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Business and innovation

Business Awards winners 2020

The IOP Business Awards recognise the significant contribution that physics and physicists make in industry across all sectors and at all stages, celebrating entrepreneurship, excellence in innovation and the successful implementation of physics into a product or service. 

Our Business Awards winners this year highlight the successful application of physics in industries including medical, energy, rail, defence, quantum, magnetics, aerospace and environmental.

Business Innovation Award winners

Advanced Hall Sensors

Advanced Hall Sensors Ltd specialises in the design and manufacture of semiconductor Quantum Well Hall Effect (QWHE) magnetic sensors. It supplies to a global customer base in industrial, medical and oil and gas industries, servicing demanding environments ranging from extremes of temperatures to very high sensitivity applications.

Full citation

Hirst Magnetic Instruments

Hirst Magnetic Instruments Ltd is an innovative magnetics technology company, which has taken scientific processes into industrial production areas involving magnetising and the accurate characterisation of magnetic components. Its recent advance in the latter sector promises significant increases in product yield in the manufacture of EV motors, making an important contribution to this green energy sector.

Full citation

Promethean Particles

Promethean Particles design, develop and manufacture nanoparticle dispersions to meet product specifications. The company covers many industry needs such as inks and pigments, functional nanoceramics, biocompatible materials, printed electronics and metal organic frameworks. They offer a feasibility service to tailor a custom made solution for specific customer requirements.

Full citation

Thornton Tomasetti Defence

Thornton Tomasetti Defence Ltd are a multidisciplinary firm of consulting engineers who provide expert advice on structural survivability, blast, ballistics and weapons effects to the UK Ministry of Defence, other UK government departments, the US, Netherlands, German, French and Canadian Navies as well as global defence companies and suppliers.

Full citation

Business Start-up Award winners


Established in 2016, FeTu are an innovation driven enterprise based in West Yorkshire that have created a revolutionary ‘green’ energy device targeting carbon reduction across a broad range of systems and industries. FeTu offers a disruptive enabling technology; a versatile ‘positive displacement turbine’ suitable for various applications.

Full citation

Geoptic Infrastructure Investigations

Founded in 2019, Geoptic Infrastructure Investigations is a spin-out company from the Universities of Durham, Sheffield and St Mary's. Using patented technology which detects cosmic ray muons the company specialises in non-invasive imaging of critical infrastructure, such as railway tunnels, to identify areas of concern such as hidden voids.

Full citation

ORCA Computing

ORCA Computing is a UK company developing a completely new approach towards quantum computing. Their quantum memory allows storage and synchronisation of single and entangled photons, enabling the prospects for future high-performance, highly connected and scalable quantum computing.

Full citation

Oxford HighQ

Oxford HighQ is a spin-out company building on more than a decade of quantum technology research from the University of Oxford. The company is developing unique nanoparticle sensing instruments using micro-scale optical microcavities. The first product addresses a crucial application in nanomedicine to provide single particle measurement of drug loading.

Full citation

OxMet Technologies

Founded in 2017 by Oxford University researchers, OxMet's mission is to develop, license, and manufacture proprietary alloys, powders and components for the aerospace, automotive, industrial and biomedical markets. OxMet’s ABD® alloys have a wide range of applications, making rockets, planes, and cars more fuel efficient, and reducing medical implant problems.

Full citation

Photon Force

Photon Force Limited designs and manufactures time-resolved single-photon-sensitive scientific cameras for application in areas spanning quantum physics, bio-medical imaging and communications. The business spun out of Robert Henderson’s CMOS Sensors and Systems Group at the University of Edinburgh in 2015, and now employs a skilled team at its Edinburgh base.

Full citation

QLM Technology

Founded at the Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre at the University of Bristol, QLM is developing innovative low-power tuneable diode LIDAR gas imaging systems based on infrared single-photon detection. QLM aims to produce a low-cost platform of gas imagers that enable continuous and fully automatic greenhouse gas emission monitoring to help natural gas producers, distributors, service providers and environmental agencies limit climate change.

Full citation

Lee Lucas Business Award winners


Nebu-Flow’s acoustic aerosol formation technology enables delivery of hard-to-nebulise respiratory drugs to the lungs, including both existing formulations and emerging novel high-value therapeutics such as biologics, nanomedicines and vaccines.

Full citation

Cellular Highways

Cellular Highways develops and commercialises cell sorting instrumentation based on a novel technology, VACS (vortex-actuated cell sorting), which exploits new physical principles in inertial microfluidics. The technology will vastly increase the speed and scalability of sterile cell sorting, opening up new applications in cell therapy and other areas of biotechnology.

Full citation

Further information about our Business Awards

  • Find out more about our Business Awards and how to make a nomination.