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Spotlight: UK photonics firms

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A round-up of some of the nation’s thriving photonics firms, from laser suppliers and optics manufacturers to imaging experts and coating providers

The below firms will all be exhibiting at SPIE Photonex in Glasgow this year. To learn more about the technologies that will be on display at this year's show, see our SPIE Photonex show preview.


Andor Technology | Photonex Booth: 313


Born out of Queen’s University Belfast in 1989, Andor Technology is a pioneer and manufacturer of high-performance scientific imaging cameras, spectroscopy solutions and microscopy systems for research and OEM markets. The firm has more than 70 unique product solutions, 10,000 customers in 55 countries and 400 staff in 16 offices worldwide, including the UK, China, Japan and the USA. The firm joined the Oxford Instruments in 2014 and sits as one of seven businesses within the group.

Andor’s extensive portfolio of high-performance imaging cameras, featuring EMCCD, sCMOS and CCD models, are suited to a wide range of applications across physical science and life science, delivering a combination of excellent sensitivity, speed and dynamic range. Meanwhile, its detectors deliver a wide range of sensitivity, time-resolution and sensor formats to best suit specific experimental conditions from UV to SWIR, macro- to nano-scale, with fluxes down to single photon and time-resolution down
to nanoseconds.


Covesion | Photonex Booth: 522


Hailing from Southampton, Covesion is a designer, innovator and manufacturer of bespoke MgO:PPLN crystals and waveguides for highly efficient non-linear frequency conversion.

The firm has more than 20 years’ experience and technical knowledge, putting its team of engineers in an excellent position to support designers of systems that generate visible and IR light. Its product range spans off-the-shelf crystals, custom crystals, waveguides, fibre-packaged waveguides and full custom solutions, each designed to be robust in their daily usage and offer flexibility to allow them to be integrated into any system.

Covesion serves a wide range of industries and applications, including space, defence, scientific instrumentation, spectroscopy, environmental science, quantum science, and more. It has worked with a wide range of esteemed academic institutions, commercial entities and government agencies across the globe. Notable names include Stanford University, NASA, CERN, Gooch & Housgo, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science.


Crystran | Photonex Booth: 404


Located in Poole, Crystran specialises in fabricating components from IR and UV materials, mainly crystal or innovative glasses used for their particular transmission properties – from which the firm derives its name. Its global customer base ranges from major international manufacturers of analytical and control instrumentation, aerospace companies and space agencies, to research establishments and leading universities.

The firm works with well-known materials for use in the IR spectrum such as germanium and zinc selenide, but also more exotic crystals such as KRS-5 and caesium iodide providing IR transmission up to 50µm. For deep-UV applications, it offers a wide variety of fluoride salts such as calcium fluoride and magnesium fluoride, all cut and precision-polished under one roof. Additionally, it works with a whole host of glass types suitable for visible/near-IR/UV optics. Filter glasses, high index glasses or even the commonly found BK-7 can all be supplied by Crystran.


Elliot Scientific | Photonex Booth: 303

Elliot Scientific

Founded in 1990 and located in St Albans, Elliot Scientific is an established and major supplier of components and systems including opto-mechanics, lasers and LEDs, temperature instrumentation, positioning equipment, spectroscopy and microscopy systems. 

The firm provides synergistic solutions for markets in the scientific, research, academic and industrial communities. It routinely supplies competitive quality components and subsystems, as well as complete high-performance analytical and measurement test systems. It is also able to source, integrate and manufacture complex systems, offer custom design and manufacture for OEMs, as well as provide support and technical expertise. In addition to supplying components and systems, the firm also designs and manufactures many of its own products. These include optical tweezers, fibre positioning components, flexure stages, waveguide manipulators, automated alignment systems, and micropositioners.

Elliot Scientific’s extensive portfolio is put to work by customers in industries spanning: archaeology, forensics, energy storage/conversion, food and beverage, electrochemistry, geoscience, life sciences, material science/analysis, pharmaceuticals, and semiconductor, among others.


Sponsored: Laser 2000 | Photonex Booth: 308

Laser 2000

Since the 1990s, Cambridgeshire-based Laser 2000’s 40+ strong team has been at the forefront of optics and photonics technologies. Over that time, we have been actively involved in many of the world-changing technologies since their start, as one of the largest value-added resellers of photonics, telecom, and network products in the UK.

Throughout that period, we have provided steady, reliable, dependable support to our customers. At Laser 2000, we don’t just provide products and systems, we provide solutions.

In-depth industry knowledge of photonics across diverse applications and world-class products enable us to deliver a unique capability for problem-solving, and it’s what adds value to working with us at Laser 2000.

From light generation, delivery and control, to detection and imaging – from test and measurement to high-precision motion control – we’re here to work with you throughout every aspect of your journey in photonics. Whether you’re mapping the human genome, screening and curing disease, exploring the ocean floor, putting a probe on Mars, or building a communication system, with Laser 2000 you’ll have access to the expertise and the products that will help you succeed.

For a live demonstration of some of our products, or to talk to us about your requirements, come and meet the team on Booth 308.

To find out more about the products, systems, and solutions we can provide, visit:


Laser Lines | Photonex Booth: 315


Situated in Banbury and founded in 1975, Laser Lines is a UK & Ireland supplier of lasers and optical accessories. The firm partners with international manufacturers to offer high-performance, cost-effective photonics products for both industry and research. This includes femtosecond, picosecond and nanosecond pulsed lasers, and CW lasers from a few mW to multi-kW to suit a wide variety of applications. 

Laser Lines also provides laser power and energy meters, beam analysis and pulse characterisation tools. Its experienced support team offers training, installation, maintenance and repair services for all its systems. Additive manufacturing also lies within the firm’s expertise, for which it supplies 3D printers and operates a 3D printing facility to deliver benchmark pieces and other requirements.


Light Trace Photonics | Photonex Booth: 300

Light trace photonics

Bristol-based startup Light Trace Photonics develops a range of products and services that help students, researchers, and engineers adopt and utilise integrated photonics, quantum photonics and infrared sensing. Founded in 2021, the firm has already delivered workshops to hundreds of students. Its team has more than a decade of experience in designing, fabricating, testing and packaging high-spec integrated photonic devices spanning multiple platforms, wavelengths and applications. The same goes for developing quantum photonic computing, quantum-enhanced sensing, and quantum random number generation. The Light Trace team has also published several papers on the development of integrated quantum resources for enhanced mid-infrared gas sensing.

The firm’s flagship product, LightPort:Edu, is a programmable, integrated photonics component module that allows undergraduate students to build and analyse complex photonic circuits. The system is the photonic equivalent of the electronic breadboard and can be used as a tool for photonic system prototyping during research.


Omniscan | Photonex Booth: 413


Omniscan is a supplier of surface analysis instrumentation and metrology solutions to industry and academia based in Penycae, Wrexham. The firm has provided high-quality and focussed solutions to a range of academic and industrial customers for the past 15 years.

Drawing on over 20 years of scientific training and technical experience, the firm offers instrumentation and consulting for surface modification and the measurement of optical properties, surface roughness, flatness, waviness, layer thickness, shape and thin film characterisation, ranging from the sub-nanometre to the centimetre scales. This is achieved through wielding a range of techniques including scanning probe atomic force microscopy, laser lithography, spectrophotometry, digital fringe projection, white light interferometry, ellipsometry and low coherence interferometry.


Photonic Science | Photonex Booth: 312

Photonic Science

Photonic Science is a manufacturer of high-performance digital cameras and detector systems. The firm offers a wide range of camera technology, from the latest SWIR/InGaAs, sCMOS, CCD and intensified cameras, to X-ray, neutron detection and Laue diffraction systems. These technologies serve customers across scientific, industrial, medical and military markets. 

Photonic Science’s 1,000-square-metre facility in St Leonards On Sea contains manufacturing, production, clean room, environmental/X-ray testing and research facilities. The firm delivers cost-effective, innovative camera solutions with selected components from concept through to volume production for OEMs, including complete turnkey solutions involving cameras, illumination sources, optics and imaging software.

Its ability to design and build specialist systems and undertake R&D projects has given the company’s engineering team a wide range of experience in diverse fields and the ability to transfer this knowledge to its customers.


Sponsored: Photonic Solutions | Photonex Booth: 110

Photonics Solutions

Photonic Solutions’ in-house servicing offers access to skilled engineers to deliver a diverse approach to troubleshooting and problem solving.

Since its founding in 1999, Photonic Solutions has evolved as photonics itself has transformed from being a niche application to a critically enabling technology on a global scale. Located at the heart of the Heriot-Watt University Research Park, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, the firm has more than 20 years’ experience supplying the highest quality photonic products for cutting-edge research and industrial applications across the UK and Ireland. 

Recognised as one of Europe’s leading optoelectronics companies, Photonic Solutions offers unrivalled service and support thanks to its partnership with leading manufacturers of scientific- and industrial-grade laser systems, cutting-edge imaging and microscopy systems, research-grade spectroscopy solutions, optics and optical instruments, laser diagnostics, safety equipment, and detectors. The firm boasts an exclusive distribution partnership with over 30 internationally renowned photonics firms.

Its staff of highly qualified optoelectronic specialists (over half of which are educated to PhD level) have a wealth of experience across a wide range of disciplines. This enables Photonic Solutions to deliver on its mission to provide the highest quality photonic products backed up by the highest quality service and support. Total client satisfaction is achieved through continually open, two-way interactive communication that fosters a real, mutually beneficial partnership between the firm and its customers.

Photonic Solutions Engineer

Photonic Solutions is equally dedicated to delivering ‘off the shelf’ products and customised solutions that are tailored to the needs and demands of the country’s top universities and high-tech manufacturers, serving industries ranging from life sciences, healthcare and pharmaceuticals to aerospace and defence, solar and environmental, agriculture, electronics, communications, quantum, nanotech and manufacturing.

The firm ensures it stays at the forefront of photonics development through its extensive network of manufacturers and customers, who provide detailed insight into each application sector as they grow and evolve. This forms the foundation of its unrivalled knowledge of the UK photonics market, which is what leads to so many leading European photonics firms selecting Photonics Solutions to distribute and service their products throughout the country.

“It’s important for our partners to have local support surrounding their products out in the field, and so consequently we strive to become an extension of the photonics firms we work with,” said Elaine Blackwood, Director of Sales and Marketing. “Our vision has always been to be a key partner in the photonics supply chain, working with scientists and engineers utilising photonics to solve the greatest challenges of the 21st century, from global warming to digital inclusivity.”

Contact: +44 (0)131 664 8122.



PowerPhotonic | Photonex Booth: 217


Headquartered in Dalgety Bay, across the Firth of Forth estuary from Edinburgh, PowerPhotonic delivers efficiency, precision and consistency gains in laser processes and optical systems via its high-quality, wafer-scale, low-scatter freeform optical surfaces.

The firm uses its two decades of design expertise to support engineers building advanced laser systems for application in healthcare, defence, datacoms and industry. It offers complete design freedom and a range of options to suit their requirement phase, reducing the cost and risk of concept development. 

PowerPhotonic prides itself on being able to deliver prototypes in as little as eight weeks, with the capability of subsequently ramping up volume. It is also able to model ‘as manufactured’ surface metrology information, allowing engineers to predict the performance of their prototype before it even ships.

While headquartered in the UK, the firm has additional manufacturing and engineering operations in the US, while also having an established and growing customer base in Europe, Japan and South Korea.


Pro-Lite Technology | Photonex Booth: 419


Pro-Lite Technology is a Cranfield-based supplier of specialist equipment and services, with a technical focus in the following areas of photonics: instruments for measuring light and the optical properties of materials; photometry; lasers and laser safety equipment; opto-mechanics and motion control equipment; nano-positioning equipment; optics and optical materials; and spectroscopy and spectral imaging.

The firm supplies more than 10,000 products from 47 photonics companies across its four European locations. Its portfolio of photonics products includes acousto-optic devices, detectors, diffraction gratings, optics and crystals, lasers, test & measurement systems, optical tables and breadboards, spectroradiometers, imaging photometers, light sources, spectrometers, reflectance targets, integrating spheres, goniophotometers, and much more.

Pro-Lite Technology is part of the Pro-Lite Group of companies that includes SphereOptics (Germany), Pro-Lite Technology France and Pro-Lite Technology Iberia.


Raptor Photonics | Photonex Booth: 407

Raptor Photonics

Established in 2006 and hailing from the town of Larne in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Raptor Photonics is a manufacturer of high-performance, industrial-grade and extremely rugged ultra low-light digital cameras. The firm, which also has a USA office, specialises in complete cameras and core engine solutions using CCD, CMOS, EMCCD, and SWIR sensor technology. 

Benefiting from more than 100 years of combined technological experience in CCD, ICCD, EMCCD, CCTV, SWIR and video design, the company’s staff includes leading experts in a variety of key areas, such as: analogue and digital signal processing; digital design including PCI, USB2/3, LVDS, CameraLink, Firewire, GigE; FPGA (VHDL) development for imaging processing; high-speed analogue and digital design; low-noise pre-amp circuit development; high-voltage and ultrafast pulse circuit design; embedded firmware development; application development in C++, VB & Delphi; vacuum design; high energy/X-ray design; mechanical and optical design.


Solid State Supplies | Photonex Booth: 209

Solid state supplies

Redditch-based Solid State Supplies is a technical electronic component supplier with particular expertise in optoelectronics. The firm offers a wide range of low light level detectors, optical sensors, laser components, optics, imaging sensors, imaging arrays and systems, laser range finding components and modules, LEDs, IR sources and displays. Its optoelectronics design and engineering facility harnesses its years of expertise in optoelectronic, display, sensor, detector and laser technologies to serve markets such as aerospace, defence e-mobility, and IoT.

Solid State’s products also encompass embedded processing, control and communications (both wireless and wired), sensing and switching, power management, relays, contacting switches, opto and LED lighting from globally recognised manufacturers.


Vortex Optical Coatings | Photonex Booth: 116


Hinckley-based Vortex Optical Coatings was founded in 2008 by a small team with many years of experience in the photonics industry. The firm designs and manufactures custom optical filters, IR linear variable filters (LVFs) and beam-splitters from 200-6,000nm. It boasts a fast turnaround anti-reflection coating service, as well as a fast prototyping shop.

Vortex’s IR filters are deposited by sputtering using its own ‘Rockard’ technology, which ensures: highly durable coatings suitable for the toughest environments; extremely low temperature shift; reduced passband ripple for an even response; and high blocking efficiency to increase signal to noise ratio. Sputter deposition has a process energy approximately 3x that of thermal evaporation.


Hamamatsu Photonics UK | Photonex Booth: 104

Hamamatsu Photonics

Hamamatsu Photonics is a world-leading manufacturer of optoelectronic components and systems. The Company’s corporate philosophy stresses the advancement of photonics through extensive research and yields products that are regarded as state-of-the-art.

Our expertise can help visualise, measure and analyse crucial information in numerous industries all while providing added-value services, standard and custom-made photonics solutions. Because we believe in the limitless possibilities of light, we thrive to meet your ambitions without compromise.
All products are designed to cover the entire optical spectrum and provide solutions for a wide variety of applications including analytical, consumer, industrial and medical instrumentation.

Visit Booth 104 at SPIE Photonex to meet the team and discover our latest technologies.

Lead image: Shutterstock/IR Stone


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