Materials Characterization Facility

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Characterization of catalysts and nanostructured materials.

Areas of expertise

The Materials Characterization Facility accommodates service work and some hands-on use for 10 research groups in the faculties of science, engineering and medicine, as well as external clients from industry and national labs. The ability to characterize new materials with a diverse set of state-of-the-art tools provides a distinct advantage for University of Ottawa users of the facility.

Research services

Electron microscopy (SEM, TEM and Cryo-TEM) with elemental analysis, electron energy loss spectroscopy and associated sample preparation instruments, atomic force microscopy interfaced with Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy with SIMS and UPS, thermal analysis with mass spectrometry (MS) and infrared (IR) detection, surface area and porosimetry determination, particle size analysis and electrochemistry.

Sectors of application
  • Chemical industries
  • Clean technology
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Mining, minerals and metals

Specialized Lab



Electron Microscopy Labs

JEM-2100F field-emission transmission electron microscope and JSM-7500F field-emission scanning electron microscope (JEOL)

High-resolution imaging of nanostructured materials


FEI transmission electron microscope with Cryo-TEM, tomography and fluorescence-electron correlative microscopy capabilities

High resolution imaging of soft materials and biological specimens


Sample preparation equipment including a precision ion polishing system, plasma cleaning system, sputter coating system, ultramicrotome, ultracentrifuge, vacuum oven and ion milling system

Prepare samples for electron microscopy


Raman microscope interfaced with a scanning probe microscope

Capable of tip enhanced Raman spectroscopy and mapping. Chemical structure identification and mapping.

Surface Analysis Labs

X-ray photoelectron spectrometer

Characterize particle surfaces, including elemental analysis and metal oxidation state determination


Porosimeter and surface area analyzer

Determine surface area and porosity of solids

Thermal Analysis Lab

Differential scanning calorimeter and thermogravimetric analyzer equipped with mass and infrared spectrometers

Investigate thermal properties of solids and evolved gases from their decomposition

Materials Characterization Facility

Zeta potential particle analyzer

Use light scattering to determine particle size


Electrochemical analyzer

Employ for a diverse array of electrochemical investigations