Interfacial Analysis & Reactivity Laboratory (IARL)


The Interfacial Analysis & Reactivity Laboratory (IARL) is located in the Advanced Materials & Process Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL) building at UBC, but it originated in, and is still closely associated with, the Chemistry Department. Recently through CFI funding for the Centre for Biointerface Characterization, the IARL has acquired a number of new instruments including a state-of-the-art ToF-SIMS, XPS spectrometer, UV Raman microscope, profilometer and a cryogenic sample preparation system. In addition, the IARL is an integral part of the Pacific Centre for Advanced Materials & Microstructures (PCAMM).

The Director of the IARL is Prof. Reinhard Jetter (Botany & Chemistry), but the lab was set up by Prof. Keith Mitchell, who is now Director Emeritus. In addition to pursuing our own scientific research, the IARL welcomes users from throughout UBC, and the wider community (other universities, government and industry), to take advantage of our equipment and services. Appreciable service work is done, but with the updated facilities the IARL is now aiming to develop new collaborations for both academic and industrially-oriented research projects.

Surface Science and Surface Analysis

Many technological applications and performances of materials are dominated by their surface properties, such as adsorption behavior, chemical reactivity, friction and wear, adhesion, wettability and biocompatibility. Such properties depend closely on surface structure and composition, and hence surface analysis has a fundamental role in furthering our understanding of these properties, and their improvements. The IARL has a range of equipment, and personnel with high-level expertise, to analyze and study the surface properties of many materials including those associated with catalysts, thin films, coatings, polymer surfaces & interfaces, biomaterials, wood products, and semiconductor materials & devices.

The information obtainable from surface analysis includes qualitative elemental analysis, quantitative analysis, chemical state identification & bonding information, and variations of composition across a surface (imaging) and below a surface (depth profiling).  The details for a particular investigation will inevitably depend on the aims of the project, the instrument(s) used, and the nature of the sample.


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