As part of our build up to the Queen's Award Gala Dinner this September, we're talking to some of this year's international trade winners.
In this interview, we talk to Glasgow-based photonics and quantum technology company, M Squared Lasers.
What does your business do and where are you at the moment in terms of your exports?
M Squared is a leading developer of photonics and quantum technology systems. We develop tools used by Nobel Prize-winning scientists, the world’s top universities and innovative manufacturers. Through collaboration with a range of partners across the word, we help to bring cutting-edge photonics and laser instruments to market, as well as some of the earliest quantum devices with industrial and commercial uses.
We provide light-based systems to customers and research partners throughout the world, focusing on three core research fields: quantum technology, biophotonics and chemical sensing. Our global partnerships have helped breakthroughs in various industries and fields of study, including oil and gas detection, space and satellite technology, quantum technology systems, and microscopic imaging in the biological and medical sciences, including research into dementia, cancer diagnosis. We are a real enabling force.
Research and development into these fields is global. It is important that our patented photonics and quantum technology are the most advanced in the world, that our team shares our customers’ expertise and passion in science, and that we can operate globally. It is also vital that we’re trading throughout the world and stay in close contact with customers as we service and tune products remotely through our web-assisted service platforms.
M Squared has worked on research projects with over 130 partners across more than 25 countries, and supplied technology to 300 customers at leading academic, research and commercial organisations in 30 different countries. We export between 80 and 90 per cent of our goods.
We have a particularly strong presence in the US. It is where around two thirds of our sales are destined and it is where we have two offices and a huge number of collaborative partnerships with top universities and research institutions, but we also supply technology across Europe and Asia.
How did it feel to win a Queen's Award and how has it impacted your business?
This is a huge recognition for the business we have been building over the last decade, and as our second Queen’s Award in two years it really feels like we are starting to make an impact on the wider technology landscape. We consider our approach – international collaboration and research-intensive product development – to be the blueprint for future industries, so this award fuels our determination to keep driving change.
We are now leading the charge for the photonics and quantum technologies industries in the UK, and we are determined that the UK’s expertise in science- and research-intensive fields like quantum technology can be transformed into a myriad of market opportunities. We are constantly pushing boundaries in science and producing feats that no commercial company or industrial manufacturer has achieved before. Making the UK the global hub for quantum technology and R&D will be the crowning achievement for us.
Are you looking forward to the Queen’s Award dinner? What are you most looking forward to about it?
We will be honoured to meet fellow Queen’s Award Winners, and we are looking forward to sharing stories. We are new members of the Institute of Export and International Trade and we are looking forward to meeting the wider community of international and expert exporters from around the country. We are always open to sharing our stories and learning from others, as everyone’s journey is different. I cannot think of a better setting than at a dinner at the Royal Horseguards Hotel!
What’s the next big thing for your business?
We are on the foothills of quantum technology. With our SolsTis laser platform, we proved that we can bring innovative tools to market and create new industry standards for example, ultra-pure, low-noise laser technology that brings the precision needed to many scientific research experiments and most notably quantum systems. We are now building on a track record of translating novel science and developing revolutionary technologies for demanding commercial markets by developing components, sub-systems, and sensors to enable a broad range of quantum applications. We have already demonstrated some of these, such as the UK’s first quantum gravimeter which has the potential to detect buried and hidden masses using a cloud of ultra-cold atoms. Our ground-breaking work is placing M Squared at the heart of a formative UK quantum technology supply chain.
You can sign up to the Queen's Award dinner for a fabulous celebration of the Queen's Award winners' achievements at the Royal Horseguards Hotel here.
You can also apply for an award yourself in this year's International Trade Category - more info.