Research Areas

Academic Research Areas

The wide range of instrumentation available at the CCEM is matched by the wide range of research that is done. Through collaborations and user services the CCEM has been involved in research in areas from energy to medicine, from soft biological materials to tightly-controlled solid-state fuel cell components, from structural steel characterization to probing the electronic properties of 2D materials. The CCEM currently has users and collaborators from across Canada and from around the world.

A STEM-EELS investigation of gold nanosphere chains with lengths varying from 1 to 5 particles was carried out. It was found that a chain containing N particles can accommodate at least N experimentally observable modes, in addition to the transverse mode.

Mapping Bright and Dark Modes in Gold Nanoparticle Chains using Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy, Steven J. Barrow, David Rossouw, Alison M. Funston, Gianluigi A. Botton, Paul Mulvaney, Nano Lett. 14 (2014) 3799−3808

Fundamentals of materials

  • plasmons, plasmonics
  • superconductivity
  • photonic crystals, Si-based photonics
  • quantum wells, quantum dots for lasers and telecommunications
  • materials for photovoltaics
  • magnetic properties of materials at the nanoscale for high density information storage
  • electronic properties of materials

Qualitative hole distribution. ADF-STEM images and O-K edge onset in the [001] and [100] zone axes. The O-K edge onsets highlight intensity variations of the O 2p hole (H) and upper Hubbard (U) bands, whose positions are indicated by red and black arrows, respectively.

Real-space localization and quantification of hole distribution in chain-ladder Sr3Ca11Cu24O41 superconductor, Matthieu Bugnet, Stefan Löffler, David Hawthorn, Hanna A. Dabkowska, Graeme M. Luke, Peter Schattschneider, George A. Sawatzky, Guillaume Radtke, Gianluigi A. Botton, Sci. Adv. 2 (2016) e1501652

SEM image showing the plate-like morphology of the film surface formed on the Mg sample after aging in pure H2O at room temperature for 48 h.

Analysis of the surface film formed on Mg by exposure to water using a FIB cross-section and STEM–EDS, M. Taheri, R.C. Phillips, J.R. Kish, G.A. Botton, Corrosion Science 59 (2012) 222–228

Metallurgy and materials processing

  • grain identification, grain size analysis
  • phase identification, measurement
  • texture, orientation, misorientation
  • precipitate analysis
  • identification and analysis of oxides, corrosion products
  • crack measurement and analysis
  • dislocation imaging and deformation mechanism determination

TEM lamella lifted from a sand cast AM50Mg alloy following 4 h of immersion in an electrolyte solution. Images show the corrosion product film observed over different microstructures. Maps show W and Mg and line scans show EELS signals recorded along the white dashed line for Mg, Al and W.

Corrosion Product Formation Monitored Using the Feedback Mode of Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy with Carbon Microelectrodes, Philippe Dauphin-Ducharme, Christian Kuss, David Rossouw, Nicholas A. Payne, Laurence Danis, Gianluigi A. Botton, Janine Mauzeroll, Journal of the Electrochemical Society 162 (2015) C677-C683

TEM images of platinum nanowires on carbon nanofibres with and without Bi decoration.

Biomimetic design of monolithic fuel cell electrodes with hierarchical structures, Rongyue Wang, Drew C. Higgins, Dong Un Lee, Sagar Prabhudev, Fathy M. Hassan, Victor Chabot, Gregory Lui, Gaopeng Jiang, Ja-Yeon Choi, Lathankan Rasenthiram, Jing Fu, Gianluigi Botton, Zhongwei Chen, Nano Energy 20 (2016) 57–67


  • nanoparticles for catalysis
  • nanowires and rods
  • thin-films (nm thickness)
  • 2D materials
  • magnetic properties of materials at the nanoscale for high density information storage
  • nanoparticle contaminants
  • functionalization of nanomaterials

Preparation of Pt nanotubular skeletons. Schematic illustration of the preparation procedure and TEM images.

Synthesis and structural evolution of Pt nanotubular skeletons: revealing the source of the instability of nanostructured electrocatalysts, Rongyue Wang, Drew C. Higgins, Sagar Prabhudev, Dong Un Lee, Ja-Yeon Choi, Md Ariful Hoque, Gianluigi A. Botton, Zhongwei Chen, J. Mater. Chem. A 2 (2015) 12663


  • materials development for new energy conversion and storage devices
  • fuel cell, battery catalysts, electrodes
  • thermoelectric devices
  • solar cells
  • new reliable materials for nuclear power
  • density reduction of structural materials for energy efficiency
  • direct energy storage materials
  • hydrogen storage materials
  • novel membranes for water purification

Area of new bone formation, with both mineralized and unmineralized areas close to the implant surface (BSE-SEM). In high-resolution, numerous canaliculi from the osteocytes extend toward the implant surface, making intimate contact with the nanotextured oxide layer.

High-Resolution Visualization of the Osteocyte Lacuno-Canalicular Network Juxtaposed to the Surface of Nanotextured Titanium Implants in Human, Furqan A. Shah, Xiaoyue Wang, Peter Thomsen, Kathryn Grandfield, Anders Palmquist, ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng. 1 (2015) 305−313


  • bone, bone interfaces
  • nanomedicine
  • drug delivery systems
  • fluorescent tags for markers of cancerous cells and other diseases
  • biosensors for diseases and toxic agents
  • airborne and water pollutants and their impact on living organisms
  • study of proteins and molecular machines, viruses, bacteria
  • the interaction of viruses and cells
  • high-throughput applications

Coalesced nanowire AlGaN LED structure. SEM and STEM HAADF images, elemental maps from STEM-EELS showing the variations in Ga and Al elemental distribution within the layers, and close-up of interface.

Controlled Coalescence of AlGaN Nanowire Arrays: An Architecture for Nearly Dislocation-Free Planar Ultraviolet Photonic Device Applications, Binh H. Le, Songrui Zhao, Xianhe Liu, Steffi Y. Woo, Gianluigi A. Botton, Zetian Mi, Advanced Materials 28 (2016) 8446–8454


  • materials in electronics, photonics
  • deposited wires, devices
  • electronic properties of thin films
  • novel gate oxides, contacts
  • bandgap engineering
  • design of interfaces for smaller and faster devices
  • plasmonics

HAADF STEM images of indium precipitates and corresponding EELS data. A coloured spectrum image shows silicon (green), indium (blue) and oxygen (red) signals overlaid. Individual spectrum images of silicon, indium and oxygen are shown to the right.

Direct observation of indium precipitates in silicon following high dose ion implantation, K. J. Dudeck, E. Huante-Ceron, A. P. Knights, R. M. Gwilliam, G. A. Botton, Semicond. Sci. Technol. 28 (2013) 125012

Synthesis of new materials and new synthesis methods

  • new electrodeposition methods
  • functionalization of nanomaterials
  • combinatorial chemistry
  • synthetic chemistry approaches to design and develop new classes of materials