Ingenuity Lab

Nanotechnology in Canada

Nanotechnology refers to the use and study of particles, including supramolecular, molecular, and atomic matter. Nanoscience has many applications across fields such as engineering, materials science, medicine, physics, biology, and chemistry.

Practical Applications

There are many practical applications of nanomaterials such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide particles in food items, cosmetic products, and sunscreen. Silver nanoparticles are used for the production of appliances, disinfectants, clothes, and packaging. Nanoscale films are applied on windows, camera and computer displays, and eyeglasses and help improve their antimicrobial properties, antireflective properties, and resistance to infrared and ultraviolet rays. Films on surfaces also make them scratch-resistant and water-proof. New materials are also used to create electronics and sensors that are added to fabrics and allow for health monitoring. Additives are used to manufacture durable and lightweight items such as suitcases, automotive parts, bicycles, tennis rackets, baseball bats, and many others. Lightweight materials that are used in automobile manufacturing could result in better quality and reduced fuel consumption. Finally, nanotechnology is used for groundwater and wastewater treatment and filtration and desalination. Cellulosic materials are used across industries, including defense, healthcare, energy generation, packaging, construction, electronics, etc.

Nanoproducts in Canada

Different nanoproducts are manufactured in Canada, including pesticides, industrial and consumer products, food packaging and food items, and health and beauty products. Nanomaterials, for example, are added to foods, additives, and ingredients to make them more nutritious and fat-free. Drugs that contain nanoparticles include herbal and mineral supplements, serums and vaccines of biological origin, and non-prescription and prescription drugs.

A number of Canadian companies specialize in nanotechnology, among which Patt Technologies, Opalux, Northwest Mettech, Micralyne, CG2 Nanocoatings, and many others. Northwest Mettech, for example, specializes in the production of thermal spray coating equipment, including suspension and liquid feeders and plasma spray systems. The company also offers coating solutions such as abradable coatings and ceramic and thermal barrier coatings. Micralyne is another company with a focus on nanotechnology and microfluidic chip devices in particular. The array of specialized products includes molecular diagnostic assays, micro-needles, industrial and pressure sensors, spatial light valves, and silicon optical benches. CG2 Nanocoatings is based in Ottawa, Ontario and produces composites, ceramics, metals, and polymers that include nanoparticles. The company offers a selection of products such as anti-icing and anti-corrosion coatings, custom and anti-scratch coatings for polymers, coatings for easy paint removal, and others. Headquartered in Toronto, Opalux is a manufacturer of anti-counterfeiting security systems and products such as photonic crystal sensing units, photonic ink, and other security features. Patt Technologies specializes in surface engineering, polymer filtration, and tooling and machining. The company offers tool restoration and precision CNC services such as cylindrical, surface and knife grinding and CNC milling and turning.

Other Canadian companies that specialize in nanoproducts include Vive Crop Protection, Tekna Plasma Systems, and Plasmionique. Vive Crop Protection offers insecticide control and fungicide products for crop protection and an optimal yield of sugar beets, potatoes, soybeans, corn, and other produce. Tekna Plasma Systems is based in Sherbrooke, Quebec and specializes in thermal plasma technologies. The company features nanopowders and spherical powders, power washing and deposition systems, energy storage solutions, mining and drilling solutions, and others. Finally, Plasmionique is a Varennes-based company that features advanced surface engineering solutions. The company offers roll to roll systems, plasma ion implanters, and CVD-based and plasma reactors. Plasmionique also features a selection of materials for sputtering and evaporation such as copper aluminum silicon, aluminum copper, indium tin oxide, hafnium oxide, etc.

In Canada, manufacturers produce a host of advanced solutions and products, and nanotechnology has industrial, commercial, energy, and residential applications with the potential to contribute to sustainable living and better quality of life.

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Experimental Science in Canada

Experimental science is a branch that has experimental research as its main focus. Researchers conduct experiments to spot regularities or patterns which can be casual or statistical in nature. When an experiment renders sufficient evidence to back up the logic of the hypothesis, then it becomes a theory.

How Are Experiments Conducted

There are 6 elements involved, the first being a question on which the hypothesis is based. The second element is background information about the topic or phenomenon which is the main focus of the research. A description of the methodology and tools used is the third element. The results of the experiment are then summarized, and a conclusion can be drawn on their basis. The last element is a discussion of the findings and an analysis of other research studies in the same area.


The Experimental Lakes Area in Canada is a notable example of the application of experimental science. The area was created in 1968 and is found between Dryden and Kenora in Northwestern Ontario. The goal of the project is to study the effects of freshwater pollution. The area is the home to 48 lakes which are ideal for experiments. By controlling and monitoring pollutant levels, researchers are able to assess the effect of pollution on aquatic species. A number of experiments have been conducted or are currently in progress, examples being climate change research and nanosilver contamination. Other projects focus on the impact of oil spills, tracking fish behavior, selenium accumulation in aquatic species, and factors that have an impact on fish productivity. This is the first experiment not only in Canada but globally that has succeeded in isolating freshwater lakes to study the impact of contamination. It is a unique natural laboratory that allows for long-term biological and ecological research. The team that works in the Experimental Lakes Area includes food web biologists, fisheries research biologists, research chemists, field sampling technicians, and other professionals.

Examples around the World

There are other applications of experimental science, and one example is the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications which is a laboratory created in cooperation between Turkey, the Palestinian Authority, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, Egypt, Cyprus, and Bahrain. The laboratory equipment allows researchers to conduct experiments to study cancer cells and other forms of biological tissue, pollution in the Jordan Valley, and other processes and phenomena. The project was partially funded by the European Union, Iran, Turkey, Israel, and Jordan.

Other Applications

Experiments that involve nanotechnology bring promising results in that they help create new medications and advanced drug delivery systems. The manufacturing processes and equipment are also cheaper and more effective. Nanotechnology has applications in different areas, including communication technologies, electronic devices, advanced fabrics and materials, medicine and healthcare, and agriculture. Bioinformatics is another branch that relies on experimental research to examine biological systems. It has applications in a number of areas such as forensic analysis, climate change research, gene therapy, and preventative medicine. It is also used in areas such as veterinary medicine, evolutionary studies, and molecular medicine.

Experimental scientists test hypotheses in controlled settings to answer certain questions and prove or reject a hypothesis. This allows them to evaluate whether certain variables have an effect on the object examined. Basically, scientists conduct experiments and monitor progress to determine whether the results prove the initial hypothesis.

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