Agilent opens spectroscopy facility at Harwell as technology returns to its roots

 2 mins | By Gill Oliver
 |  | Oct 14th 2019

Agilent Technologies has opened a facility for spectroscopy research and development at Harwell. The new 32,000 sq ft Spectrum building houses Agilent’s Raman spectroscopy business and will soon also include its Laser Spectroscopy Center of Excellence.

Agilent’s Raman Spectroscopy technologies were developed at Harwell by scientists at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) before being spun-out into Cobalt Light Systems which was later acquired by Agilent for £40m.

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The technologies have been adopted by global industries –pharma companies use the technology to assess the raw ingredients of materials and many international airports have installed Agilent bottle liquid scanners to increase flight safety.

The 70-strong Agilent team will focus efforts on R&D and harmonising product lines.

Phil Binns, vice president and general manager of Spectroscopy, Agilent said: “The growth in Agilent’s molecular spectroscopy business created the need for a larger, state-of-the-art building. Our new flagship facility will enable us to develop a truly unified approach to vibrational spectroscopy.

“The location will also facilitate greater collaboration with internationally acclaimed academic and scientific thought leaders based at this premier UK hub of scientific innovation.”

Among the scientists, academics and government representatives at the opening was Professor Pavel Matousek, a senior fellow at the STFC Central Laser Facility who was part of the team that originally developed the technology at Harwell.

He said: “I’m proud to see Agilent and the Raman business we helped to establish, growing strongly at Harwell. The new facility is perfectly located for collaboration between Agilent’s Spectroscopy businesses and the large number of scientists and engineers we have based in our unique research infrastructure. I very much look forward to our future joint endeavours.”

Harwell campus director Angus Horner added: “Agilent is a welcome and powerful addition to our science and technology community. Today is particularly significant for the campus because it highlights how we are succeeding in taking big science research right through an innovation cycle and on into full commercialisation.

“This Raman technology was born out of research at STFC, with government funding and a collaborative, entrepreneurial ecosystem that accelerated its evolution into a fully and globally applied technology. It is down to this powerful combination, unique in the UK, that we are here today, celebrating all the people who made this happen.”

About the Author

Gill Oliver

Gill Oliver is a professionally trained journalist who’s written for The New Statesman, The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, The Daily Mail’s business section This is Money, The Press Association, The Huffington Post plus a host of national magazines, news agencies and trade and industry journals. She’s also spent nine years reporting on the Oxfordshire business and tech scene for The Oxford Times and The Oxford Mail.

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