4D LABS is a materials science research institute at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada that focuses on the design, development, demonstration, and delivery of advanced functional materials and nanoscale devices. Its $41 million facility opened in Jan 2007 with funding from Canada Foundation for Innovation, the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, and Simon Fraser University.
4D LABS is located in the TASC2 building on the Simon Fraser University campus in Burnaby. This research institute houses 4700 sq ft of Class 100 clean room processing space, high resolution microscopy, an advanced spectroscopy and laser laboratory, and a visiting scientists’ laboratory. The facility bills itself as a one-stop-shop for academic and industrial materials science research. It employs a dedicated technical staff to provide users with hands-on training and fee-for-hire services in nanofabrication, nanoimaging, and LASIR (Laboratory for Advanced Spectroscopy and Imaging Research). It specializes in the clean energy, information technology, health care, agriculture, and environment sectors.
- 1 History
- 2 Research and Services
- 3 User Facilities
- 4 Research, Affiliations and Work in Industry
- 5 Governance and Administration
- 6 External links
- 7 References
4D LABS was founded in 2005 with funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the BC Knowledge Development Fund and SFU. Its $41M facility on the Burnaby SFU campus opened in January, 2007. The name 4D LABS is derived from the four D’s that define its focus: design, development, demonstration, and delivery of advanced functional materials and nanoscale devices. The purpose of 4D LABS is to accelerate the commercialization of university research in the areas of advanced materials and nanoscale devices. The operating model includes shared laboratories, equipment, and crosses the boundaries of both scientific and engineering disciplines.
Research and Services
Within the SFU 4D LABS TASC2 facility, there are research laboratories that focus on specific materials and systems. These include:
- Molecular Switching Systems - molecules that change their structure and function when triggered with light, electricity or chemical stimuli (http://www.sfu.ca/~nbranda/nrb_sfu_web/front.html)
- Nanostructured Systems - those materials whose structural elements are sized in the 1-100 nm range (http://www.sfu.ca/chemistry/groups/gates/index.htm)
- Electronic and Semiconductor Materials - the study of the structure-property correlations in electronic materials (http://schottky.phys.sfu.ca/)
- Photonic Systems - the study of nonlinear optical properties of materials and the photonic and magnetic properties of layered and nanoscale materials (http://www.sfu.ca/~josephh/Gary_Group/index.htm)
- Organic Materials - how molecular structure relates to the self-assembly of columnar liquid crystals, and the design of new materials whose properties can be altered through the application of external stimuli such as light (http://www.sfu.ca/~vancew/vew/Home.html)
- Solid State Materials - piezo- and ferroelectric, relaxor ferroelectric, and magnetoelectric materials (http://www.sfu.ca/chemistry/groups/Ye/)
- Electroanalysis - analysis via electrochemical methods; focus on the surface modification with self-assembled monolayers, fabrication of nanostructured materials, and the development of biosensing devices (http://www.chemistry.sfu.ca/people/profiles/hhyu)
Collaboration reaches beyond the walls of the 4D LABS facility itself. Additional material science collaborations include:
- Polymer Science and Fuel Cells - proton conducting polymers for fuel cells and organic polymers for organic light emitting devices and photovoltaics (http://www.holdcroftgroup.ca/?Dr._Steven_Holdcroft)
- MENRVA Research Group - smart materials, dry adhesion, electroactive polymers, microfluidic actuators (http://menrva.ensc.sfu.ca/)
Target Sectors for Research
The research is directed for solutions for the development of next generation technologies in:
- Clean Energy
- Information Technologies
- Health Care
Preparing people to be technically capable in the field of material science is one of the 4D LABS objectives. Unlike many academic facilities, 4D LABS also includes hands-on user access to advanced equipment in their state-of-the-art analytical and clean room facilities to prepare them for industrial careers. 4D LABS maintains a staff of scientists and engineers to provide one-on-one training, support, and process consulting for student, academic, and industrial lab users. Access is contingent on receiving training and demonstrating competency to ensure that both the user is getting accurate results, and the equipment is not abused. Training is done in the following 4D LABS User Facilities:
- LASIR (Laboratory for Advanced Spectroscopy and Imaging Research)
In addition to the academic laboratories, 4D LABS houses user facilities that are open to academic and industrial users alike. These user facilities offer state-of-the-art fabrication, analytical, and laser capability.
The Nanofabrication Facility specializes in micro- and nanofabrication and is home to a Class 100 clean room with Class 1 mini-environments. It is equipped for advanced lithography, etching, and deposition tooling as well as for materials analysis. It allows for characterization of materials using techniques such as XPS, XRD, and PEEM/LEEM.
The Nanoimaging Facility provides access to high resolution instruments for the nanoscopic characterization of materials using SEM, FIB, STEM, EDS, EELS, E-Holography, and AFM/STM. Nanoimaging staff specialize in high resolution electron and scanning probe microscopy.
Laboratory for Advanced Spectroscopy and Imaging Research (LASIR)
The LASIR Facility is dedicated to exploring new frontiers in photonics. It is equipped to analyze materials with nano- and femtosecond lasers and provides advanced imaging with a two-photon laser scanning confocal microscope.
Visiting Scientists' Laboratory
The Visiting Scientists’ Laboratory enables face-to-face collaboration with researchers from around the world and a place for national or international specialists to use for their studies.
Research, Affiliations and Work in Industry
4D LABS is affiliated with Simon Fraser University and is located on the Burnaby Campus. Its membership includes chemists & biochemists, physicists and engineers from academic institutions and private industry. As a multi-disciplinary institute, 4D LABS hosts a range of nanotechnology projects and features many industrial as well as academic collaborations.
Governance and Administration
The Executive Director of 4D LABS reports to SFU’s Vice President, Research.
Each of the three key facilities at 4D LABS are headed by a Director who is supported by a cross-disciplinary Advisory Committee of established scientists. The Nanofabrication facility engages both an Advisory Committee and a Technical Committee.
- 2007–present Neil Branda
- 2005-2007 Ross Hill
- SFU's Material Research Lab
- Simon Fraser University - Official site
- Laboratory for Advanced Spectroscopy and Imaging Research
- Ministry of Advanced Education. "PROVINCE INVESTS $7.4M IN CENTRE FOR RESEARCH AT SFU". Province of British Columbia. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- "SFU Facilities Overview". SFU.
- BCIC. "High demand for 4D LABS' "Beyond the Bench" workshop series". Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- "Office of the Vice President, Research SFU".
- "4D LABS nanofabrication". Retrieved 29 March 2012.
- Neil, Branda. "SFU Website". SFU. Retrieved 29 March 2012.