University-business collaborations spur innovation
INRS receives $1.5 million from NSERC for strategic projects
Improving fibre laser system performance, electrochemical CO2 reduction processes, and terahertz technologies are among the challenges José Azaña, Daniel Guay, and Tsuneyuki Ozaki of the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre at INRS seek to meet. To this end they have received grants totaling more than $1.5 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under its strategic partnership program. Carried out in partnership with Canadian companies, their projects foster technological innovation for Canadian industry.
Professor José Azaña’s project, a collaboration with university scientists from Quebec and France and a Canadian company(Université. Laval, Genia Photonics, and CNRS - Univ. Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France), is aimed at developing a more powerful new class of fibre laser systems that meets the highest standards for broadband communication, optical sampling, data processing, and metrology.
Professor Daniel Guay will be partnering with a Canadian company to develop new, more energy-efficient and more stable electrocatalysts to convert CO2 into added-value chemicals. This would kill two birds with one stone, transforming this greenhouse gas into formic acid used in pulp and paper and leather processing, as well as in pharmaceuticals and cleaning products.
Professor Tsuneyuki Ozaki’s team is seeking to improve a THz detection and imaging method—laser terahertz emission microscopy—so that it can be used to identify complex mixtures or detect various chemicals. In cooperation with Professor Toshihiko Kiwa (Okayama University, Japan), researchers are developing a new approach that could broaden the fields of application for this technology with the development of chemical detectors and smart sensors in response to oil and pharmaceutical industry needs.
INRS is one of five Quebec universities to receive strategic grants from the NSERC. It ranks second in Quebec for the number of projects funded. In addition to promoting knowledge transfer, these projects will help train the next generation of skilled high-tech scientists. ♦