the research in 1946. High Le Caine, who had worked on radar development during the war worked out how to use microwaves to accelerate the electrons. Described as "delightfully weird," his work was crucial to the project’s success.

Two coils generated a magnetic field to direct the motion of electrons in circles. Electrons were stimulated by a klystron (an electronic tube used to generate microwaves, like those used in microwave ovens). The electrons were limited to eleven orbits (because the diameter of their expanding paths then reached the diameter of the cell). A probe was inserted through a side port and its precise position was controlled by a scientist in an adjacent room. The gold-plated probe fed a signal to a chart recorder. The analytical apparatus (not pictured) was in an adjacent room, shielded from the dangerous x-rays and microwaves emitted. The cyclotron produced an electronic "rainbow" called a spectrum on a paper strip. This apparatus was later used in medical experiments at the University of Western Ontario before making its way into the Museum’s collection.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Microtron

This electron cyclotron was the first in the World. Built using experience gained in wartime research on radar, it provided a new way to probe the atomic structure of metals. To study the characteristics of materials by bombarding them with electrons and measuring the radiation given off.

Canada Science and Technology Museum
http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/Exhibitions/Heirs/index.html

660822
© 2008, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify and appreciate the way history and culture shape a society’s science and technology
  • Describe scientific and technological developments, past and present, and appreciate their impact on individuals and societies
  • Describe how Canadians have contributed to science and technology on the global stage

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