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Canada – Japan Partnership Supports Technology Commercialization and Research

July 12, 2011 — Edmonton, Alberta

Thanks to an international collaboration, Canadian companies will now have access to a uniquely configured transmission electron microscope, the first of its kind outside of Japan. It is one of three new microscopes unveiled by the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, and the Honourable Greg Weadick, Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, at the official opening of the Hitachi Electron Microscopy Products Centre (HEMiC) at the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) in Edmonton, Alberta.

“Innovation is the key to growing our economy, and this project will allow businesses to capitalize on the benefits of nanotechnology,” said the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “That translates to more jobs and more opportunities throughout our communities.”

The $15 million partnership expands NINT’s electron microscope capacity and capabilities, and will allow it to assist more Canadian companies in using nanotechnology for their products and processes. Partnering with Hitachi High Technologies will further support the development, evaluation and commercialization of NINT microscope innovations.

“Alberta’s strength in nanotechnology is growing on every front from research to commercialization,” said Greg Weadick, Minister of Advanced Education and Technology. “The Hitachi Electron Microscopy Products Centre is a place where talented people can push the boundaries of research, where companies can develop products and where graduate students can learn using the most advanced microscopes. This is the Alberta Innovates system in action.”

To celebrate the innovative partnership, Hitachi High Technologies’ chairman Dr. Hidehito Obayashi travelled from Japan to join the Ministers. The company, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, strives to manufacture and trade advanced technology.

“The Centre is a testimony to the close relationship between Hitachi and the National Institute for Nanotechnology,” said Ian Cotton, President of Hitachi High Technologies Canada. “Hitachi is pleased to witness the Centre’s opening and we are looking forward to bringing innovations made here to market in the near future.”

Financial contributions to the project were made by Hitachi High Technologies Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada, Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures, the University of Alberta, and the National Research Council of Canada.

Backgrounder

Public Sector Contributions to the Hitachi Electron Microscopy Products Centre Contributor

Government of Canada — $7.2M
-Western Economic Diversification Canada — $3.4M*
- National Research Council of Canada — $3.8M

Government of Alberta — $3.4M*
-Advanced Education and Technology — $1.7M
- Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures — $1.7M

University of Alberta — $1.5M

*Western Economic Partnership Agreement

Microscopes Funded by this Project

The Hitachi H-9500 Environmental transmission electron microscope (E-TEM) can study chemical reactions of samples in liquids and gases. Its capabilities include the possibility to heat the sample to temperatures exceeding 1500°C while exposed to various gases or study liquid samples at temperatures exceeding 300° C.

The Hitachi S-5500 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is one of the world’s highest resolution SEMs, which permits morphological observation down to nearly atomic or molecular structures of various materials.

The Hitachi NB5000 Focused Ion Beam + SEM combines the capabilities of high resolution scanning electron microscope (SEM) and a focused ion beam (FIB) column in one instrument. Samples can be simultaneously sliced by FIB and analyzed by SEM, in some cases yielding three-dimensional chemical and structural information at scales smaller than10 nanometres in length.

The National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) is Canada’s leading research and development organization working at the nano-scale. Established in 2001, it is a joint initiative of the National Research Council, the University of Alberta, the Government of Canada, and the Government of Alberta.

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