On 28 June, Quantum Science will be acknowledged alongside other innovative businesses at the Northern Powerhouse Export Awards.
This recognition means a great deal to us. As a Deep Tech start-up that only began in 2018, Quantum Science finds itself considered among the foremost entrepreneurs and innovators of the region in the ‘New to Export’ category. Over a few years rapid development, exporting has gone on to be one of the most important pillars of Quantum Science, accounting for a large proportion of the company’s revenue.
Not only does this mark the ongoing success of the business and faith in our industry-leading INFIQ® technology – it highlights how important quantum dot technology is already becoming to major markets worldwide.
The demand for quantum dots (QDs) for short-wave infrared (SWIR) imaging and sensing is already high, but over the next few years, analysts predict it will explode as international players on the technology stage begin using QDs for more and more commercial applications.
At Quantum Science, we’re proud to be the pioneer and leader capable of producing SWIR lead-free QDs at a sufficient scale to meet current and emerging demand. Our INFIQ® infrared QD technology is not just the best-in-class material for its field, it is a unique solution with unmatched scale-up capacity thanks to its innovative formulation process. Because of this, it can already be seen serving machine vision and medical applications, and as our lead-free QDs come to market in the next few years, they will become a common sight in consumer electronics and automotive markets.
This is because of the strong focus Quantum Science has placed on developing its export profile. Having signed commercial contracts with leading infrared businesses and working closely alongside the Department for International Trade, we have been exporting INFIQ® infrared products to leading SWIR imaging and sensing markets for several years, taking advantage of the significant opportunities that have emerged in markets like Japan, the EU, and the US.
When our exporting history in Japan first started, we encountered the immediate hurdle of ensuring the right business knowledge and skills were in place to let us seamlessly integrate with the local business ecosystem. Quantum Science overcame this hurdle by appointing a dedicated agent to begin developing the business in this market. We also worked closely with the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) until a distribution deal could be signed with a local supplier.
This deal was finalised last year when an agreement was reached allowing Nishimura Chemitech to use, market, and sell INFIQ® infrared technology to customers in Japan. As a chemical expert that has been mentoring major electronics manufacturers in Japan for around 60 years, Nishimura Chemitech was perfectly positioned to assist the take-up of INFIQ® technology in one of the most important markets for SWIR. This partner can deliver various process materials and chemical-related equipment with value engineering proposals, where and when it is needed.
This deal has not only increased our global customer base but has also enabled us to share our technology more widely with important market segments, ranging from consumer electronics to machine vision. Already, we are seeing QDs being used for the detection of specific spectral signatures in food, pharma, plastic sorting, and airborne crop monitoring.
Additionally, the business has been able to launch its products on the prestigious Merck Sigma-Aldrich and abcr platforms, making them easier to access for research and development markets. We have also attended major multinational events in collaboration with the Department for International Trade, broadening our network reach, have inked several commercial contracts with leading infrared businesses in the EU and US, and are seeing increasing opportunities emerge globally.
In the years to come, the exporting opportunities for semiconductor materials businesses look set to expand even further. As well as the expected market growth, work is underway to develop new pathways for international collaboration. For example, last month, the government announced a new set of science and technology programmes focused on increasing UK-Japan collaboration in these fields. As part of this, the UK and Japan will launch a Semiconductors Partnership, which will see the two countries work together on ambitious research and skills exchange projects, with the aim of enhancing supply chain resilience in a rapidly growing market.
Opportunities such as this will be vital to continuing the strong growth we are seeing in SWIR imaging and sensing. As Quantum Science’s industry-leading technology matures in a variety of markets over the next few years, we hope to see many more of them emerge to continue fuelling growth throughout the technology sector.