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Adam Hitchcock

Adam Hitchcock

Canadian Light Source-Canada Research Chair for Materials Analysis

Tier 1 - 2001-01-01 Renewed: 2008-01-01



The use of strong light beams for the rapid analysis of materials to be used as medical implants 


Use of this approach should speed up the analysis, yielding materials with a greater compatibility with the body's natural tissues 


The Canadian Light Source is the largest, single scientific research installation ever built in Canada. It should also become one of the country's most advanced industrial research tools. The size of a football field, the device is formally called a synchrotron. It promises to shed light on the chemistry of new drugs and advanced materials. 

In fact, it will shed a lot of light-about a billion times more than the sun. A synchrotron is the source of intensely focused radiation that dramatically reduces the time it takes to analyze the molecular structure of matter. Work that used to take months or years can be done in days or even hours.

Canada is one of the last industrialized countries to build a synchrotron. It is doing so now largely because of the efforts of Adam Hitchcock. He has assembled much of the political, administrative, and financial support necessary to undertake this project. The facility is now under construction in Saskatoon, where it should go into operation around 2004.

Hitchcock has created a dynamic laboratory environment for the training of a new generation of scientists working in the field of new materials. Moreover, his own work with X-rays has yielded new techniques for analyzing soft materials, such as polymers and biological samples. His success in this area, using an American synchrotron, has served as a significant part of the rationale for the construction of the Canadian facility.

As the holder of a Canada Research Chair, Hitchcock will oversee the work leading up to the completion and commissioning of the synchrotron. He will also develop its scientific program and operational procedures.

At the same time, Hitchcock intends to continue his ongoing work on the surface chemistry of polymer compounds. This research focuses on the compatibility of these materials with living tissues, particularly those that come into contact with blood. Such compatibility will be crucial to the design of artificial devices used to replace diseased or defective body parts. These materials could make it possible to install life-saving technology in critical sites such as the heart, the lungs, or key points of the immune system.