Byron Gates

Professor and Associate Chair , Canada Research Chair, Tier II in Surface Chemistry (2005-2014) Head, Centre for Soft Materials in 4D LABS at SFU

Areas of interest

Surface and Materials Chemistry


  • B.Sc., Western Washington University
  • M.Sc. & Ph.D., University of Washington
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

Lab Information


The Surface and Interfacial Chemistry of Materials

We are harnessing the potential of nanoscale materials through the ability to tune their surface and interfacial chemistries. This research includes advancing our understanding and control of chemical modifications to the surfaces of nanoscale materials. We are also developing techniques to facilitate new reactions and chemical transformations at the surfaces of nanoscale materials.

We are advancing materials designs with applications in catalysis, electrochemical sensing, controlled delivery and release of therapeutics, bioinspired adhesives, and bioinspired coatings. Through this research we seek to facilitate the development of cost effective hydrogen and methanol fuel cell catalysts, functional materials and coatings with an improved durability, new therapeutics for the management of cancer, methods to safely work with nanoscale materials, as well as sensors with an increased sensitivity and selectivity for use in portable medical diagnostics.

Students in the Gates Research Group acquire hands-on experience in the synthesis and characterization of nanoscale materials. We typically use a series of electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, surface spectroscopy, and diffraction techniques to characterize the composition and form of the nanostructures. Students may also develop skills in micro- and nanofabrication to pattern materials, to prepare microfluidic and electronic devices, to direct the self-assembly of nanostructures, and to measure the physical properties of these nanostructures.


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