The Brockhouse Institute has historically created, developed, and supported a number or research facilities at McMaster that have become successful independent entities. The most recent of these partner facilities to have become independent is the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy (CCEM). Support of these facilities remains a priority for the institute, and we will work toward expanding their user base, developing additional capabilities, and supporting collaborative work using the available infrastructure, both internally and with external partners.
The institute currently houses and operates several facilities that help support materials research, infrastructure, and operations at McMaster. These include the Thermal Analysis Facility, the Cryogenics Facility, the McMaster Analytical X-ray Diffraction Facility (MAX), and the Centre for Crystal Growth.
Thermal Analysis Facility
The behaviour of materials at high temperatures is critically important to their potential applications. The tempartures at which thermal phase transitions occur can guide the use of particular materials within products that range from coffee cups to heat shields in the aerospace industry. Our thermal analysis facility houses state-of-the-art thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) equipment capable of determining decomposition temperatures of polymers, metals, and alloys, as well as phase transitions in plastics and numerous composites. This facility houses a Netzsch 449 F3 Jupiter HV-STA system equipped with two furnaces, capable of TGA-DTA-DSC measurements in the -150-1600°C temperature range and a range of different atmospheres. This instrument also has the ability to accurately measure specific heat capacity of a wide range of materials.
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. In addition, facility also operates a He liquefier for the Institute, which provides the required liquid He to the SQUID systems as well as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) equipment in individual labs and the McMaster NMR Facility.
Centre for Crystal Growth (CCG)
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 houses several large crystal growth furnaces that 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 that 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.
Information Box Group
CCEM is a world leading, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to providing a full suite of electron microscopy equipment, facilities, and expertise. This world-class facility has capabilities that are unmatched in Canada, and continues to expand and push the frontiers of electron microscopy.
The CEDT facilitates the study of optical, electrical, mechanical, and biological properties of semiconductors and related materials and promotes the development of technology based on these materials.
BI is a state-of-the-art facility implementing high-throughput research pipelines to investigate the nature of the biological/material interface, or biointerface. This institute houses an extensive array of instruments geared toward characterization of biomolecules and materials.
MIRI is focused on finding solutions to the challenges faced by today’s manufacturing industry and optimizing every facet of the machining process.
MARC is one of Canada’s leading research facilities in electric and hybrid vehicles where researchers, students and industry professionals are working to resolve the issues facing the automotive industry. Together, these teams of engineers, scientists, social scientists and their students are developing sustainable solutions for the industry including the development of hybrid and electric powertrains, building highly efficient and cost-effective powertrain components and identifying light materials to make cars more fuel efficient.
The MAX is a service, research, and teaching laboratory operated by the Faculty of Science and located within the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. It supports Science and Engineering research at McMaster University, as well as train students in the theory and practice of X-ray diffraction. This facility also provides fee for service characterization of chemicals and materials for external clients from industry and from other universities.
The Photonics Research Laboratory at McMaster University is a laser facility that is aimed at providing an interdisciplinary environment for physics, chemistry, materials science, electrical and mechanical engineering. The facility has a number of pulsed laser systems covering nanosecond to femtosecond regimes as well as corresponding time-domain optical detection instruments. The laser systems can be used in pulsed laser machining, additive manufacturing, material property characterization (e.g., through LIBS), and surface modification applications. The facility also has several custom-built optical imaging instruments including superresolution (STED), confocal, multiphoton, hyperspectral and fluorescence lifetime imaging.
The NMR Facility was established in 1985, with funding from NSERC and McMaster University. This Facility currently maintains 8 NMR spectrometers including a Bruker AVANCE III 700MHz, funded by CFI and the Province of Ontario. The Facility is highly regarded in the Canadian chemical community for its versatility in the types of samples (organic, inorganic, biochemical, geological, industrial, forestry, agricultural and biomedical materials) that can be analyzed. It’s also known for the number of nuclei that can be studied by solution and solid state NMR.
MNR first became operational in 1959 and was the first university-based research reactor in the British Commonwealth. Originally designed to operate at a maximum power of 1 MW, MNR was upgraded during the 1970s to its current rating of 5 MW with a maximum thermal neutron flux of 1 x 1014 neutrons/cm2s. MNR is classified as a medium flux reactor and it is by far the most powerful research reactor at a Canadian university – the handful of so-called “Slowpoke” reactors at other institutions typically operate at a power of 0.02 MW. This facility will also house the McMaster Small Angle Neutron Scattering (MacSANS) facility, which will enable the study of materials at the atomic level.
CEPEM assists research and development needs for Canadian companies, both existing and new, so that they can meet today’s needs for Canada but also develop the next generation of personal protective equipment (PPE) to become global leaders in the future.