Surface Science Western (SSW)

Canada’s Premier Surface Analysis and Materials Characterization Facility

SSW is a research and consulting laboratory specializing in the analysis and characterization of surfaces and materials. Since its inception in 1981, SSW has successfully served thousands of clients from across a diverse range of industry sectors, and in servicing this vast range of clients, from small manufacturing facilities to industrial giants, SSW has garnered a reputation for quality, innovation, and timely service.

Susanna Manuscript Study
Susanna’s Secret – A 12th Century German Palimpsest?

This 12th century 'Susanna and the Elders' medieval manuscript, dating from around 1125 in Germany, may have been a rare case of a "palimpsest". SSW researchers wanted to characterize this in detail.

Low-Voltage FESEM Imaging of Biofilms

SSW used our field-emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) to image Shewanella Oneidensis on a carbon felt electrode at low accelerating voltages.

Publication Highlight: Manipulating Li2S2/Li2S mixed discharge products of all-solid-state lithium sulfur batteries for improved cycle life
Publication Highlight: Manipulating discharge products of lithium sulfur batteries

Our recent Nature Communications publication utilizes ToF-SIMS to probe discharge products of all-solid-state Li-S batteries using various spectroscopic techniques, with the intentions of designing a feasible strategy to improve their performance.

Lithium Ores
Digitizing Lithium Ores to Help Transition to a Green Future

Global lithium demand is skyrocketing as we transition to the mass adoption of green technology and a carbon neutral economy. Understanding the nature of lithium’s mineralization is vital for its effective extraction from ores and the ability to accurately estimate future deposits.

Using Micro-CT in the Electronics Industry

SSW researchers are leveraging non-destructive methods, such as Micro-CT, to analyze and image sensitive electronics.

SEM-Based UVD-CL Microscopy at SSW
SEM-Based UVD-CL Microscopy

At SSW our SEM instruments are capable of CL imaging through a special light based detector called an Ultra Variable-Pressure Detector (UVD). This detector can produce stunning greyscale CL images of materials such as zircon.

Metrological Techniques at Surface Science Western
Metrological Techniques at Surface Science Western

Surface Science Western has a collection of metrological tools to measure, quantify, and analyze surface morphology of samples at various length scales, from nanometers to centimeters. Please see our technical note of these exciting techniques, which includes information on instrument selection, analysis requirements, and outcomes based on the surface finish.

Publication Highlight: Investigating the structure of the oxide on Ni-Cr-Mo alloys using QUASES
Publication Highlight: Investigating the structure of the oxide on Ni-Cr-Mo alloys using QUASES

Our recent publication utilizes QUASES to obtain additional information that is not extracted during conventional XPS analysis.

Fufu corrosion in cookware
Enjoying that Fufu? Investigating Corrosion in Cookware

Due to the global consumption of various foods, such as the West African food Fufu, there is a need to understand the role of cookware corrosion, so that the material choices for cooking can be improved to decrease the negative health risks from leeched metal ions.

Mouse Head
Investigating a developing mouse skull using Micro-CT

Surface Science Western are using Micro-CT to image and analyze the bones and cartilages of developing mouse skulls to better understand skull development in normal and disrupted developmental conditions.

Characterizing the Marine Menace – Microplastics

When most people think of the source of the plastics in the environment, plastic bottles and litter are the first things that come to mind. However in actuality, many of the microplastics identified are tiny fibres from our clothes or small plastic beads from cosmetics, soaps, face washes and toothpastes.

SEM of Laundry Wastewater
Publication Highlight: Unravelling the Mysteries of Laundry Microplastic Pollution

Microfibers were studied from “real-world” laundry dryer lint screens and compared to microfibers found in laundry wastewater

SEM of Books
Shakespeare Exposed! SEM Imaging of Old Books

SSW Researchers wanted to test some novel samples inside the Large Chamber VP-SEM, so they imaged a whole book – a 1909 copy of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.

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Proven Results

With over 250 people-years of experience and unparalleled interpretive skills, our researchers have proven themselves to provide unsurpassed results.

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Industrial Solutions

SSW has a long history of service that has allowed the development of a high level of expertise across a range of industry sectors and fields.

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Exceptional Service

We offer clients a range of high-quality services and cost-effective customized solutions, with access to the latest in analytical technology and techniques.

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Clients Each Year
Companies Helped Each Year
Industrial Projects Each Year
  • The high quality, reliable analytical services provided to our clients for over 30 years have facilitated development and production, decreased costly returns, innovated processes and increased profitability.

Client Satisfaction

*Based on our annual customer survey

ISO 17025 Accredited


Our affiliations with experienced professionals from Western University and other complementary facilities extend our state-of-the-art capabilities.