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Interview on Radiantis 10th Anniversary

Today Radiantis celebrates its 10th anniversary. Ten years ago to the day, Prof. Majid Ebrahim-Zadeh and Dr. Sara Otero signed a document which formalised the constitution of Radiantis. Thereafter they turned their vision into reality by commercialising a core scientific idea into a commercially viable product platform.

To mark the occasion, Majid and Sara gave an interview, providing an insight into what has been an amazing ten years, from a little known start-up, to a globally recognised, leading manufacturer of OPO, frequency conversion technology and optical instrumentation.

1. Is the logo symbolic?

The logo symbolises very simply and visually the core scientific idea that underlies Radiantis – frequency conversion – creating new colours of laser light from the old colours using nonlinear optics at the focus inside a crystal. The logo also symbolizes the first frequency conversion prototype that was commercialised by Radiantis in 2005, converting red laser light to blue and vice versa.

2. Firstly, why 'Radiantis' - does the company name have a meaning?

Yes, the name describes the essence of what the company does, namely, innovative and versatile laser light sources and optical instrumentation that provide and detect coherent “Radiation” in different regions of the optical spectrum (or at different colours!). The name comes from “Radiant” which means brilliant, shining, etc., like the sun!!

3. How did the company come into existence and what was the initial vision?

The company came into existence with the objective of commercialising the OPO class-leading technology and existing know-how at Majid’s laboratory at ICFO. The initial vision was to turn a unique OPO design into a first commercial product with improved usability, which did not exist on the market at the time, and then expand the company with focus on OPO and frequency conversion technology.

4. Has that vision changed greatly over the years?

The vision has over the years years remained largely focused on OPOs and frequency conversion technology for scientific and microscopy applications and more recently has expanded into optical instrumentation, namely spectrometers and optical power meters, for the larger volume industrial markets.

5. How did you meet?

We met in 2004, while working at ICFO. Prof. Majid Ebrahim-Zadeh was appointed as an ICREA Professor a few months earlier in October 2003, while Dr. Sara Otero was the Project and Transfer of Technology Manager at ICFO. We soon realised that we both had a passion for entrepreneurship and the transfer of scientific research into the real world, and decided to take the plunge into the unknown.

6. How did Radiantis get off the ground in the first few years of its life?

With great difficulty. It involved private investment from the co-founders, as well as grants, loans from banks and some investment funds.

7. What is the current position of Radiantis in the market?

On the OPO and frequency conversion technology platform, the company is now internationally recognised as a leading manufacturer and has been an approved supplier of OPOs to one of the largest laser companies in the world – Newport/Spectra-Physics (USA) since 2008. Radiantis is currently the only company in the world providing OPO and frequency conversion technology in all time-scales – from ultrafast femtosecond and picosecond domain to continuous-wave operation.

Regarding the optical instrumentation platform, Radiantis has successfully entered the food, agriculture and pharmaceutical inspection markets and is undergoing significant growth in this sector. The company has already become an approved OEM supplier of IR spectrometers for key industrial companies around the world.

8. Has the portfolio of products diversified over the years?

Yes, in order to further consolidate the position of the company in the market and its future growth, Radiantis has more recently launched advanced instrumentation products for large-volume industrial markets and also laser systems in order to complement the OPOs and nonlinear frequency conversion technology.

9. What are the short, medium and long term prospects for both Radiantis and the industry in general?

We believe the short, medium, and long-term prospects for the company are bright, since we are focused on the development of cutting-edge technologies that are not available on the market, and where new applications are constantly emerging. Our fundamental technical know-how and the expertise developed over the past decade in the engineering of our products to the highest standards place us in a strong position to constantly develop new state-of-the-art products and remain internationally competitive at the forefront of OPO and frequency conversion technology, as well as photonics instrumentation.

10. What's your favourite colour?

Majid’s favourite colour is turquoise!! .. Not least because no laser systems can provide this colour, except the unique OPO system (Inspire) developed by Radiantis!!. Sara’s is purple!.