Our Team

SSW is privileged to serve as the home to several experts in the materials and surface analysis field. The team includes:

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Dr. Mark Biesinger

Director

Dr. Mark C. Biesinger is the director of Surface Science Western (Western University), Canada’s leading surface analysis and materials characterization facility. Mark is an internationally recognized expert in X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). He has several highly-cited publications in the field which focus on improvements in both sample analysis and data interpretation techniques, particularly in the analysis of transition metals. Mark also authors and maintains the X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) Reference Pages, a repository of techniques, tips and reference materials designed to help XPS users worldwide. He is author or co-author of over 60 peer-reviewed publications and has issued over 3000 proprietary technical reports to industry.

Mark joined Surface Science Western in 1992, first as a Chemistry graduate student examining the reactions of toxic gases on military grade charcoal filters, and then, in 1995, as a full-time Research Scientist. He has extensive experience with SSW’s wide range of surface analysis and materials characterization techniques including 25+ years of experience operating and maintaining various XPS, SEM/EDX, optical microscopes, and static and ToF-SIMS instruments.

Starting in 2010, Mark has led SSW’s business development, marketing, academic interaction and larger collaborative and commercial research project portfolios.
Mark also serves as Secretary-Treasurer for the Division of Surface Science of the Chemical Institute of Canada.

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Mr. Gary Good

Manager, Operations

Gary is the Operations Manager responsible for all aspects of laboratory business. Gary also manages our ISO 9001 registered quality system and has expertise in dynamic secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS).

Gary joined Surface Science Western in 1987 with a background in electronics research and development.
 
 

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Ms. Susan Brown

Budget Officer

Susan joined Surface Science Western in 1986 as an Administrative Assistant. Her vast experience, garnered in the departments of Finance and Purchasing at Western, has served the laboratory and its industrial and academic clients well during her tenure. Susan is responsible for all of the financial, human resources and accounting aspects of the facility, both for research and operations accounts.
 
 
 

Ms. Charlie MacDonald

Administrative Assistant

Charlie handles logistics and administrative duties at SSW and is a point of contact for our industrial and academic clients. She is also a key member of our marketing team.
 
 
 

Ms. Baian Almusned

Research Assistant

Baian joined Surface Science Western in 2018 after completing her Bachelor of Science degree, Honors Specialization in Chemistry, at Western University. Baian provides support to the research activities at SSW and is an integral member of the mineralogy group. She has expertise in scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), Raman spectroscopy, and dynamic secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). As part of her undergraduate research, Baian studied crevice corrosion of Ni-Cr-Mo alloys and her research was recognized at the 46th SOUSCC by a 1st place award in the Analytical chemistry division.

Mr. Ivan Barker

Research Scientist

Ivan joined Surface Science Western in 2018 as part of a large Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) grant. He is a specialist in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and related elemental x-ray techniques such as energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry (EDX) and wavelength dispersive x-ray spectrometry (WDX). Ivan brings to SSW a strong background in electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) microstructural analysis as well. To compliment this, he is currently developing proficiency with other imaging techniques, such as confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and x-ray micro computed tomography (MicroCT).

Prior to joining SSW, Ivan played a key role in the establishment of Western’s Zircon and Accessory Phase Laboratory (ZAPLab) in the Department of Earth Sciences, where he worked as a Research Technician for over eight years. Ivan has a background in geology, meteoritics and isotope geochemistry, and he has many peer-reviewed co-authored publications on the subjects. While in the ZAPLab, Ivan gained a wide breadth of knowledge from many different disciplines, including chemistry, engineering, and biology. Through this experience in the ZAPLab and at SSW, Ivan has worked with a range of people from both academic and industrial streams, and has found himself excelling at mentoring and working along-side students and researchers of all disciplines.

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Ms. Heather Bloomfield

Research Scientist

Heather joined Surface Science Western in 2001, as a full-time Research Scientist with a graduate degree in Chemistry, specializing in the corrosion of metals. Heather is a specialist in both scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis. She has a particular focus on the analysis of paint and coating issues within the automotive sector. One particular area she has developed over the past decade has been the use of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to analyse paint craters. With the expertise that she has developed and her thorough grasp of the many coating systems used in the automotive industry, Heather’s skills allow her to quickly assess the problems of her clients and assist them in reaching a satisfactory resolution. Heather also assists in maintaining our ISO 9001 Quality System.

Dr. Vahid Dehnavi

Research Scientist

Vahid is a materials engineer with special expertise in metallurgy, microstructural characterization, failure analysis, protective coatings, lightweight metals and alloys (aluminum, magnesium, and titanium), and corrosion. Vahid has developed expertise in X-ray diffraction (XRD), namely grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD) for coatings and films, scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), metallography and, more recently, X-ray microtomography. He is familiar with many materials processing techniques and can use his expertise to help various clients from the automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing sectors.

Vahid joined Surface Science Western in 2019, bringing with him over sixteen years of academic and industrial research experience. He has been involved in several industry-sponsored and applied research projects including: 1) the corrosion behaviour of copper-coated nuclear waste containers, 2) investigating the microstructure and corrosion properties of magnesium alloys for the automotive industry, 3) plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) protective coatings on lightweight metals, 4) investigating the microstructure and corrosion behaviour of additively manufactured (3D printing) titanium alloys, 5) improving the mechanical properties of automotive parts manufactured by powder metallurgy for the automotive industry, and 6) crevice corrosion of Ni-Cr-Mo alloys.

Additionally, Vahid has been involved in a number of multidisciplinary research projects with research teams from various organizations and has experience managing projects as well as supervising and mentoring students and postdoctoral fellows. He has several peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations and is serving as a volunteer technical reviewer for the journal Surface Coatings & Technology.

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Dr. Stamen Dimov

Senior Research Scientist

Stamen is an expert in ToF-SIMS and dynamic SIMS, focusing on the mineral processing industry. Stamen has over 65 publications in this area and holds one patent on “Methods for Polarization Amplitude Modulation of Laser Radiation”.

Stamen joined Surface Science Western in 2007 as an expert with over 25 years experience in supervising and conducting basic and applied research on the development and implementation of laser-and ion beam-based techniques for a broad range of applications. Since joining the team, Stamen has been actively engaged with the mineral processing industry, focusing on the characterization of ore deposits, optimization of metallurgical operations and improving recovery of precious metals. Stamen’s research objective is to broaden the range of such applications based on feedback from clients and research partners from the mining industry and to successfully commercialize them as routine diagnostic tools. Stamen has been very successful at obtaining many research projects based on these objectives.

Please see Stamen Dimov’s web page for more information.

Dr. Carolyn Hill

Research Scientist

Carolyn joined Surface Science Western in 2019 after completing her PhD in Geology at Western University, specializing in Precambrian sedimentology. She is the newest member of the mineralogy team and is currently developing proficiency in scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), ToF-SIMS, Raman spectroscopy, and their applications to the mineral processing industry, including assessing factors affecting value-added mineral recovery.

Throughout her time at Western, Carolyn has been involved in a variety of collaborative, multidisciplinary research projects with both academic and industrial partners. She has several peer-reviewed, co-authored publications and conference presentations related to her thesis research on the Paleoproterozoic Gordon Lake Formation, Huronian Supergroup. Carolyn is also interested in science education, communication, and outreach, and actively volunteers in these fields.

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Mr. Brad Kobe, P.Eng.

Research Scientist

Brad is a specialist in materials and failure analysis, helping companies from the automotive, aerospace and medical sectors. Brad has developed expertise in scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), X‑ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and, more recently, Raman spectroscopy and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD).

Brad first joined Surface Science Western in 1996 as a Materials Engineering graduate student studying the solderability of thin palladium films for the electronics industry, and then in 1999 as a full-time Research Scientist specializing in investigating coating related issues for the automotive industry. Brad has publications focused on research related to the oxidation of metals and two papers related to principal components analysis (PCA) using XPS imaging. Brad holds a patent on the study of thin films for the suppression of multipaction in communication satellites.

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Dr. Heng-Yong Nie

Research Scientist,
Adjunct Research Professor, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

Heng-Yong is an expert in atomic force microscopy (AFM), surface profilometry, and ToF-SIMS analysis. Heng-Yong’s main focus is on research projects involving developing scanning probe techniques and their application to soft matter, including polymers, biological tissues and surfactants. Heng-Yong has many publications and has secured numerous research projects in this field.

Heng-Yong joined Surface Science Western in 1997, with previous experience in electronic materials and solid-state devices. Heng-Yong also carries out research on the surface chemistry of materials and their modification with surfactants, including the dispersion of inorganic particles in polymer matrices. His research also includes the application of ToF-SIMS in his investigations of the bonding strength of surfactants self-assembled on oxides. Heng-Yong has used this technique with great success in the imaging of complex biological tissues.

Please see Heng-Yong Nie’s web page for more information.

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Dr. Sridhar Ramamurthy

Senior Research Scientist
Adjunct Research Professor, Dept. of Mech. and Mat. Eng.

Sridhar Ramamurthy is a Senior Research Scientist at Surface Science Western (SSW) and has over 35 years of experience in the application of surface analytical techniques to corrosion and electrochemical research. Currently he is involved in several industry-sponsored research projects, such as the corrosion behaviour of copper-coated steel for long-term used fuel storage (NWMO), improving corrosion resistance of weathering steels (MTO), assessing corrosion behaviour of typical engineering materials in solutions containing dilute fluoride ions (Imperial Oil), and the oxidation behaviour of steam generator tubing. Past research includes stress corrosion cracking of high strength low alloy steels and stainless steels, development of a salt spray test for coated aluminium body panel (SAE/Ford/GM/Chrysler), electrochemical behaviour of coated steel body panel (Ford), and corrosion behaviour of tinplated steel (AISI), assessing accumulated fatigue damage in pressure boundary materials (Kinectrics), and evaluation of corrosion inhibitors (Imperial Oil).

In addition, Sridhar is also a specialist in scanning Auger microprobe/Auger electron spectroscopy (AES) technique and is one of the prime Auger resources in Canada. Moreover, he also pioneered the use of X-ray tomography technique for the evaluation of copper coatings and other materials. Because of his expertise in the application of surface analytical techniques to resolve industrial corrosion problems, he has been invited to participate in major failure analysis investigations, such as the failure analysis of ASTM A490 bolts from the Nipigon Bridge in Ontario and the collapse of the Port Bruce Bridge.

He has been recently appointed as an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Western. In this capacity, he hopes to develop research projects and other collaborations with the academics from this department and other departments in the Engineering Faculty.

Moreover, he has been involved in the supervision of graduate and undergraduate research students and has mentored them on the evaluation and interpretation of analytical data. To-date, he has co-authored more than 75 peer-reviewed publications and 65 conference posters/presentations, has written 30 major research reports, and has made more than 90 oral presentations. He has also been invited to make presentations and chair sessions at technical conferences in corrosion, materials, and coating areas.

Finally, he manages the quality assurance aspects of four research projects sponsored by NWMO and manages the project budget and keeps track of progress for some of these projects. In this capacity, he works with Professors Noël and Shoesmith and their research groups daily and is responsible for meeting the project quality assurance requirements. In addition, he has established a strong working collaboration with other Canadian universities which has resulted in several joint peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. The steam/H2 reactor developed as part of this collaboration has been commercialized, with industry clients, such as Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), conducting their experiments at SSW.

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Ms. Rebecca Sarazen

Research Scientist

Rebecca joined Surface Science Western in 2004 with a background in analytical chemistry and specializes in Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray (SEM/EDX) and more recently Raman spectroscopy.

Rebecca has developed an expertise in the study of polymers, organic films, and coatings. She is also involved in numerous electrochemical and corrosion studies of coatings and specialized measurements for nuclear applications. She has been involved in an industry-sponsored research project sponsored by NWMO focusing on the corrosion behaviour of copper-coated steel for nuclear waste containers. She has been a leader in the characterization, corrosion and quality components of the project. She has co-authored many publications in this area.
 

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Ms. Mary Jane Walzak

Senior Research Scientist

Mary Jane Walzak is a specialist in Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy analysis and has also developed an expertise in the XPS and ToF‑SIMS analysis of polymeric materials. With numerous publications in the areas of polymer surface chemistry and analysis, she can also lend assistance to clients with issues in the area of gas phase treatment of polymer surfaces.

Mary Jane joined Surface Science Western in 1989 with over 12 years previous experience in materials characterization and analysis. With Mary Jane’s expertise and problem solving abilities, she has helped numerous clients resolve their complex manufacturing issues. Mary Jane is familiar with many industrial processes, allowing her to bring a unique perspective to a client’s problems. She has a special interest in the interaction of surface-active molecules with metal surfaces, the reactive treatment of polymer surfaces, and the analysis of polymers and organic surface contaminants. Her work has led to two patents on “Plasma Assisted Grafting of Maleic Anhydride to Polyolefins” and on a “Method of Controllable Morphology of Self-Assembled Monolayers on Substrates”

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Dr. David Shoesmith

Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Chemistry

David Shoesmith was educated at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom, where he received his Ph.D. in Electrochemistry in 1970. From 1970 to 1973 he was a post doctoral fellow at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, before joining Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). He worked at AECL’s Whiteshell Laboratories (Pinawa, Manitoba for 25 years achieving the rank of Principal Research Officer in 1991. He moved to the University of Western Ontario in 1998 and was appointed the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)/Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) Industrial Research Chair in nuclear waste disposal chemistry in 2000.

His research interests are in the area of localized corrosion (especially crevice corrosion), the development of techniques to analyze corroding surfaces, and development of deterministic and probabilistic models to describe and predict corrosion performance. He has published over 210 journal articles and refereed conference proceedings and 27 book chapters and review articles, and over 120 commercial and company reports. He has given approximately 50 invited lectures at national and international conferences. He has graduated over 20 graduate students many of whom have won awards (30 since 2001) at national and international meetings.

He has received a number of national and international awards from the Electrochemical Society (Lash Miller Award, Canadian Electrochemistry Award), the Canadian Metallurgical Society (Cohen Award), and NACE International (Whitney Award). In 2010, he was recognized for excellence in graduate student mentoring by the University of Western Ontario. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Chemistry, the Electrochemical Society and NACE International.

His research covers a number of diverse areas with a primary emphasis on corrosion issues (containers, wasteforms) related to the storage and disposal of high level nuclear waste. In this area his research is primarily funded by the Canadian NWMO (who sponsor his university research chair), the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB, Stockholm) and the USA Department of Energy. He also acts as a consultant to Nagra (Switzerland) and serves on a review board for the French disposal program. Outside the area of nuclear waste disposal, he has funded research programs in the areas of gas transmission pipelines, the automotive industry and an NSERC discovery grant to investigate the basic science of the influence of films and deposits on corrosion and interfacial electrochemical processes. Using this last grant he has pioneered the development of in-situ neutron reflectrometry to investigate multilayered materials interfaces.

He is an experienced conference and symposium organizer having organized and chaired a number of international meetings for NACE International, the Electrochemical Society, the International Society of Electrochemistry and the Materials Research Society.

Dr. James Noël

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Chemistry
Affiliate Member of SSW

Jamie is an electrochemist and corrosion scientist, with special expertise in in situ neutron reflectometry, crevice corrosion, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. His research interests include corrosion of candidate materials for use in nuclear waste repositories and other nuclear systems, passivity of metals, the role of hydrogen in corrosion processes, corrosion under deposits (e.g., clay) and technique development, including electroanalytical sensors and neutron scattering for applications in corrosion science.

Jamie became an Affiliate Member of Surface Science Western in 2016, but has been collaborating with SSW staff since 1998, when he joined the Department of Chemistry as Research Scientist. His 27 years as a research scientist, mainly solving corrosion problems for the nuclear industry, also include 2 years with the Systems Chemistry and Reactor Decontamination Project Group at Ontario Hydro and 7 years with the Fuel Waste Technology Branch at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. At Western University he was Senior Research Scientist serving the 6 Industrial Research Chair terms of Professors D.W. Shoesmith and J.C. Wren.

Jamie is a recipient of the Lash Miller Award of the Canadian Section of the Electrochemical Society and currently serves the Electrochemical Society as Chair of the Education Committee, Secretary-Treasurer of the Corrosion Division, and instructor of a short course on the Fundamentals of Electrochemistry. He is Associate Editor of CORROSION Journal and a member of the Campbell Award Selection Committee for the National Association of Corrosion Engineers.