Creating new businesses and helping new businesses to innovate

In an increasingly competitive world, it is not enough to only push the boundaries of science and technology but also exploit it and commercialise it for the good of the UK economy.

STFC has a proven track record of:

  • making ground breaking discoveries through our research and development
  • creating new companies and exploiting the technology that comes out of our science for the economic benefit of the UK.

We have a team of intellectual property specialists working closely with our scientists and engineers across our 3 UK sites to identify opportunities from new technologies developed, and qualify their commercial potential. STFC’s intellectual property portfolio exists in the form of patents, industrial designs and copyright in our papers, processes and software. We operate a fair Intellectual Policy policy which clarifies exactly who will own intellectual property through interactions with STFC.

Since 2002, STFC has been responsible for creating spin-out companies based on research and development within the National Laboratories owned by STFC. It has spun-out a new company every year on average. STFC spin-outs often go on to attract a substantial external investment enabling laboratory based techniques and know-how to deliver industrial innovation.

The creation of these new spin-out companies also channels money into research, benefits local economic development and has created many new jobs.

Spin-out companies

Atheras Analytics

Atheras Analytics’ core technology is based on research conducted by STFC’s RAL Space. The company has developed software tools for satellite operators to optimise the design and operation of next-generation satellite networks by taking into account region-specific weather conditions, in particular, rainfall.

Cella Energy

Cella Energy is an advanced materials and technologies company, working to develop safe, low-cost, high performance hydrogen storage technology. Cella Energy aims to produce a new source of transport fuel that is commercial, competitive, and available at scale – without requiring a complete change of infrastructure.

In June 2014, Cella Energy was acquired by a consortium of investors led by Persephone Capital Partners.

Cobalt Light Systems

Cobalt Light Systems develops products for non-invasive through-barrier materials analysis. The technology allows very accurate measurements on chemical composition of materials without touching or changing the sample. The company has used a technique invented at STFC to produce a table-top screening instrument for use at security checkpoints which can screen the content of sealed bottles or containers for hazardous materials. They have recently launched a handheld system for through-barrier identification of hazardous materials, explosives and narcotics.

Constellation Technologies

Constellation Technologies provides data bioinformatic products and services into the life science sector. Using advanced tools and applications and expertise from the UK and Europe’s Particle Physics programme, the company offers large pharma and small biotech alike the latest in life science computer modelling algorithms and access to very large scale secure computing infrastructure. Constellation is using technology from CERN as well as the expertise at STFC’s Laboratories and other academic institutions.


Cryox, created to commercialise cryogenic technology arising from the outstanding knowledge base at STFC, sells products and design services for very low temperature, high performance engineering applications. These solutions go into a huge range of industrial applications such as superconducting products, industrial research, clean energy generation and processing industries.

DSoFT Solutions

DSoFT Solutions specialise in developing tailor-made, innovative, complex software solutions for the science, engineering and technology communities. The company was spun out from STFC in October 2008 and its founders have a unique blend of scientific and computing skills and an excellent track record in collaborating on complex research projects for world-class research facilities.

Electrospinning Company

The Electrospinning Company specialises in the design and manufacture of high value electrospun devices such as scaffolds and patches to enable cell growth in implanted medical devices.
These easy-to-use 3D structures are enabling research in regenerative medicine, stem cell therapeutics and drug discovery. The Electrospinning Company provides consultancy for development projects as well as a range of laboratory consumable products.


Exa specialises in Big Data analytic solutions across a variety of sectors. The company’s strengths lie in performing challenge related analysis on large volumes of data with a variety of different formats. Exa is using technologies developed from within the science community to manage these data sets (storing them and converting them to manageable formats). It is also developing a trust based system for use in Smart Cities.


Formeric, established in 2019, enables the digital design of formulated products. They offer a formulation simulation platform which generates enhanced experimental insights to accelerate a company’s product development process. Their proprietary algorithms, developed by STFC’s Hartree High-Performance Computing Centre, have been demonstrated to efficiently utilise some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Formeric is now deploying these scientific achievements in the chemical sector for personal and home care product development.


Keit develops products based on fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy for process monitoring applications in manufacturing industries.

The technology, originally developed by STFC’s RAL Space department to be satellite mounted and measure gas emissions from passing planets, is uniquely compact and robust enough for operating in tough manufacturing environments. Through the use of fixed components and a simple structural design Keit have produced a spectrometer that is extremely rugged and low maintenance.


Microvisk is developing a mass market blood clotting measurement device for patients who are taking anti-coagulants. Using Micro-electromechanical systems technology developed at STFC for space instrumentation, the company has produced a micro-viscometer for point of care medical applications. Their CoagMax® hand held blood testing device delivers laboratory standard results and quality control to professional and home users.


MIRICO, established in 2015, is developing a range of products for high precision chemical analysis of gases. Developed from proprietary technologies born from STFC’s RAL Space Department, MIRICO are bringing laboratory standard performance in a field deployable instrument for medical diagnosis, environmental monitoring and industrial process monitoring.

Orbital Optics

Orbital Optics was spun-out of STFC in 2006 to supply RAL’s leading range of low cost high resolution space optical cameras which were developed for missions including TopSat which obtained colour images at a resolution of 2.8m over a 16km field of view. The company has been acquired by MDA Corporation, a Canadian space and defence company.


Formed in 2003, Oxsensis supplies temperature and pressure sensors for extremely hostile environments such as gas turbines. Its sensor technology combines innovative fibre-optic interrogation techniques and micromachining of materials such as single crystal sapphire to give high sensitivity and immunity from electromagnetic interference.


PETRRA designs and sells low cost high resolution PET imaging cameras for use in hospitals around the world. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a powerful medical imaging technique. Images produced using PET show the metabolic function of organs and tissues. The technique delivers significant benefits in the diagnosis of diseases such as cancers, brain malfunction and heart disease. The novel positron camera, PETRRA, has been developed in a project including the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the Royal Marsden Hospital.

Power Predict

Power Predict sells software that forecasts, with more accuracy than historically available methods, the power to be generated by a wind farm or turbine. This reduces this unpredictability of wind power and will enable all parties in the power supply chain to operate with more efficiency. Customers for this service are wind farm operators, weather forecasters, power utilities and energy traders.

Quantum Detectors

Quantum Detectors principally develops and builds detectors for large scale scientific facilities, universities and industry around the world. The technology behind these devices is based on developments made at STFC laboratories, previously unavailable to commercial customers.

Quantum Detectors continue to grow their product portfolio offering a range laboratory quality detector systems and instruments.

Scitech Precision

Scitech Precision supplies bespoke microtargets for use in high energy photon science experiments. Scitech have experience in the design, manufacture and assembly of solid, multi-material micro targets for the user community of Central Laser Facility at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and can provide any combination of technologies using high precision fabrication equipment and silicon fabrication techniques.

In February 2016, Scitech Precision acquired laser machining expertise, expanding both their product and service range.

Teratech Components

Teratech Components is a spin-out from the Millimetre Technology Group at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Their mission is to provide reliable, world leading technology at a cost enabling their customers to exploit the commercial potential of the terahertz spectral band. Due to their dedicated foundry and novel fabrication processes, Teratech are able to respond very quickly to customer needs, and can offer bespoke diodes designed for specific customer applications.


ThruVision develop passive detection products which are compact and therefore suitable for use in everyday situations, providing effective security without inconvenience. Their cutting-edge technology ensures that it is 100% safe for all to be screened by their products, which are designed to detect objects without capturing high levels of body detail through the use of Terahertz energy.

In March 2012, ThruVision was acquired by Digital Barriers who continue to market and sell the ThruVision product family.


VivaMOS specialises in the development and fabrication of high-end large-area CMOS image sensors. The company was set up in 2014 with the aim of commercialising the highly sought-after Lassena® image sensor.

The Lassena® wafer-scale CMOS sensor offers a unique combination of high-speed, high-resolution, and low-noise performance, as well as being buttable on 3 sides, enabling the introduction of large Flat Panel Detectors for a wide range of X-ray applications.

Last updated: 12 January 2022

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