M Squared Lasers secures investment for growth in remote sensing

May 4, 2012
Glasgow, Scotland--The UK-based Business Growth Fund has invested £3.85 million of capital in M Squared Lasers, taking a minority stake in the company and joining the board of directors.

Glasgow, Scotland--The UK-based Business Growth Fund (BGF) has invested £3.85 million of capital in M Squared Lasers, taking a minority stake in the company and joining the board of directors. M Squared Lasers designs and manufactures lasers and photonic optical instruments for applications in remote sensing, frontier science, biophotonics, defense, microscopy, spectroscopy, and metrology.

The investment will fund the company’s R&D program as well as commercial growth, according to Graeme Malcolm, co-founder and CEO of M Squared Lasers. He noted, “We are seeing considerable expansion in the potential applications for lasers, not least in the defense and medical industries where detection capability is critically important. In particular, we are looking at new market opportunities in remote sensing, and will specifically focus on developing our Firefly laser product.”

Marketing director David Armstrong added, "The Firefly is a tunable IR source [2.5-4.5 um], but we also have developed a scanner and imager cabability for use with the laser that allow us to produce video images of gas leaks. For example we have imaged an ethane leak in open air from many tens of meters." See video.

The investment will allow M Squared to develop the laser, scanner, and imager to, for example, increase the stand-off distance of this imaging. Armstrong says the company is already engaged with interested parties in the oil and gas industry who obviously have an interest in detecting unwanted leaks in installations and pipelines.

The Company was founded in 2005 by Graeme Malcolm and Gareth Maker, who had previously founded Microlase in 1992 as a spinout from Strathclyde University. Microlase was acquired by Coherent in 2000. The former chairman of Bookham Technology, Peter Bordui, recently joined M Squared’s board as chairman. The company has an office in San Jose, CA, and collaborates with partners such as Thales, Philips, Osram, Stanford University, and the Max Planck Institute.

The Business Growth Fund helps Britain’s fast-growing smaller and medium sized businesses. It will invest between £2m and £10m per business in return for a minimum 10 percent equity stake and a seat on the board. BGF will provide long-term equity investment for those growing companies that otherwise do not have access to this source of capital. It is backed by five of the UK’s main banking groups: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, and Standard Chartered.


About the Author

Conard Holton | Editor at Large

Conard Holton has 25 years of science and technology editing and writing experience. He was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the International Atomic Energy Agency, and engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, while continuing as contributing editor at Laser Focus World. Conard became editor in chief of Laser Focus World in August 2011, a role in which he served through August 2018. He then served as Editor at Large for Laser Focus World and Co-Chair of the Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar from August 2018 through January 2022. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, with additional studies at the Colorado School of Mines and Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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