Lakehead University Center for Analytical Services (LUCAS)

Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario
What the facility does

Provides advanced testing services to regional and international clients using the latest in research equipment. Allows hands-on access to technologies that directly impact Northern Ontario’s economic future.

Areas of expertise

Lakehead University’s Centre for Analytical Services (LUCAS) represents a group of Lakehead University laboratories that provide a single access point for analytical services and expertise, everything from chemical and physical soil/vegetation testing to human mitochondrial DNA analysis, that are unique to the region. These analytical services are available on a fee-for-service basis to all Lakehead University faculty and students, as well as the private sector. LUCAS laboratories combine experienced technical staff, internationally recognized researchers and unique technology of the university to offer a wide range of scientific testing in a single location. LUCAS has clients from across Canada, as well as Minnesota and Wisconsin. At LUCAS, we meet analytical needs with accurate and fast service. The broad multi-disciplinary expertise and state of the art analytical equipment at Lakehead can provide many testing services, all under one roof.

A full list of LUCAS member laboratories include:

Aquatic Toxicity Research Centre (ATRC)
ATRC specializes in regulatory testing-monitoring of the effect of effluents on aquatic organisms, from pulp and paper mills to mines and related industrial discharges in Northwestern Ontario. ATRC offers a full range of toxicity testing services to industry and government, including acute testing with rainbow trout and water fleas.

Biomass Utilization Research Laboratory (BURL)
The Lakehead University Biomass Utilization Research Laboratory offers access to the unique pulping research facilities in the Chemical Engineering Department. The lab contains similar equipment located at pulp and paper mills, and equipment capable of recreating the pulping process. Though the facility is highly involved in research, its facilities are excellent for sampling and testing.

Biotechnology Laboratory for Enzymes and Bioproducts (BLEB)
BLEB focuses on applied biotechnological analytical services in bioproduct analysis, biodegradation studies, enzyme assay, microbiology and aspects of molecular biology.

Forest Soils Laboratory (FoReST)
FoReST Laboratory serves a broad clientele with a full array of chemical and physical soil/vegetation testing.

Our highly qualified staff, specialized equipment, and technical facilities have been specifically designed to meet today’s soil, vegetation, and nutrient management challenges. FoReST Laboratory offers OMAFRA soil recommended services.

Lakehead University Environmental Laboratory (LUEL)
The Lakehead University Environmental Laboratory offers chemical analysis of soils, foliage, water and wastewaters and supports teaching and research at Lakehead University, offering access to production-based analytical methods. The laboratory demonstrates proficiency through the NWRI and the Brooks Rand Labs proficiency testing programs. Clients can be assured of accurate results because the laboratory is accredited to ISO 17025 for many water tests, and mercury, methylmercury and metals in biological samples (see for a complete scope).

Lakehead University Instrumentation Laboratory (LUIL)
The LUIL is a multi-purpose, centralized facility serving researchers and students from three faculties, providing access to the fundamental tools needed for modern research and training.

Lakehead University-Geospatial Data Centre- (LUGDC)
The LUGDC provides various mapping and 3D imaging services to Northwestern Ontario and beyond.

Lakehead University Genetic Services (LUGEN)
Research involves method development. Emphasis on biological remains that have proved challenging to recover biomolecules from using conventional methods. Services involve design and development of methods to retrieve macromolecules of interest from degraded remains which has applications in numerous fields, principally archaeology, forensic and medical science.

Lakehead University Material Characterization Services (LUMCS)
At the heart of LUMCS are its materials characterization services, including chemical characterization, atomic force microscopic analysis, and measurement of chemical, electrical and optical properties. LUMCS also provides services related to aqueous silicon chemistry and silicates, and fabrication of thin films and synthesis of nanostructured materials, such as nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanowires, nanofibres, and nanoshells, and a wide range of computational chemistry services, including: quantum chemistry based thermodynamic, spectroscopic and kinetic parameters, electronic structure based properties such as atomic charges and molecular orbitals, quantum chemistry based assessment of intramolecular interactions, and high quality single molecule figures and artwork.

Lakehead University Mineralogy & Experimentation Laboratory (LUMINX)
LUMINX serves as a bridge between the minerals industry and university researchers by providing advanced mineralogical and geochemical services that are not routinely available from commercial firms.

Lakehead University Wood Science Testing Facility  (LUWSTF)
Summary of major services: abrasion testing of flooring and other surfaces; biofuels calorie testing; wood structural mapping (X-ray); wood chip analysis; wood mechanical and physical properties.

Paleo-DNA Laboratory (PDNA)
PDNA is the leader in human mitochondrial DNA analysis. We were one of the first Canadian laboratories to develop mitochondrial DNA analysis techniques and the first to offer a DNA training course emphasizing mitochondrial DNA analysis.

Testing Services include: paternity; twin zygosity; siblingship; archaeological; ancestry, canine DNA. We also offer molecular services and training programs.

Research services

Materials Analysis Services, Mineral Testing Services, environmental testing, forestry, soils and biomass testing; genetics and ancient DNA; mapping and 3D imaging services, bioproduct analysis, biodegradation studies, enzyme assay, microbiology training programs for students.

Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Clean technology
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Mining, minerals and metals
Specialized labEquipment
Lakehead University Instrumental Laboratory (LUIL)


  • NMR: Varian Unity Inova 500
  • XRD: PANalytical X’pert Pro Diffractometer
  • FTIR: Bruker Tensor 37 with Hyperion 2000 IR Microscope
  • SPECS: Cary5e UV-VIS-NIR, Cary 50



  • ICP-AES: Varian Vista Pro Radial
  • ICP-MS: PerkinElmer Elan DRC-e
  • CHNS [Cl] Elementar vario EL



  • GC-MS: Varian 450 GC - 300 MS/MS
  • IC: Dionex ICS-1100
  • HPLC: Waters Alliance
  • LC-MS: Dionex U3000/Bruker amaZon X


Research Microscopes

  • SEM/EDS: Hitachi Su-70 Schottky Field Emission SEM*
  • PHOTO MICROSCOPES: Leica MS5, Zeiss Ultraphot, Inverted Microscope: Olympus IX51 (DIC,FL, Phase)


Particle Size Characterization

  • CAD Zeta Phoremeter
  • EPA5002 Mastersizer 2000 particle size analyzer with Hydro 2000MU


  • FREEZE DRYER: Labconco FreeZone 12
  • DATA SERVER: Dell 1500
Lakehead University Material Characterization Services (LUMCS)
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Scanning tunneling microscopy
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Total organic carbon analyzer
  • BET surface area analyzer
  • Several electrochemical workstations
  • Pure water system
  • Facilities for the synthesis of nanomaterials
  • Netzsch STA 449 F1 Simultaneous Thermal Analyzer (RT to 1500°C), for thermal gravimetric analysis (TG) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)
  • Calmetrix I-Cal 8000 Isothermal Calorimeter, for concrete and cement
Lakehead University Nutrient Ecology Laboratory (LUMINX)

Environmental Testing:

  • Static acid base accounting
  • 4 inch and 8 inch kinetic humidity cell array (in accordance with ASTM method D5744)
  • 24 inch (long) x 4 inch (OD) leaching columns
  • 8-cell flow-through system (typically used for simulation of permeable reactive barriers), with optional post-treatment oxidation cells


Petrological/Material Testing:

  • 1300°C Mellen vertical tube furnaces with rapid-quench pressure vessels (Stellite and TMZ alloys) with a maximum pressure of 2 kbar
  • 1300°C Mellen horizontal tube furnace
  • Coretest rocking autoclaves (max. operating conditions 400°C and 0,5 kbar) for water-rock reaction testing and solubility testing.
  • Deltech 1600°C Top Hat™ furnace
  • Lindberg/Blue M™ 1200°C Split-Hinge Tube Furnaces
  • Olympus BX2M microscopes (two) and a Linkham MDS600 motorized stage system
Lakehead University-Geospatial Data Centre- (LUGDC)
  • ArcMap
  • ArcCatalog
  • ArcScene
  • ArcGlobe
  • Quantum GIS
  • Network Analyst
  • 3D Analyst
  • Image Analyst
  • Feature Analyst
  • Geostatistical Analyst
  • Spatial Analyst
  • PCI Geomatica
Paleo-DNA Laboratory (PDNA)


  • ABI Prism 7000 Sequence Detection System
  • Eppendorf Mastercycler 3
  • Cepheid Smartcycler® II
  • PTC-225 DNA Engine Tetrad Peltier Thermal Cycler
  • PCR Sprint Thermal Cycler
  • Bio-Rad C1000 Thermal Cycler



  • VWR Galaxy Mini-Centrifuge
  • Eppendorf Mini- Centrifuge
  • Spectrafuge Mini
  • Mini- centrifuge mini-spin
  • Eppendorf Centrifuge 5804
  • Eppendorf Centrifuge 5415D
  • IEC-HN-S Centrifuge
  • Savant™ DNA Speed Vac™ DNA-120
  • Spectrafuge
Biotechnology Laboratory for Enzymes and Bioproducts (BLEB)
  • Floor Model Shaking Incubator
  • Benchtop Shaking Incubators, (4) Centrifuges
  • DNA Gel Electrophoresis System
  • Protein Gel Electrophoresis System
  • Freezers and Fridges
  • Water Baths
  • Real Time PCR and Regular PCR Machines
  • Digital pH Meter
  • Balances
  • Gas Chromatography, and many other pieces of equipment
  • Osisko Mining Corporation
  • EcoSuperior
  • Landale Gardens
  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN)
  • Resolute Forest Products – FF/TB
  • Sleepy G Farm
  • Vanderwees Home & Garden
  • Western Ag Innovations
  • ALS - Power and Mines
  • Goldstone Resources Inc.
  • Premier Gold Mines Ltd.
  • Inmet Mining Corp.- Winston Lake Div.
  • Noranda Mining and Exploration Inc.
  • Xstrata Canada Geco /Wilroy
  • Seine River & Naicatchewenin First Nations
  • Wasaho Cree Nation – Fort Seven First Nation
  • Maya Gold & Silver Inc.
  • Osisko Hammond Reef Gold Ltd.
  • Zenyatta Ventures Ltd.
  • Codiac RCMP
  • Committee Films
  • DNA Diagnostic Center
  • DNA Ireland
  • Ethnoscop Inc.
  • Franco Investigation Services Ltd.
  • Hoggard Films
  • Mitomics Inc.
  • North of Superior Adoption Services
  • Paternity Testing Corporation/ Japan
  • Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute
  • University of Iceland
  • University of Northern Colorado
Aerobic bacterial pyrite oxidation and acid rock drainage during the Great Oxidation Event
Member Laboratories - LUCAS
Geochemistry and geodynamic implications of the Mesoproterozoic English Bay granite–rhyolite complex, northwestern Ontario

Geology, ore characteristics, and origin of the

Albany graphite deposit