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Double celebration - two STFC spin outs win at IET awards

Two successful spin out companies of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have been named winners at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Awards which took place on 3 November at a ceremony in London.

The two spin out companies, Oxsensis Ltd and LiteThru Ltd, both based at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, scooped the awards for their respective categories. Both companies have grown out of fundamental research carried out at STFC which was innovatively applied into other fields.

Oxsensis Ltd, a spin out company using technology developed at STFC’s Micro-Nano Technology (MNT) Centre, won the Power/Energy Award for Wave-Phire™ optical sensors. Oxsensis has developed some of the world's most advanced engine monitoring instruments to help enable a step-change in the efficiency of cars, planes and power stations. Oxsensis’ fibre optical sensors are designed for use in extremely hostile environments which are used in ultra high temperature situations such as gas turbines for power generation, aero-engines and other industrial processes.

Wave-Phire™ is a micro-machined sapphire sensor designed by Oxsensis for use in the harsh atmospheres of gas turbines and other combustion environments and can operate, measuring pressure and temperature, in extreme temperatures of more than 1000 °C, hundreds of degrees hotter than anything currently commercially available. Commenting on the award, David Gahan, Chief Executive at Oxsensis Ltd said: “This IET award is a very prestigious award and a fantastic recognition for our unique sapphire micro-engineering technology.”

LiteThru Ltd was presented with the ‘Measurement in Action’ Award for its groundbreaking technology enabling non-invasive, accurate analysis of capsules, tablets, powders and solutions in less than one second. Using a brand new form of spectroscopy developed at STFC, known as Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS), LiteThru’s technology provides a cost effective, rapid way to peer inside objects such as capsules and tablets in blister packs or bottles without opening them and to analyse their exact composition. LiteThru’s innovative approach is set to revolutionise pharmaceutical quality control and formulation development processes on an international scale. Dr Darren Andrews, Chief Executive of LiteThru Ltd said: “This award is great news. It rewards both the underlying innovation and the usefulness of the technology to pharmaceutical and chemical analysis."

The Innovation Awards span 15 categories and attracted hundreds of entries from across the world. They represent a unique opportunity for industry innovators to be recognised and provide a showcase for the brightest ideas, highlighting the importance of innovation by celebrating its application across a range of engineering disciplines.

Dr Tim Bestwick, Chief Executive of CLIK said, "STFC is totally committed to using its research facilities and scientific expertise to support and develop exciting and innovative companies like Oxsensis and LiteThru, so I am thrilled that they have won these prestigious awards. This is well deserved recognition for both companies. “

Both LiteThru Ltd and Oxsensis were jointly founded by CLIK (Central Laboratory Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Limited), the wholly-owned technology exploitation company of the Science and Technology Facilities Council as well as receiving significant investment from the Rainbow Seed Fund and other private investors.

Wendy Taylor MCIPR | alfa
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