Byron Gates, SFU associate professor of chemistry and Canada Research Chair in Surface Chemistry, is excited about the centre’s FEI Helios scanning electron microscope (SEM) system with cryogenic transfer and analysis capabilities.
“Maintaining samples at cryogenic temperatures, a focused ion beam can slice into soft materials while minimizing damage and permitting cross-sectional imaging,” he says.
There’s also an FEI Osiris transmission electron microscope (TEM) that has four integrated energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) systems for fast compositional analysis. Such analyses were previously unavailable in Western Canada.
“Both of these tools facilitate fast, high-resolution imaging, 3-D reconstruction, and elemental analysis while minimizing damage to soft materials,” says Gates.
The centre includes a full suite of tools for further chemical analysis, characterization and processing of soft materials. These include fuel-cell test stations for evaluating new catalysts and polymer membranes, a system for spray-coating nano-scale and blended materials, and a tabletop SEM with elemental analysis capabilities.
Students gain access to latest tools
“Second-year undergraduates in Earth Science are already using the Aspex Explorer SEM as part of their laboratory experience,” says Gates. “We hope that other undergraduate courses will also utilize this equipment, and the other facilities within 4D LABS as well.”
CSM project leads Gates and Mary Boysel, director of operations for 4D LABS, invite faculty and students to visit the new centre to experience hands-on, personalized training on this equipment, as well as on the many other tools and techniques available.