Business Innovation Award goes to two research start-ups for significant contribution to industry.

Two University start-up companies; QLM and Photon Force have won the prestigious IoP Business Innovation Award – being recognised and celebrated for their achievements in innovation and delivering significant economic and societal impacts through the application of physics.

The IOP Business Start-Up Award recognises companies that have been formed within the past five years, with a great product or service founded on a physics-based invention that has the potential for business growth and a significant impact on society. With both QLM and Photon Force; their new generation of quantum technologies exploit breakthroughs that contribute to solving global and industrial challenges; from Photon Force’s development in ground-breaking sensors that enable ultrafast, single photon sensitive imaging, to QLM’s innovative gas imaging systems that measure greenhouse gas emissions, via the use of advanced quantum technologies.

Both start-ups were nominated for the award by QuantIC; the UK’s Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging. Established in 2014, QuantIC is one of four Hubs that are part of the UK National Quantum Technology Programme set up to exploit the potential of quantum science and develop a range of emerging technologies to revolutionise imaging across industrial, scientific and consumer markets.

Having played an important role in the development and success of these two companies, and commenting on the outcome of this esteemed accolade, Steve Beaumont, Director at QuantIC said “QuantIC are delighted that both QLM and Photon Force have won this prestigious award and that we have been able to support Murray and Richard on their journeys.

Photon Force is a spin-out from QuantIC researcher Robert Henderson’s renowned CMOS Sensors and Systems Group at the University of Edinburgh. Founded in 2015, the start-up is making major impact in the image sensing community. The company designs and manufactures time-resolved single-photon-sensitive scientific cameras for application in areas spanning quantum physics, bio-medical imaging and communications.  QuantIC funded collaborative research with Kings College London on non-invasive cancer tissue diagnostics which enabled performance improvements for Photon Forces’ commercial PF32 product.  As well as this, Photon Force were supported by QuantIC in applying for ISCF Commercialising Quantum Technologies call in 2020.

Dr Richard Walker, CEO of Photon Force, commented: “We are delighted to win an Institute of Physics Business Start-up Award and we’re hugely grateful to QuantIC for nominating us.  Our aim has always been to contribute to the global scientific community and our collaborative work with QuantIC has helped us to make a real difference. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership and collaboration with Steve and the rest of the QuantIC team as we continue to grow our business and enhance our range of products.”

Another award winner, QLM was founded by QuantIC researchers at the University of Bristol, working to help limit pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by developing compact, high- sensitivity, low-power, Tuneable Diode Lidar (TDLidar) gas detection and imaging systems based on single-photon detection that are far more cost effective and practical than existing products. QLM works with established oil and gas supply and service companies to deliver new methods to monitor gas production and distribution assets for fugitive greenhouse gas emissions. Their product capabilities include long-range fixed mounted imagers and short-range handheld scanners. QuantIC supported the collaboration between QLM, Leonardo and the University of Bristol on a project looking at Quantum Rangefinding and LIDAR.

Dr Murray Reed, CEO of QLM Technology Ltd commented: “We very much appreciate IOP’s recognition of QLM’s plans to industrialize UK quantum technology”