Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost for a ‘typical’ job?

There is no ‘typical’ job! Cost depends on several factors, particularly the number of samples to be analysed and the range of techniques required to provide you with answers.

A small-to-medium-sized job (e.g. assessing contamination issues, determining paint defect and failure causes, carrying out bulk or surface analysis of a few samples, problem solving) may range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Multi-sample, multi-technique jobs (e.g. exploring larger scale research and development questions, performing ongoing longer-term Q.A. analyses, process improvement diagnoses) can range from a few thousand to several thousand dollars. Our minimum charge for industrial work is $300 per job.

Our researchers have also leveraged industrial funding with traditional Canadian government grant-type funding for longer-term research projects including NSERC Alliance  Grants ($20K – $1M/year), Ontario Research Fund Grants, MITACS funding and others.

We offer a free no obligation quotation and initial consultation for all our services.

How fast can I get results?

You can expect results for smaller jobs within approximately 10 business days. Our stringent Quality Management System (ISO 17025:2017) monitors job completion deadlines. If results are not provided within 15 business days (for normal turnaround), a job is considered late. Monthly statistical job completion updates by our Quality Manager ensure continuous improvement and customer satisfaction with regard to turnaround. Expedited analyses (1-, 3- and 5-day) are available at a surcharge.


Can I be present during the analyses?

Absolutely, and we encourage this. It is particularly helpful with analyses involving complex systems or samples or where specific handling requirements for time-/air-/water-/light-sensitive specimens are necessary.

What are your payment options?

We accept VISA and MasterCard, however, please note that you will be invoiced in CAD funds. Payment can also be made via the traditional purchase order/cheque system, with international clients being invoiced in USD.

To ensure a client’s credit card information remains secure, Western employees are no longer permitted to accept credit card information by any medium, i.e. verbally, face-to-face, phone, e-mail of facsimile.
Western has implemented an on-line credit card payment form that replaces the old fillable form. There is no need to print or fax anything; simply fill in and submit the on-line form. Credit Card – Accounts Receivable On-Line Credit Card Payment

Alternately, you can use this direct link http://ar.fin.uwo.ca/

VISA and MasterCard are accepted. You will need your Customer Number (WES999999) and Invoice Number (T999999) located on the top right of your invoice. Credit card transactions are processed in Canadian currency. Contact accountsreceivable@uwo.ca if you have an invoice in US currency.

How do I submit samples?

Shipping details can be found here.

Samples can also be dropped off during regular office hours (8:00 AM to 4:00 PM M-F). Free visitor parking is available in front of our building. A completed Analysis Request Form is required before we can proceed with any analyses. This ensures we have a full understanding of your samples and requirements, along with all pertinent contact information.

Samples and area(s) of analysis should be clearly marked and labelled, kept clean (i.e. free of fingerprints, dirt, debris), and packaged separately to avoid cross-contamination. Ensure that the materials are secure and packaged to withstand transportation, handling and temperature extremes.

What about confidentiality?

Surface Science Western ensures the complete security of your project. Western has a standard non-disclosure agreement or documentation can be tailored to fit your individual needs. Most instruments are in separate rooms to provide a private working environment for the client and analyst. We are an unbiased organization and are not affiliated with any private company or research network.

What certifications does Surface Science Western have?

SSW is an ISO 17025:2017 registered organization. All of our staff and researchers have WHMIS training, and laser, X-ray and radiation safety training where required. We have a facility license to work with unsealed radioactive materials of up to 10 MBq in activity. Projects can also be carried out under specialized Q.A. requirements (e.g. N286-12 – management system requirements for nuclear facilities).