for Outstanding Contributions to Condensed Matter and Materials Physics

awarded to


"I am honoured to have been selected as this year's recipient of the CAP's Brockhouse Medal. I wish to acknowledge the important contributions of the students, postdocs and collaborators, without whom, the research would progress more slowly and would not be anywhere near as much fun."

Ottawa, April 30th, 2001 - The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2001 Brockhouse Medal will be awarded to Mark Sutton, Professor of Physics at McGill University, for for the development of X-ray Intensity Fluctuation Spectroscopy (XIFS) and its application to measuring the dynamics of materials on the nanometer length scale.

Mark Sutton is an internationally renowned experimentalist in condensed matter physics. Sutton uses X-ray diffraction to study the behaviour of non-equilibrium condensed matter systems. Sutton and his collaborators have developed and applied an important new X-ray technique called X-ray intensity fluctuation spectroscopy (XIFS). XIFS makes use of the x-ray equivalent of optical speckle. It exploits the unique advantages of synchrotron radiation, as well as recent developments in X-ray optics and detector technology. This new probe of matter directly measures the time evolution of nonequilibrium microstructures at length scales down to a nanometer and with millisecond time resolution.

The first demonstration of the use of coherent X-rays, and the feasibility of XIFS, was reported by Sutton et al. in Nature in 1991. Since then Sutton and his collaborators have developed the method and used it to investigate important problems in condensed-matter physics involving phase transitions and complex fluids. For example, in his study of Fe3Al above its order-disorder critical temperature he directly observed critical fluctuations and critical slowing down. Sutton has also applied XIFS to polymer systems, measuring wavevector-dependent time constants in these technologically important materials. This is probably the most significant experimental work on first-order phase transitions kinetics in the 1990's.

Aside from its utility in investigating fundamental areas of condensed matter physics, XIFS is a unique and powerful tool that will have applications in many fields of science. Simply put, XIFS is an ideal tool for the measurement of dynamics in materials on the nanometer length scale.

The CAP's Brockhouse Medal was introduced in 1999. It is awarded for outstanding experimental or theoretical contribution to condensed matter and materials physics, the branch of science devoted to understanding, predicting and controlling the diverse physical properties of matter and materials. The Medal is named in honour of distinguished Canadian scientist Bertram Brockhouse, who was awarded the 1994 Nobel prize in physics. The Medal is co-sponsored by the CAP's Division of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics. The 2001 Medal will be presented to Dr. Sutton during the CAP's awards banquet to be held at the University of Victoria on June 19th, 2001.

The Canadian Association of Physicists, founded in 1945, is a professional association representing over 1600 individual physicists and physics students in Canada, the U.S. and overseas, as well as a number of Corporate and Departmental Members. In addition to its learned activities, the CAP also undertakes a number of activities intended to encourage students to pursue a career in physics.

For more information, please contact:
Canadian Association of Physicists
Tel: (613) 562-5614 Fax: (613) 562-5615

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