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Queensgate Instruments 40 year anniversary

25th July 2019


Left to Right: Dr Paul Atherton, Dr Ken Reay & Dr Tom Hicks

2019 marks the 40th anniversary for Queensgate Instruments, founded in 1979 by Ken Reay, Jim Ring, Tom Hicks, Paul Atherton and Martyn Wells. The first product was made in the start-up year - the FPI Optics, which was to make servo stabilised Fabry-Perot Interferometers for use on large scale telescopes in astronomy. Six years later, in 1985, Queensgate Instruments released its first range of nanopositioning products pioneering their use in microscopy along with the MicroFilter (arranged miniaturised tuneable Fabry Perot Filters with fibre pigtails), which evolved into a Network Monitoring product used in high bandwidth optical telecoms. Applications encompass microscopy, astronomy and telescopes, opto-electronics, semiconductors, robotic surgery, defence and space, and hard disk drive testing. The ability to move and to measure to sub atomic precision using capacitance micrometers and piezo electric actuators and has placed the company at the forefront of this rapidly developing technology.

Queensgate Instruments published the NanoPositioning book in 1997 to standardise terms and explain the technology, led by Tom Hicks and Paul Atherton. The contents include descriptions of the accuracy, precision and trueness of the products and how this delivers the best results. Developing the book further, they explain how nanotechnology works the impact of material properties, servo control, Piezo technology, nanometre precision mechanisms, and capacitance sensors. This gives an insight into Queensgate’s approach to innovation, product design and testing.

In 2018, Queensgate was acquired by Prior Scientific, adding Queensgate Nanopositioning Stages, Sensors, Actuators/Translators, and Controllers to its portfolio of positioning products.

“Queensgate Instruments has high precision and quality products which extends our core capabilities and this will create a range of new products which will benefit our current customers and extend our markets,” said Tom Freda, CEO of Prior Scientific.

Queensgate offers a range of single and multiaxis nanopositioning stages and actuators employing capacitance position feedback to deliver high positioning accuracy and resolution. Its advanced control technology provides a range of tools to deliver excellent dynamic performance. The NanoSensor, is a non-contact position measuring system based on the principle of capacitance micrometry, and can resolve to picometers. Queensgate specialises in working with customers to provide high performance OEM solutions, being part of Prior Scientific only extends this capability. The decision to relocate the Torquay business to the EPIC (Electronic & Photonic Innovation) Centre in Paignton is an exciting development for the future. The Centre is a purpose built Photonics Centre developed by the Torbay Council.  Queensgate Instruments is one of the first occupants of this extraordinary building. This move will be complete by the end of the third quarter.

“Having worked at Queensgate Instruments for five years, I am looking forward to the further progression of the nanopositioning technology and the move to the new EPIC Centre building will be the catalyst for this growth” said Alison Raby, product manager.

 

 

 





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