From surface science research to high‐impact knowhows—Exemplars of Surface Science Western

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Sep 13, 2017
  • Author: Woon‐Ming Lau
  • Journal: Surface and Interface Analysis

Surface Science Western (SSW) is a Canadian center of excellence bearing a mandate to facilitate both interdisciplinary research in surface science and subsequent knowledge/technology transfer. Three exemplars of SSW's accomplishments in this context are here highlighted. The first exemplar began with fundamental studies of nucleation and growth of diamond via chemical vapor deposition. This yielded 2 US patents and the startup of CVD Diamond Corporation which supplies the best diamond‐coated cutting tools in the market. The second exemplar started with basic research on colliding weakly adsorbed organic molecules with seemingly unreactive H2 having controllable kinetic energy. While collision‐induced dissociation is well known, the outcome from this method in breaking C―H bonds but not other bonds is innovative. With such innovation, weakly adsorbed organic molecules are cross‐linked to a well‐anchored molecular ultrathin layer with absolute control of chemical functionality. The technology was recently licensed to a jewelry manufacturer for anchoring antimicrobial molecules covalently to the surface of jewelry. The license promises 2 breakthroughs: product safety to human is assured with no unknown chemical functional groups unintentionally formed in the cross‐linking process; and the antimicrobial overlayer is thin enough not to compromise the visual appearance of the jewelry. In the third exemplar, results from surface analysis with X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy were translated to protocols for peak‐fitting/assignment of important transition‐metal compounds. Such published protocols have been widely cited and now become practical standards in the field. This exemplar best showcases SSW's mission of translating research to high‐value‐added knowhows. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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