Advanced, non-linear optical imaging and microscopy (CARSLab)

Research facility highlights

CARS microscopy allows researchers and clients to see the distribution of molecules inside complex materials such as rocks, live cells and tissues, chemical mixtures or oil deposits. This method uses molecular vibrational 'fingerprints' (Raman spectra) and is non-invasive, chemical-specific and label-free, meaning that samples do not need to be stained. This is an important benefit because the staining of samples may alter the properties of the material being studied. CARS microscopy is at least 10,000 times more sensitive than Raman microscopy, which allows for real-time imaging.

What we offer

The CARSLab facility in Ottawa includes two-photon fluorescence, second harmonic generation and ultra-short pulse CARS (Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering) microscopy. The facility is based upon unique, ultra-short pulse (femtosecond) laser technology developed for microscopy by the NRC in collaboration with Olympus Corporation.

CARS microscopy is a leading-edge, non-invasive, label-free and chemical-specific imaging technique which is insensitive to fluorescence backgrounds. It has a spatial resolution of around 300 nanometres. The images obtained from this technology can be recorded on video in real-time.

Why work with us?

This is an advanced facility that is professionally managed by full-time experts in both microscopy and femtosecond laser optics. Our experts are able to handle a broad range of samples for a wide variety of applications.

The CARSLab offers unique advantages over any two-photon or fluorescence imaging microscope facility: we routinely employ multi-modal (simultaneous) imaging, combining CARS with well known imaging modalities based on second harmonic and two-photon fluorescence detection.


We offer fee-for-service testing for the development of new technologies, services, and product lines. We also engage with strategic partners via a variety of different collaboration and co-investment models. Please contact us to discuss how our experts and facilities can help you to meet your research and business objectives.


Rod Paterson, Business Advisor
Telephone: 613-991-9047

Supplemental content

Contact us

Please contact us to discuss whether CARS microscopy can meet your needs. We can provide you with access to explore multimodal CARS imaging as an applied research tool. If you are not familiar with the CARS technique but would like to learn more, please contact us.

Rod Paterson, Business Advisor
Telephone: 613-991-9047

Targeted industries

Oil and gas, mining, material science, manufacturing, cosmetics, food science, pharmaceuticals


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