Biomaterials and Chemical Synthesis Facility

National Research Council Canada, Montreal, Québec
What the facility does

Research and development of biomaterials through biomass valorization and sustainable chemistry 

Areas of expertise

The Biomaterials and Chemical Synthesis facility supports projects integral to the bioeconomy through expertise in terrestrial/aquatic biomass valorization and sustainable chemistry. The facility team conducts chemical synthesis for discovery, kg-scale up, and technology transfer to/from external clients.

There are two main labs within the facility: Surface Chemistry and Characterization. The Surface Chemistry lab is a traditional wet-chemistry laboratory with pilot reactors for kg-scale, multi-step synthesis of materials ranging from small organic molecules and inorganic compounds, to nanopolysaccharide (cellulose, chitin, and chitosan nanocrystals) materials and high molecular weight polymers. The Characterization lab is a microscopy laboratory intended for imaging of materials down to the nanoscale dimensions. Together, these laboratories provide the infrastructure required to respond to client needs quickly, and are well suited to conduct high-risk, multidisciplinary research and development in biomaterials for the agrochemical, energy and health sectors.

Research services
  • Development of nanopolysaccharide technologies
  • Biomass valorization for specialty chemicals and sustainable materials
  • Chemical catalysis
  • Encapsulation science
  • Multistep organic synthesis of small molecules and polymers up to kg-scale
  • Micro- and nano-imaging of inorganic and biological materials
Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Clean technology
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Ocean industries

Specialized Lab



Characterization lab

Hitachi H-7500 Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) (120 kV)

TEM with bottom-mounted AMT NanoSprint 12 camera (12 MP) for nanomaterial imaging. Resolution is <1 nm.

Characterization lab

DeLong LVEM 5 Transmission Electron Microscope and Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (TEM/FESEM) (5 kV)

TEM/FESEM for biomaterial imaging without the need for staining. Resolution of 4 nm.

Characterization lab

Hitachi S-3000N Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

SEM with energy-dispersive X-ray detector (EDX) for surface and compositional analysis. Resolution is 50 nm.

Characterization lab

Digital Instruments Dimension 3100 Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

AFM equipped with a Nanoscope IV controller for sample topography in contact or tapping mode. Resolution is <1 nm.

Surface Chemistry lab

Radleys Reactor-Ready Pilot Lab Reactor (20L)

Universal pilot-scale chemical synthesis system with an operating temperature of -40 to 250 ˚C

Surface Chemistry lab

Heidolph Rotary Evaporator (10L)

Pilot-scale rotary evaporator for solvent removal during chemical synthesis.

Surface Chemistry lab

Pope Benchtop Nutsche Filter-Dryer (ANFD) (5L)

Replaces the traditional laboratory-scale Buchner funnel: enables high volume separation of solids from liquids.

Surface Chemistry lab

Parr Series 5100 Low Pressure Reactor (Titanium-grade) (1L)

High pressure (1000 psi) and temperature controlled batch reactor (up to 225 ˚C) for chemical synthesis.