Nanometrology is the science of measurement at the nanoscale.

The Nanoscale Measurement team develops measurement infrastructure, expertise and standards of manufactured nanomaterials, and helps to enable a better understanding and adoption of new nanomaterials through development of certified reference materials (CRMs). The team has strong competency in developing and applying measurement methods that extend the current limits of sensitivity, timescale and spatial resolution; specially developing and applying multi-modal approaches that combine multiple contrast mechanisms on a single platform.

Quantitative, systematic and reproducible metrology is fundamental to the understanding of the nanomaterials. Moreover, development of novel techniques which extend the current arsenal of tools is also a goal within the nanometrology community.

Why is it important

Advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology during the last two decades have led to a fundamental understanding of chemical and biological processes at the molecular level and have resulted in rapid development of nanotechnology industries in sectors such as electronics, materials and health care.

Significant advances in nanometrology are essential for the continued development of nanotechnology-based consumer products. Challenges include new and improved measurement approaches with higher spatial resolution, accuracy and sensitivity, preparation of standards and reference materials with nanoscale features and the ability to correlate properties and function for nanomaterials.

Development of nanoscale standards and measurement methods will underpin applications of nanoscience in Canadian industries, contribute to greater understanding of the effects of nanomaterials in the environment and living systems, and promote safe and responsible utilization of nanotechnology tools and nanomaterials.

Areas of expertise

  • cellulose nanomaterial metrology and standards
  • quantification nanomaterial surface functional groups
  • nanomaterial toxicity assessment
  • nanomechanical detection of cancer cell responses to drug treatments
  • method development and characterization of nanoparticles and nanotubes
  • development and characterization of nanoscale reference materials
  • 3D cell culture methods and measurements
  • nanocarbon metrology
  • printable electronics

Facilities and capabilities

Scanning probe microscopy
  • AFM optimized for wet imaging of bio samples and correlated AFM-fluorescence imaging (JPK, NanoWizardII)
  • AFM optimized for quantitative nanomechanical mapping (QNM) including correlated morphology, adhesion, energy dissipation, and elastic modulus mapping; conductive AFM including Peakforce Tuna with QNM (Bruker, MultiMode);
  • ultrahigh vacuum STM (Omicron) with surface characterization tools, including high-resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy (HREELS)
  • multiple sample environments (UHV, ambient, fluid)
Fluorescence microscopy
  • scanned disk confocal microscope (Olympus, IX-81 DSU)
  • total internal reflection fluorescence microscope (Olympus, IX-81)
  • spatial resolution, sensitivity (single molecule); fluorescence energy transfer and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching
Electronic properties characterization
  • probe stations (ambient and vacuum) with associated electronics for DC conductivity and AC impedance measurements
  • kelvin probes (ambient and vacuum) for measurement of work function and surface photovoltage
Optical spectroscopy
  • UV-Vis-NIR frequency- and time-domain spectrofluorometer
  • UV-Vis-NIR spectrophotometer
  • FTIR, Raman (both mapping and spectroscopy)
Light scattering
  • dynamic light scattering
  • multiple light scattering
  • single particle tracking
Other methods
  • thermogravimetric analysis
  • electron microscopy
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
  • conductometric titration
  • solid-state NMR
  • mass spectrometry
  • rheometer
  • contact angle goniometer
  • ellipsometry
  • profilers for roughness and thickness
Sample preparation facilities
  • surface modification
  • preparation of Langmuir-Blodgett films
  • cell culture, cell viability assays
  • glovebox
  • plasma etchers
  • UV-ozone
  • mask aligner
  • spin coaters

Our experts

Supplemental content

Contact us

Adam Shales, Business Advisor
Telephone: 613-991-3245

Submit an online request for information about our programs and services.

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