Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia
Area(s) of Expertise

4D LABS works with academic and industrial researchers to move new technologies from the benchtop to the marketplace in a range of fields, including clean energy, information technology, health and medicine and telecommunications. Aside from a range of materials-specific academic laboratories,4D LABS also hosts three user facilities that are accessible to all researchers in academia, industry and government. These three user facilities include a clean room for microfabrication and nanofabrication, an electron microscopy centre and an advanced laser laboratory. Together, the user facilities are a means to design, build and fully characterize new materials and devices all under one roof. There are a variety of ways to work with 4D LABS. Researchers may elect to be fully trained and perform all aspects of their device design, building and testing it themselves, or may contract 4D LABS to do some or all of the work for them or may collaborate with a 4D LABS faculty member. To date, 4D LABS has worked across the full range of industrial sectors in a variety of ways. 4D LABS has partnered to develop high-efficiency solar cells, leading-edge lighting, nanomaterials for security features, biofluidics and a myriad of other devices.

What the facility does

Materials science and engineering

Research Services

additive technologies, proof of concept/proof of commercial concept, product enhancement/transformational technologies, Modelling, Simulation, Prototyping, manufacturing design and development, analytics, photonics, Information and telecommunications technologies, industrial instrumentation, alpha and beta testing

Sectors of Application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Chemical industries
  • Clean technology
  • Education
  • Energy (renewable and fossil)
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Mining, minerals and metals
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)

Name of specialized lab

Name of equipment

Description of function

Nanofabrication Facility

Low-pressure and atmospheric furnaces, PECVD, PVD, ALD, electroplating, and spray coating

Various thin-film deposition equipment


Lithography, including an electron-beam writer, laser writer, mask-making laser writer,

contact/proximity aligners, spinners, develop stations, and a nanoimprinter

Pattern fabrication and replication equipment working with a range of resist, including SU-8 and PDMS patterning capability


Full range of wet-etch and cleaning chemistries

Wet etches available for metal, oxide, and silicon wet etching; cleaning chemistries available for substrate and pre-deposition cleans


Reactive ion etch (RIE) capability, standard plasma strip and descum systems in addition to XeF2 for MEMS silicon release

Dielectric (fluorine-based) and metal (chlorine-based) dry-etch chemistries


X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray diffractometry (XRD),

auger spectroscopy and secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS), small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS), and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICPMS)

Advanced spectrometry for compositional analysis


Ellipsometry, reflectometry, profilometry, stress measurement, four-point probe, contact angle goniometer, microscopes

Thin film measurement and characterization


Laser machining, wafer cutting, rapid thermal processing, critical point dryer, probe station, wire bonder, mercury porosimetry, fuel cell testers

Various packaging and ancillary tooling

Nanoimaging Facility

Scanning electron microscopes (SEM) include:

HeliosNova NanoSEM

Strata DB235


These microscopes use an electron beam to image samples and determine elemental composition (EDX) spectroscopy.  Cryo and low vacuum capabilities enable a variety of materials to be analyzed.


Scanning transmission electron microscopes (STEM) include:

Tecnai F20 (200 keV FEG)

Osiris (200 keV X-FEG)

Hitachi 8000 (200 keV LaB)

These microscopes investigate internal structure, including crystallinity and defects with compositional analysis (EDX)


Scanning probe microscopes (SPM) include:

Atomic force microscope (AFM)

Scanning tunnelling microscope (STM)

These microscopes create atomic-resolution topographic maps of material surfaces that may include electronic properties and can be used to manipulate atoms or molecules


Focused ion beam (FIB), in tandem with SEM

Used for cross-sectioning or fabricating small devices

Laboratory for Advanced Spectroscopy and Imaging Research (LASIR)

Pulsed laser systems, spanning X-ray to infrared wavelengths, from nanosecond- to femtosecond-pulse durations



Time-resolved X-ray spectroscopy



Terahertz spectroscopy



Two-photon laser scanning confocal microscope for advanced imaging



Transient absorption spectroscopy



Fluorescence lifetime measurement systems capable of probing time scales from milliseconds to femtoseconds

  • Cooledge Lighting Inc.
  • Photon Control Inc.
  • Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperative
  • Nanotech Security Corp.