Monday, February 13, 2012

Carleton University Engineer Awarded $599,000 for Groundbreaking Laser Project

Carleton University’s groundbreaking work on fibre optics and laser sensors has received  $599,000 in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

“This strategic project grant will allow us to take our work to the next level,” said Jacques Albert, Canada Research Chair in Advanced Photonic Components and a member of Carleton’s Department of Electronics. “We are now going to go after real-world problems in the medical and environmental fields and find solutions to them.”

The grant was awarded today during a national announcement that took place at Carleton. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, minister of state (Science and Technology) announced more than $32 million over three years to support 70 research teams at universities across the country.

“Our government is committed to fostering a strong research environment in Canada by supporting partnerships that generate positive impacts for Canada’s economy and society,” said Goodyear. “Partnerships like these contribute to the creation of a stronger, more innovative economy and a more prosperous Canada.”

Prof. Albert’s MOSAIC project (Multimodal Optical Sensor Applications, Interfaces, and Controls) is a fibre optic sensing technology combined with nanoscience in chemistry to build better sensors that will have important applications within the biomedical and environmental research worlds.

Albert has three industry partners that are allowing for knowledge dissemination, economic development and possible commercialization of his work. Their financial and in-kind contributions will increase the full amount of funding to more than $750,000.

Spartan Biosciences Inc. plans to use the technology in point-of-care genetic testing where doctors check a patient’s saliva for certain genes so they can better recommend drug therapies.

Another industry partner, Weatherford International, works with the oil and gas industry and is interested in developing the sensing technology to help refine different processes to extract oil from the tar sands. The technology allows for a cleaner and more efficient extraction method. Fibre optic technology is the only way to measure the necessary parameters up to several kilometers underground.

The third partner is L’Institut Nationale D’Optique, which is working closely with one of the project’s PhD students on a variety of applications.

Prof. Albert said that much of the money will go toward funding salaried positions for students ranging from the postdoctoral level to undergraduates.

“We have the infrastructure in place to do research, but it’s important to properly train students to do this kind of research as well,” he said. “They are an integral part of moving forward to making more discoveries.”


About Carleton University:
Located in the nation’s capital, Carleton University is a dynamic research and teaching institution with a tradition of leading change. Its internationally recognized faculty, staff and researchers provide more than 25,000 full- and part-time students from every province and more than 100 countries around the world with academic opportunities in more than 65 programs of study, including public affairs, journalism, film studies, engineering, high technology, and international studies. Carleton’s creative, interdisciplinary and international approach to research has led to many significant discoveries and creative works in science and technology, business, governance, public policy and the arts. As an innovative institution Carleton is uniquely committed to developing solutions to real-world problems by pushing the boundaries of knowledge and understanding daily.

About NSERC:
NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 postsecondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging about 2,000 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects.

For more information:

Caitlin Kealey
Media Relations
Carleton University
613-520-2600, ext. 8718

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