Hamamatsu's PMT technology yields Nobel glory, profits

Splashing out on R&D has brought Japan's Hamamatsu Photonics both prestige and profit. In 2015, its operating profit on sales, meanwhile, is a hefty 20%.


(Image: Hamamatsu Photonics produces 20-inch photomultiplier tubes for China at its Toyooka factory in Shizuoka prefecture. Courtesy Hamamatsu Photonics.)

Splashing out on R&D has brought Japan's Hamamatsu Photonics both prestige and profit. In 2015, for the third time, the company's technology helped scientists win a Nobel Prize in Physics. Its operating profit on sales, meanwhile, is a hefty 20%.

At its Toyooka factory in Shizuoka Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, Hamamatsu Photonics produces photomultiplier tubes, or PMTs, a device that can detect weak light emissions, convert them to electrons and amplify them for observation. The company currently controls 90% of the global PMT market.

Read the full story in Nikkei Asian Review here.


The Laser Focus World take:

In October 2014, Hamamatsu Photonics was recognized by IEEE for technical achievement in the development of the 20-inch photomultiplier tube (PMT), which has been used for the observation of phenomena such as supernovas and neutrinos. The 20-inch PMT was originally developed by Hamamatsu at the request of Masatoshi Koshiba (Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo), who jointly won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics for his research on the detection of cosmic neutrinos. Initially, hundreds of the 20-inch PMTs were manufactured and installed in the Kamioka Proton Decay Experiment. Subsequently, over ten thousand 20-inch PMTs were installed in the Super-Kamioka Neutrino Detection Experiment.

Hamamatsu is most known for its PMT technology, but it has many other R&D projects and new products in the pipeline. Here are a few recent announcements:

Related: Hamamatsu completes laser irradiation building for research into applications of its 100-joule class, ultra-high-power, high repetition rate, laser-diode-pumped all-solid-state laser

Related: Hamamatsu announces world’s first watt-level high-output photonic crystal laser

Related: Hamamatsu announces the completion of a new facility for the development and mass production of MOEMS-based products

More in Research