Pyreos secures £1m grant to develop infrared sensors

Technology firm Pyreos has been awarded a grant of almost £1 million to help develop the next generation of its infrared sensors, which are used in a range of industrial and consumer products.

Pyreos CTO Dr John Phair. Picture: Contributed

The Edinburgh-based company, spun out of German industrial giant Siemens a decade ago, received the £950,000 from innovation agency Innovate UK, paving the way for a joint project with nanotechnology innovators at Imperial College London.

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Pyreos, based at the Scottish Microelectronics Centre at the University of Edinburgh’s King’s Buildings campus, is the world’s only supplier of thin-film pyroelectric sensors, which can be used in devices to analyse the likes of gases or blood, or in switches and other components that can detect gestures.

Dr John Phair, chief technical officer at Pyreos, said: “The purpose of the project is to advance state-of-the-art techniques of depositing thin film pyroelectric oxides and piezoelectric and ferroelectric oxides generally, in order to obtain thin films with enhanced performance characteristics, substantially improved uniformity, repeatability and stability for volume manufacturing compared to what is available today.

“This project is vital for maintaining a strong Scotland and UK presence in the growing area of MEMS [microelectromechanical system] sensors for a high tech-based economy.”

The grant comes after Pyreos last year secured £1.8m of funding from investors including the Scottish Investment Bank and London Business Angels to help expand the business, which is headed by chief executive Andrew Wallace.