M Squared target harmful gases in Fraunhofer deal

Graeme Malcolm, chief executive of M Squared, is excited by the research tie-up with Fraunhofer. Picture: Contributed

Graeme Malcolm, chief executive of M Squared, is excited by the research tie-up with Fraunhofer. Picture: Contributed

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LASER maker M Squared is teaming up with German research institute Fraunhofer to develop ways of detecting harmful gases from chemical plants, industrial sites and rubbish tips.

The Glasgow-based company is among the first businesses to work with the UK arm of Fraunhofer, which was launched this week by Business Secretary Vince Cable at the Royal Academy of Engineering in London.

The Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP) in Glasgow will help M Squared to look at ways of broadening the range of infra-red rays that can be used to detect gases.

Graeme Malcolm, chief executive of M Squared, said: “At the moment, scanning for these substances is a bit like having only one radio station tuned into your stereo – we need to find what else is out there and that means increasing the range of frequencies we are able to scan.

“This partnership is a great example of how academia and industry can work together to provide technology which has real-world benefit.”

The project will cost about £360,000, with the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board pumping in about £180,000 of funding.

Tim Holt, executive director of Fraunhofer UK Research, said: “This is one of the first projects started in the newly-established Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in Glasgow.

“It is an exciting start and a perfect example of how we will work with companies seeking to innovate their products and processes.”

Fraunhofer unveiled plans last May to open its UK base at Strathclyde University and committed itself to creating 80 jobs in Glasgow.

Inventions that have flowed from the German institute include the MP3 music file and smartphone app Shazam.

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