Best Collaboration in Business Winner
The £6m MIRAGE consortium brought together four Scottish manufacturers with Professor Iain Thayne and Dr Matt Steer in the School of Engineering, supported by Scottish Enterprise and Scotland's Innovation Centre for Sensing and Imaging, CENSIS.
The companies; Cascade Technologies, Gas Sensing Solutions Ltd (GSS), Compound Semiconductor Technologies Global (CSTG), and Amethyst Research Ltd utilised the semiconductor materials growth expertise of Dr Matt Steer, allowing them to create cutting-edge mid-IR (infrared) sensors in high volumes with greater sensitivity, lower cost, reduced energy use and a longer lifespan than existing products.
MIRAGE aimed to place Scotland at the forefront of the £7 billion global sensors and imaging systems market, to deliver significant economic growth and onshore highly skilled research and manufacturing jobs from Asia. The initiative, the first of its kind in Scotland, was created to share knowledge, expertise, exchange ideas and improve collaborative practices.
The collaboration supported the production of materials integral to manufacturing a variety of goods that use sensors, ranging from asthma inhalers to infrared cameras.
- For Cascade Technologies, MIRAGE has progressed their journey towards becoming a supply chain for Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) and work continues on the delivery of devices. It has resulted in increased revenue potential with cost reduction of current products.
- MIRAGE helped CSTG develop mid-infrared laser chips for applications in worldwide sensing, imaging, telecoms and data-centre markets. The collaboration provided CSTG with access to expertise and materials required to develop a new chip at the forefront of the sector, and to create a globally competitive supply chain in Scotland. CSTG now manufacture lasers in high volumes and six specialist engineering jobs have been created.
- GSS launched two new products developed during the MIRAGE project. These can detect leaks in food packaging to potentially reduce waste and monitor CO2 levels in patients’ breath to identify potential problems. The low power capability makes products ideal for use in wearables to inform users of potentially dangerous levels of CO2. The new products are an integral part of GSS growth plans to improve outcomes for their global customer base.
- MIRAGE partners provided Amethyst Research Ltd with knowledge and manufacturing processes to develop their III-V infrared detectors. Amethyst’s progress attracted a Prime contractor interested in taking the technology towards commercialisation.
MIRAGE has been responsible for over 40 new high skilled jobs and it is expected to deliver a £56m boost to the Scottish economy over 10 years. The partners of the consortium continue to operate in partnership activities and proposal building outside of the original Mirage project.
The consortium has been recognised for its open approach to collaborative working which is essential in the technically demanding phases of process development and device trialling.