Advanced nanomaterials research facilities

The NRC's Quantum and Nanotechnologies Research Centre—Nanocomposites, Advanced Materials for Additive Manufacturing, and Nanomaterials—offer a wide range of expertise, facilities and services for the real world applications of advanced nanomaterials.

Nanocomposites excel in the synthesis, chemical modification, and integration of nanomaterials, in particular carbon nanotubes and boron nitride nanotubes. They also work with other nanocarbons, bio‑nanofibres and emerging nanomaterials to produce multifunctional composites (e.g., nanocomposites, hierarchical composites), nanocomposite fabrics, responsive materials, and coatings for applications in clean fuels, defence, aerospace and other sectors.

Our experts in Advanced Materials for Additive Manufacturing offer scientific and engineering expertise in developing materials and processes for 2D and 3D printing to create objects and interfaces with integrated and embedded functions.

The Nanomaterials team focusses on developing high‑quality inorganic and carbon‑based nanomaterials, including inorganic semiconductor and graphene quantum dots as well as electronic‑grade semiconducting, single‑walled carbon nanotubes and printed electronics (transistors).

We provide new platforms that can be applied in a wide range of industries in technology areas such as:

  • nanotechnology
  • electronic materials and additive manufacturing

We offer scientific and engineering expertise in nanomaterials synthesis, printed electronics (2D 3D printing), nanocomposites, and electronic and fibre photonic sensors. We also produce high entropy alloys (nanoparticles) and offer access to unique prototyping facilities.

Our capabilities - Technical and advisory services

Our scientists and technicians have vast expertise in developing advanced nanomaterials with compelling properties tailored to the unique requirements of your application. We have extensive experience with diverse materials systems, including bulk materials and composites, films, fabrics, inks and coatings that demonstrate smart, adaptive and multifunctional performance. We also offer scientific and engineering expertise in developing advanced materials compatible with your 2D and 3D printing needs.

Advanced nanomaterials

  • establishing organic and polymer syntheses applicable to novel polymeric materials for fuel cells, light‑emitting diodes, organic transistors, non‑linear optic devices, organic photovoltaic cells, sensors and thin‑film transistors
  • originating synthesis and pilot‑scale manufacturing of nanomaterials using plasma technologies
  • designing reactors and other systems for the production, collection, purification and assembly of nanomaterials
  • producing inorganic quantum dots for transistors, photovoltaics, bio‑imaging and near‑infrared photo detection
  • carbon‑based nanomaterials including graphene quantum dots for bio‑imaging and single‑walled carbon nanotubes for high‑performance electronics (critical dimensions < 100 nm) and roll‑to‑roll‑based printed circuits for large‑area‑display backplanes and sensor arrays (pressure, gas, liquid)
  • developing customized chemistry for integration of nanomaterials into diverse materials systems
  • modelling plasma processes
  • purifying and dispersion of nanomaterials
  • ensuring the safe handling of nanomaterials
  • improving functionalization strategies to facilitate interfacial interaction  
  • developing novel characterization methodologies and implementation of characterization suites for nanomaterials
  • characterizing materials and devices
  • implementing cost‑efficient and scalable processing methods for integration of nanotubes and other nanomaterials into matrices such as glass, polymers and ceramics to produce nano‑enhanced composite materials
  • heavy‑metal‑free semiconductor and carbon‑based quantum dots
  • printable, electronic‑grade, single‑walled carbon nanotubes for sensors and logic

Additive manufacturing

  • improving photo resins and pastes using functional materials for use with vat polymerization and direct-write 3D printing generating objects with electrically conductive, enhanced mechanical or piezoelectric properties
  • writing the protocols to print with advanced materials, including screen and inkjet printing, as well as a number of 3D printing techniques (stereolithographic analysis, digital light processing, tomographic printing, extrusion printing)
  • fabricating thin-film transistor-based electronic devices using drop casting, spray coating, electric deposition, inkjet printing
  • formulating the thermal and photocuring protocols to process printed materials
  • optimizing printing and processing methodologies to create objects and interfaces with integrated and embedded functionalities
  • producing in-mold electronics, fine-line printing, and developing unique material formulations for 3D printing

Conductive inks

  • developing the formulations of conductive molecular silver and copper inks for their use in fine-line printing, as well as in flexible, stretchable and in-mold electronics

Performance and testing

We offer proven engineering expertise for materials design, formulation, fabrication and testing. This broad range of capability allows you, our customer, to understand the chemical, and physical properties of advanced nanomaterials such as composites, films, fabrics, coatings, inks, pastes and photo resins. We have all of the necessary characterization and testing tools and expertise to fully understand materials properties including their chemical, electrical, mechanical, structural and morphological properties.


The Advanced Nanomaterials team has synthesis, processing and characterization equipment, as well as laboratory infrastructure for a vast array of applications, including:

Synthesis and processing equipment

  • Glove boxes
  • Ultracentrifuges
  • Large‑volume ultrasonicator systems
  • Dispersers
  • Plenary mixers
  • Jacketed pilot plant reactor
  • Fractional distillation system
  • Microtome
  • Synthesis of carbon nanotubes with chemical vapor deposition (SWCNT CVD) growth system
  • Solvent purification system
  • Rotary evaporators
  • Schlenk lines
  • Vacuum ovens

Fabrication equipment

  • Roller sheet press
  • Slot‑die/blade coater
  • Dynamic sheet former
  • Filament extruder system
  • Electro and melt spinning instruments
  • Stereolithography, digital processing 3D printers
  • Extrusion printers
  • Screen and flexo printers
  • Plasma reactor
  • Reactive ozone treatment
  • Reflow ovens
  • High‑temperature furnaces (vacuum and inert atmosphere)
  • Carver hot‑press
  • Aerosol thin‑film deposition system
  • Electric field‑assisted thin‑film deposition
  • Spin coater
  • Intense‑pulse‑light photonic sintering system
  • Inkjet printer

Characterization equipment

  • Powder X‑ray diffractometer
  • Spectrophotometer (UV‑Vis‑NRC)
  • Spectrofluorometer
  • Rheometers
  • Electrochemical workstation
  • Optical microscope
  • Optical particle sizer
  • Dynamic light‑scattering and zetapotential instrument
  • Gas chromatography
  • Attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • Coupled thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimeter (DSC), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and mass spectrometer (MS)
  • Scanning electron microscope
  • Tensile tester
  • Optical tensiometer / contact angle goniometer
  • Electrical probe station
  • Automated gas sensor test stations
  • Characterization setup with mixer‑diluter
  • Photoluminescence excitation mapping
  • Hyperspectral Raman/photoluminescence imaging
  • Raman excitation mapping
  • Electroluminescence
  • Dynamic vapour sorption analyzer
  • Micro‑Raman spectrometer

Laboratory infrastructure

  • ~40 fume hoods and work benches
  • 4 walk‑in fume hoods
  • HEPA‑filtered enclosures (safe handling and processing of engineered nanoparticles)
  • Ventilated enclosure for large equipment

Why work with us

We work with key collaborators in industry and in other research organizations to:

  • accelerate the development of innovative technologies
  • validate technologies for robustness and manufacturability
  • help reduce risk and lead time to turn innovation into products
  • work with defence and security partners as early adopters of disruptive technologies
  • focus on medium- and long‑range initiatives
  • translate global science and engineering advances into validated technology opportunities for Canadian industry

"Our partnership with the NRC provides us with unique access to the world's leading scientists and facilities. The NRC teams are at the very core of our innovation roadmap. Our strategic partnership with the NRC enabled E2IP Technologies to become a global leader in the printed electronics industry and has led directly to the commercial launch of our molecular ink (MINK) and In‑Mold Electronics (IME) platforms. It is a privilege and a source of great pride to be working in partnership with the passionate people at the NRC who are creating transformative opportunities for E2IP and the Canadian economy for decades to come."

François Lequin, e2ip

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Contact us

Roderick Paterson,
Director, Business Development


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