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April 13, 2018

CNL commissions new focused ion beam facility at Chalk River Labs

Chalk River, ON, April 13, 2018 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, announced today that it has successfully commissioned a new FEI Versa 3D dual beam focused ion beam (FIB) facility at its Chalk River campus, adding an important new capability in material characterization to its growing list of nuclear science and technology services. CNL is currently working to grow its commercial science and technology business line as part of its Long-Term Strategy, an ambitious 10-year plan intended to revitalize the company’s capabilities and infrastructure.

“We’ve added a really important new capability with the commissioning of the FIB facility, and one that has already created new business opportunities for CNL,” commented Corey McDaniel, CNL’s Vice President of Business Development. “This helps bring us on-par with national laboratories in other countries. We can now compete in markets that were previously out of reach for us.”

During the past decade, CNL has offered FIB services to customers, but through partners. However, the demand for these services has been growing in Canada, particularly with the refurbishments underway at the Darlington and Bruce nuclear stations. In response to this need, CNL has invested in its own FIB facility, establishing an important new in-house capability that is already paying itself off through new commercial work.

A dual beam FIB is a high-resolution electron microscope with an added ion column that enables the instrument to remove material with microscopic precision. The ability to image material with high resolution electron optics and to precisely remove material has many applications in materials science. This includes the preparation of transmission electron microscopy and atom probe tomography specimens from regions of interest, such as fracture surfaces or crack tips. CNL’s FIB equipment also includes an in-situ loading stage, a distinct characteristic that sets it apart from other laboratories.

“Having this capability allows CNL to use the FIB to micro-machine small mechanical test specimens and to study highly irradiated materials,” commented Kathy McCarthy, CNL’s Vice President of Research and Development. “This highly specialized capability provides the necessary link between a materials microstructure and its mechanical properties.”

Outside of CNL, FIB services are primarily limited to university laboratories, where the focus is on technique development instead of commercial programs. Universities are also quite limited based on how much work they can accommodate. To date, CNL’s FIB machine is already receiving strong commercial interest.

About CNL 

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is a world leader in nuclear science and technology offering unique capabilities and solutions across a wide range of industries. Actively involved with industry-driven research and development in nuclear, transportation, clean technology, energy, defence, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally.

With ongoing investments in new facilities and a focused mandate, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is well positioned for the future. A new performance standard reinforced with a strong safety culture underscores every activity.

For more information on the complete range of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories services, please visit or contact [email protected].



Patrick Quinn
>Director, Corporate Communications
CNL, 1-866-886-2325

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