There is something new and powerful that sits in a science lab at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Richmond Campus. A gifted electron microscope from Ballard Power Systems gives KPU researchers, faculty and students a robust tool to further research capacities for the university.
“It’s a major piece of infrastructure that allows us to do some serious research in things such as physics and material sciences and microbiology,” says Dr. James Hoyland, a physics instructor at KPU.
Dr. Hoyland was one of the first to receive the microscope; a gift which is the result of the relationship between Ballard Power and KPU. In the past, KPU has sent co-op students to Ballard Power and now Ballard Power is empowering KPU students when they are ready to head into industry.
“For our students to have hands on experience in electron microscopy is something that is going to be a really good feather in their cap as they go on to search for jobs in high technology industries,” says Dr. Hoyland. “Electron microscopy is widely used and for our students to be able to go into the labour market having actually used one is actually quite unusual.”
“Electron microscopy is a powerful technique that lets us observe the world on microscopic level that is not possible with a conventional light microscopy,” says Nemanja Azaric, Senior Materials Scientist with Ballard Power.
“For a student, it’s a great learning tool as it provides students a practical example of a lot of advanced multi-disciplinary principles working together and you get to generate some pretty cool looking images. For potential employees, it’s a technique that can be used and applied by most fields of STEM and is used heavily in industry; SEM is a very useful technique to be able to include on your resume for aspiring STEM grads,” adds Azaric.
“We are very grateful for this donation from Ballard Power to KPU,” says Deepak Gupta, Associate Vice President, Research Innovation, and Graduate Studies, “Having an electron microscope at KPU provides our undergraduates with opportunities to gain vital knowledge and skills that is often only acquired at graduate levels.”
The gifted electron microscope will be a resource prioritized for third- and fourth-year level science students at KPU, but will also be available for use by other members of the university community and for applied research with partners.