Multichannel Analyser Faceplate from SLOWPOKE Laboratory

Chemical Engineering

Accession Number: 2019.che.136

Description:

A metal instrument faceplate with a grey-silver finish, black lettering, and blue trim. Much of the front of the artifact is covered in dials and buttons. At the top left corner, there is a black plastic bezel for a CRT display. The CRT is not present. The opening is approximately 11 x 9 cm.

The electrical components behind the buttons and dials are visible at the rear of the faceplate. A number of colourful ribbon cables and wire bundles are attached to these components.

Alternative Name:

Canberra Industries Multichannel Analyzer 8180

Primary Materials: Metal, Plastic.

Markings:

On the front surface:
“CI” is written in between the printed text “MULTICHANNEL ANALYZER” and “8180” at the top right of the faceplate.

“RV-Y” is written by the knob labelled “CONV GAIN” towards the bottom right of the faceplate.

On the back surface: A number of the electrical components have been numbered using pencil markings on the faceplate.

Dimensions (cm):

Height = 25.5, Width = ~12 , Length = 47.

Function:

Neutron activation analysis involves bombarding a sample in a neutron source in order to transform some of its constituent atoms into radioactive isotopes. The products of the radioactive decay of those isotopes are then measured in order to determine the sample’s chemical constituents.

The instrument to which this console belonged was used to control the measurement process by recording a spectrum of gamma radiation over a particular interval. The spectrum was displayed on the CRT screen, and the products of the instrument’s measurements were outputted to a printer for further analysis.

Condition:

Good. This is a component of a larger instrument, the remainder of which has presumably been discarded. Its surface is dirty. A number of the electrical connections at the back of the artifact have been cut.

Manufacturer:

Canberra Industries, Meriden, Connecticut.

Date of Manufacture: Mid-to-late 1970s.

Provenance:

This instrument is from one of two such analysers that were used to conduct short-lived isotope analysis in the reactor room area of the SLOWPOKE laboratory. This “counter” was used from the mid-to-late 1970s until the lab was closed in 1998. A number of researchers would have used this instrument, including the metallurgist Dr. Ursula Franklin (1921-2016).

Following the closure of the SLOWPOKE facility, his faceplate was gathered as a memento by the Lab’s Director, Dr. Ron Hancock.

The faceplate was acquired during a visit to Dr. Hancock’s home on May 15th, 2019.

Historical Notes:

IN 1971 a SLOWPOKE 1 research reactor, designed and commissioned at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in Chalk RIver, Ontario, was installed at the University of Toronto. In 1976, this was replaced by a commercial SLOWPOKE II reactor. The SLOWPOKE laboratory operated at the Department of Chemical Engineering until the reactor was decommissioned in 1998. It focused on neutron activation analysis.

Dr. Hancock was Reactor Supervisor at the SLOWPOKE lab from 1971 to 1993, and Director of the lab from 1993 to 1998.

  • Donated to UTSIC