Leaps in Scientific Understanding
The sun is our closest star, it was born about 4.6 billion years ago and you could fit about 1 million earths inside it. Humankind has always been fascinated by the sun, using it to tell the time, chart the seasons and create calendars. The drive for deeper understanding of the universe around us and the impact it has on us is driving increased interest in solar astronomy. Mass ejections from the sun can cause huge amounts of damage to satellites, GPS, electricity networks and communications infrastructures.
The ability to understand more about the sun and being able to prepare for a solar storm in advance are paramount to safeguarding these vital services. Our highly sensitive scientific cameras are playing an essential role in ground-based solar imaging, revealing the surface of the sun in unprecedented detail. This is helping solar physicists make giant leaps forward in their understanding of the magnetic dynamics that drive space weather, which can wreak havoc on earth, ultimately helping predict and prepare for future events.
Enabling a Greener Economy
As we all become more mindful about the impact we are having on the environment, car manufacturers are facing a range of technical challenges in order to reduce the negative impact vehicles can have. This is leading to an increase in global standards that are mandating the need for better fuel efficiency, new low-carbon fuels and batteries that last longer. It is also creating further reliance on electronics and sensors in order to support the continued growth of autonomous vehicles.
The automotive industry is under constant pressure to design vehicles that will meet the market place demands on cost reduction, improved fuel economy, enhanced safety, effective emission control, recyclability and life cycle consideration. Car designers and material scientists work to develop advanced materials with the properties that are required to meet these demands.
They use our imaging and analysis solutions on electron microscopes to see tiny details about the composition and structure of the materials to understand more about how they will perform and meet the objective of building safer, environmentally friendly cars.
With thousands of known species, viruses have always been present and endemic within the human population. Spanish Flu in 1918, Asian Flu in 1957 and Swine Flu in 2009 are recent examples of pandemics, and today coronavirus is making headlines. As we are regularly exposed to cold and flu viruses, our bodies are constantly fighting these invaders, keeping them at bay and minimising the impact on our health.
However, some new viruses, which seem to suddenly appear, can have devastating effects. Genetic evidence shows that viruses slowly evolve and mutate, which then allows them to infect new hosts, resulting in epidemics. Researchers study viruses in order to better understand their genetic makeup, how they mutate and how they reproduce. They then use this understanding to develop diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines.
Our atomic force microscopes (AFMs) and scientific cameras play an important role in advancing the knowledge of those in this field. Our AFMs can image the virus and measure changes in response to possible treatments, while our cameras are being used in gene sequencing to identify the mutation, as well as in diagnostic analysers and research laboratories, helping scientists with their search for treatment and vaccines.
Today, data plays a vital role in every decision-making process. We rely on being connected online to keep in touch with our friends and family, to work remotely, for entertainment, shopping and learning. We are creating more data than ever before and with the introduction of advances such as 5G and the Internet of Things, the demand will continue to grow, putting a strain on the data centres that gather, store and distribute the data. As a result, there is an increasing need for data centres to meet the demands on speed and bandwidth as we want instantaneous information at our fingertips.
These data centres must run 24/7 and, in doing so, need to be environmentally friendly. The solution has been to use gallium nitride (GaN) in power conversion chips to create faster, energy-efficient devices; whilst indium phosphide (InP) and gallium arsenide (GaAs) are being used in fibre optic systems to help increase the speed and bandwidth of data processing.
Our etch and deposition solutions are being used to help produce compound semiconductors such as GaN, InP and GaAs. Our leading expertise in the processing of these materials enables our customers to develop more compact devices, faster processing speeds, increased bandwidth and improved efficiency that is required to support the growing demands being placed on communication infrastructure.
5G is the latest iteration of cellular technology with the prospect of a transformational increase in speed, coverage and responsiveness of wireless networks. As a result of these improvements, there will also be increasing demands on network infrastructure. Our capabilities in compound semiconductors are supporting manufacturers to develop the optoelectronic components, lasers and high-speed electronics required to deliver the improved performance enabling 5G and the rise in the data economy.
In the UK alone, 1 in 2 people will get cancer in their lifetime. However, while cancer rates are increasing, the number of people who will die from the disease is decreasing. It’s thanks to research that many people are now surviving cancer. With more than 200 different types of cancer, researchers are learning more about what causes the disease and are making breakthroughs in therapeutic responses. The imaging resolution and speed of our products are revealing unprecedented detail in living cells, helping to build an understanding of the complex intracellular mechanisms that underlie a wide range of disease states.
Electric vehicles are widely seen as one of the most important innovations in transportation. As technology develops and we focus more on renewable energy and improved urban air quality, demand for them will continue to increase and they are expected to represent 22% of global share by 2030. With the rising popularity, demands on the performance capabilities have also increased. We are providing manufacturers with the solutions to address some of the most pressing problems, such as the range of electric vehicles, recharge speeds and reduction in energy loss. We also are enabling the manufacture of advanced sensors to help improve the safety of autonomous vehicles.
Quantum technology exploits the body of science that covers the extraordinary and unconventional behaviour of particles and matter when observed at the smallest of scales and under extreme conditions. Exploiting the quantum nature of matter enables a paradigm shift in performance across a range of exciting applications such as quantum computing, secure communications and medical sensors. We continue to work with leading companies and researchers worldwide to provide the fundamental tools for research and the development of solutions for commercial applications.