The structure of the Institute is designed to provide exceptional service not only to materials experts but also to researchers from other fields that require materials-based information. To achieve its mission, the Institute undertakes two complementary activities. First it attracts the top specialists to access its facilities. This drives the instrumentation and staff toward innovative activities that advance the state-of-the-art for each technique. Second, the superb capabilities of the staff amd equipment is made available to the entirety of the materials community. In doing this, new techniques are brought to bear on the most challenging materials more quickly.
The Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy (CCEM) provides a suite of world-class electron microscopy capabilities and expertise to our user base of materials researchers working on a broad range of materials research. Infrastructure within the CCEM includes apparatus for both scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Associated sample preparation infrastructure, including a focused ion beam (FIB) apparatus is available such that electron microscopy projects can be as comprehensive as possible. In particular, two state-of-the-art aberration-corrected TITAN TEMS allows for unprecedented spatial resolution of structure and for electron spectroscopy, and are among the most scientifically productive anywhere in the world. Expert technical staff enable this unique infrastructure to be optimally exploited.
The BIMR is home to Canada’s most extensive suite of infrastructure dedicated to the crystal growth of new and existing materials, the Centre for Crystal Growth (CCG). The CCG is centred on several large crystal growth furnaces which are optimized for the growth of different types of crystals. However, crucial to the success of the CCG is the fact that supporting sample preparation and characterization infrastructure is also present, where it is used to prepare the starting materials required for crystal growth, to anneal or post-anneal materials at intermediate stages in the crystal growth process, and characterization infrastructure which allows the crystal grower to assess which phases of crystalline materials are being produced, and what the nature of the impurities are in the growth process. A successful program of crystal growth is a multistep process which alternates between sample preparation, sample characterization, and single crystal growth and iterates on itself until the desired large and pristine single crystal of a new material is achieved.
The electronic and magnetic properties of materials are often key to their characterization and application. The electronic/magnetic characterization facility operates a Quantum Design SQUID magnetometer with capability of measurements between 1.8 and 800K and magnetic fields up to 5T. It also operates a Quantum Design PPMS and Oxford Instruments Maglab system with capabilities for measuring AC susceptibility, specific heat and electrical transport between 1.5K and 400K in magnetic fields up to 9T. The facility also operates the He liquefier for the Institute.
MAX is a service, research and teaching laboratory operated jointly by the BIMR and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. It is a leader in materials characterization by X-ray diffraction in Canada. MAX is comprised of state-of-the-art x-ray crystallography infrastructure enabling comprehensive crystallographic studies ranging from routine chemical crystallography, powder phase analysis and Rietveld refinements to reciprocal space analysis, texture analysis, thin film analysis, the monitoring of phase changes, and solving difficult single crystal structures.