UWS spin-out AlbaSense aiming to disrupt multi-billion-pound thin film and sensor industry

A new spin-out company from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) intends to disrupt the thin film and sensor industry that it says is currently valued at more than £2.5 billion globally.

AlbaSense is the third spin-out from UWS, is based in its Institute of Thin Films, Sensors and Imaging (ITFSI) in Paisley, and is looking to develop low-cost, high-performance thin film optical coatings and photonic sensors using exclusive patented processes.

It says thin films form a key component in applications including autonomous photonic-based gas sensors, medical devices such as breath analysers, non-contact thermometers, and advanced imaging systems.

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The company will license core intellectual property, including three patents, from UWS on a worldwide exclusive basis, and its founder Professor Des Gibson said: “We aim to provide imaging and sensor solutions in a range of areas where miniaturised high-volume, low-cost measurement is required, such as medical diagnostics, agritech, environmental monitoring, and monitoring of industrial processes.”

He welcomed AlbaSense being set to design, develop and manufacture from within ITFSI, “contributing directly to Scotland’s thriving innovation economy”.

The start-up is already working with Glenrothes-based Semefab, which manufactures microelectronics and micro electro-mechanical systems, adding that it will benefit from two phases of funding from Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spin-Out Programme worth nearly £530,000 over three years.

Additionally, various projects including some involving innovation centre Censis and Innovate UK and worth £3 million in total have been secured to develop end-use applications of the patented technology.

From left: Johnny Mone, head of business innovation at UWS, and AlbaSense founder Professor Des Gibson. Picture: Elaine Livingstone.

Johnny Mone, head of business innovation at UWS, said: “AlbaSense is a fantastic example of the pioneering research and innovation taking place at UWS and highlights the University’s commitment to supporting enterprise”.

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