Scientists are often asked about their ‘eureka moment’ — the flash of insight that led to a discovery. But sometimes those moments are made possible by a much more prosaic reality: having the right tool or method at hand to spark those unexpected ideas, and enable their exploration. So what happens if the research field
Sophisticated sensors have become embedded in virtually every aspect of our daily environment. Yet today, airplane pilots and wind turbine technicians still largely rely on visual inspection to assess ice buildup, a potentially catastrophic condition.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered research labs around the world, University of Notre Dame’s Matthew Morrison was thinking about a different kind of threat: the looming limits of Moore’s Law, which pose critical problems for the development of more powerful, ever-smarter computer hardware.
A decade after creating the world’s first graduate-level course for designing and making nanophotonic integrated circuits, UBC Professor Lukas Chrostowski enjoys seeing his students continue to push the limits of innovation in this expanding technology.
An all-silicon modulator developed by Université Laval professors Leslie Rusch (left) and Wei Shi achieved the fastest-ever transmission on silicon photonics. Their low-cost, low-energy component, produced through standard foundry processes, solves a significant challenge in next-generation semiconductor design.
Photo credit: Reinier deSmit
Dr. Pierre Sullivan, left, with Dr. Amirreza Amighi (centre) and Dr. Nasser Ashgriz combined imaging, machine-learning, and statistical analytics to bring quality control to the tiny particles emitted by spray nozzles in a wide variety of industrial applications.
Photo credit: Reinier deSmit
Ultra-sensitive detectors for capturing light signals developed by Université de Sherbrooke’s Jean-François Pratte and his team, including Frédéric Vachon, foreground, are advancing the power and sophistication of a broad range of imaging technologies, from PET scanners to big-science endeavours such as neutrino detection.
Dr. David Roy-Guay, right, is working with students Vincent Halde (centre) and Olivier Bernard to miniaturize his novel, diamond-based magnetometer prototype. The quantum sensor technology shows promise in a wide variety of applications, including research in outer space.
Jayshri Sabarinathan, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Western University, has used her experience with microsensors and nanofabrication to develop higher-performing multi-spectral cameras for agricultural monitoring in collaboration with industry partner A&L Canada Labs.
Building on his groundbreaking work in computer hardware innovation, Andreas Moshovos (second from left) of University of Toronto is leading a national network of university researchers focused on advancing machine learning into new levels of function akin to human capabilities of hearing, sensing or reading.
University of Alberta Professor Walied Moussa and graduate student Shichao Yue have taken touchscreen capability to a new level through their development of a “Real Touch” 3D sensor array (inset) that can measure the full range of forces on a surface with unprecedented sensitivity.
University of Alberta professor Pedram Mousavi (left) and research scientist Rashid Mirzavand have developed a self-powered sensor for smart antennas, capable of operating in challenging settings.
A nano-edge microelectrode developed by University of Calgary researchers Colin Dalton (right) and Pierre Wijdenes is taking brain research to a new level.
The function of computers depends on a myriad of intricate interactions between the hardware and software inside the machine. As computers become faster, more powerful and increasingly sophisticated, so too does the complexity of those hardware-software “conversations” – and that poses a significant problem for computer engineers.
Nanofabrication capabilities helped Queen’s University researchers and their graduate students develop a novel, highly sensitive portable biosensor that can be manufactured simply and inexpensively. Their technology now forms the basis of an award-winning startup company, Spectra Plasmonics. Shown left to right: Malcolm Eade, Spectra CEO; Graham Gibson, Hannah Dies, Aris Docoslis and Josh Raveendran.
Developing ultra-sensitive vibration sensors for a global defence company enabled microsensor
innovator Dr. Behraad Bahreyni (left) and his team at Simon Fraser University to identify new commercial
opportunities—and establish an award-winning startup company—for advancing their technologies into
Joyce Poon, Sorin Voinigescu and their teams solved a significant problem in short-distance optical communications with their development of a 3-D integrated transmitter using a CMOS driver. Their novel solution combines the advantages of high performance and low power consumption with low-cost, established manufacturing processes.
Neil Roy Choudhury and Hamid Sadabadi, Concordia University graduates, leveraged their mutual expertise and interest in microfluidics and biosensing to create their Calgary-based startup, Frontier Fluidics. Experience using advanced design tools and industrial manufacturing processes is enabling them to create next-generation labs-on-a-chip that mimic real-world environments, customized for innovators doing a broad range of research and experimentation.
Dr. Jean Samuel Chenard’s graduate student research more than a decade ago into integrated, networked technologies anticipated the Internet of Things. Today, Motsai Inc., the company he founded on his research, develops specialized, sophisticated technologies for wearable device and telecommunications markets.
Nanomechanics specialist John P. Davis (left) and his students Pearse
and Callum Doolin developed the first digital photodetector capable of
measuring the quantum properties of nanomechanical systems. Their
instrument, now on the market through their startup company Resolved
Instruments, opens up new opportunities in the emerging field of quantum
A fresh approach to wireless transceiver design has helped École de technologie supérieure professors Frederic Nabki (bottom right) and Dominic Deslandes (bottom centre) develop a new technology with dramatically lower energy requirements, offering potential for devices that never need recharging Their chip is now being commercialized by their startup company, SPARK Microsystems. Other team members, from left to right include Rabia Rassil, Antoine Collerette, Gabriel Morin-Laporte and Michiel Soer.
A state-of-the-art wireless communication solution developed for the Canadian military by Sofiane
Bounaffaa and his graduate supervisor Francois Gagnon (École de technologie supérieure) formed the
basis of a startup company that is helping companies and institutions improve the performance of their own
Western University’s Jun Yang (left) uses surface chemistry to modify and add functionality to materials through initiator-integrated 3D printing (i3DP). Formi 3DP, his startup company co-founded with assistance from Patrick Therrien (right), uses this novel, low-cost process to develop polymer “stem cells” capable of creating 3-D objects with user-defined properties, and holds promise for the efficient production of complex electronic circuitry.
For infertile couples, the expense, duration and low success rates of assisted reproduction can make the process a physical and emotional ordeal.
University of Waterloo innovator Karim Karim (far right) and his team combined existing LCD technology
and manufacturing processes with a unique electronic architecture to create better, safer and lower-cost
X-ray imaging. Their technology offers the potential to improve disease screening and diagnosis worldwide,
especially in remote and underserved communities.
Dr. Réjean Fontaine and his graduate students at Université de Sherbrooke examine the detection system
of their novel LabPET II small-animal scanner. Data-acquisition capability integrated within the system
enables imaging with unprecedented contrast-to-noise ratio and spatial resolution. The technology has earn
multiple awards for his graduate students.
Dr. Boris Stoeber (right), professor at University of British Columbia, is redefining drug delivery through the
development of painless, hollow metal microneedle arrays that barely penetrate the skin. More recently,
he and his team have integrated optical sensing properties into these arrays, offering a faster, cheaper and
less invasive alternative to hypodermic-based blood sampling for drug monitoring. Founder of microneedle
startup Microdermics, he is shown here with company co-founder Iman Mansoor (centre) and Dr. Mehrsa
Raeiszadeh (left), Microdermics employee.
Tasked with upgrading the thousands of complex sensors that help drive the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, U of T researchers Dr. Richard Teuscher (Institute of Particle Physics – IPP) (right) and Dr. Robert Orr (left) found the expertise they needed in Canadian company Celestica.
Academic entrepreneur Hossein Kassiri (centre) developed an implantable device with micro-EEG capability
to actively detect and prevent epileptic seizures. His technology is now being commercialized through
Braincom, a startup company he created with business partner Nima Soltani (left).
Measuring success by the micrometre: Industry-university collaboration helps automotive companies innovate
Rashid Rashidzadeh, adjunct professor at University of Windsor, and his students helped Canadian automotive supplier Landau Gage address a key productivity barrier for parts manufacturers while developing highly skilled innovators for the advanced technology manufacturing sector
Dr. Leonid Belostotski’s pioneering development of focal plane arrays with low-noise receivers is solving a
major problem in cosmic research while creating novel technologies with broad commercial potential. The
University of Calgary researcher’s work is part of a global effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope
for transformational research into the evolution of our universe.
Ghazal Nabovati (centre right), PhD candidate at Polytechnique Montréal’s Polystim Neurotechnology Lab, successfully integrated biology, chip design, electronics, software and mechanical prototyping to develop a novel cell imaging platform that makes cell analysis simple, fast and automatic.
The opportunity to nurture new talent and share technology innovation via Canada’s National Design Network proved irresistible to industrial research scientist Sudip Shekhar. Now assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering at University of British Columbia, the former Intel employee left the U.S. to pursue research innovation in silicon photonics while mentoring students in this emerging field.
A novel power converter developed by Queen’s University PhD candidate Marko Krstic (right) under the supervision of Dr. Praveen Jain, Canada Research Chair in Power Electronics, offers significantly higher efficiency than commercially available chips.