Lakehead researcher recognized with Early Researcher Award

July 14, 2022 – Thunder Bay, Ont.

Headshot of Dr. Maryam EbrahimiDr. Maryam Ebrahimi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Physics (Adjunct), and Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Low-Dimensional Nanomaterials at Lakehead University, has received a 2022 Early Researcher Award of $140,000 from the Government of Ontario.

With an additional $50,000 from Lakehead University, the five-year grant supports innovative research conducted by Dr. Ebrahimi, and the growth of her research team of graduate and undergraduate students.

“I am delighted to receive this competitive award from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities,” Dr. Ebrahimi said. “This funding will help train highly qualified personnel at our Nanoscale Science Laboratory at Lakehead University.”

“The discovery of graphene’s unique properties, as a wonder material and the only two-dimensional (2D) material in nature, has revolutionized research in physics, chemistry, and materials science,” she explained.

“We employ the on-surface synthesis approach in which single-crystalline metallic surfaces act as a catalyst and a platform for the surface reactions to make single-layer one- and two-dimensional (1D, 2D) nanomaterials and unveil their properties at the atomic scale using scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy techniques.”

Through the research project, Dr. Ebrahimi and her team will look to design and construct novel 1D and 2D nanomaterials with tailored quantum, topological, electronic, chemical, physical, and mechanical properties. Nanomaterials are used in electronic devices including smart phones, LED displays, sensors, materials for drug delivery, energy, and environmental applications. The research being conducted in Dr. Ebrahimi’s lab provides a unique approach towards the design of robust one-atom-thick 1D and 2D nanomaterials, artificial graphene, or the next generation of synthetic 1D and 2D nanomaterials for nanoelectronics, spintronics, and quantum technology applications.

The proposed nanomaterials will have significant impacts in science and technology in Ontario, with the resulting economic and social benefits.

“This research project provides an opportunity to establish a highly motivating and inspiring training environment in Northwestern Ontario for the future workforce. Furthermore, training highly qualified personnel will create a skilled workforce in an area of great importance to Ontario’s economy, and Canada, at large,” Dr. Ebrahimi added.

“Congratulations to Dr. Ebrahimi and her team for receiving this provincial grant,” said Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Vice-President, Research and Innovation. “The real-world impact of the research being conducted at Lakehead University is only strengthened by these awards, and speaks to our commitment to research and innovation. This research will shed new light on applications being envisioned from the critical mineral of graphite and associated graphene and those minerals with catalytic activities.”

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Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has nine faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2022 World Universities Rankings for the third consecutive year, and the number one university in the world with fewer than 10,000 students in THE’s 2022 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit