A new spin-out company, Mode Labs Limited, co-founded by Mansfield’s Materials Fellow Professor Jason Smith with Hertford College Chemistry Fellow Professor Claire Vallance, amongst others, has won a prestigious Royal Society Chemistry Emerging Technologies Prize, beating five other initiatives in the Environment category. The Emerging Technologies Competition is the Royal Society of Chemistry’s annual initiative for early-stage companies and academic entrepreneurs who want to commercialise their technologies to make a societal impact.

The sensors, developed by Mode Labs, involve the use of microcavity technology which provides an enhancement of chemical absorption signals by up to 10,000-fold, enabling robust miniaturised field-deployable devices. Their adoption will allow water companies to carry out more targeted intervention, improved regulatory compliance, and improved environmental outcomes. The spinout has also secured support from the University Challenge Seed Fund.

In addition, Professors Smith and Vallance and Mansfield undergraduate Nick Joinson have secured an EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award to develop a further generation of water sensors within the University. The 12-month project, which will start in September, follows on from Nick’s successful demonstration of a new invention within his 4th year (Part 2) project in the past academic year, for which he won the Armourers and Brasiers’ Company Medal and Prize. Mode Labs Limited are partners in the project to help ensure commercial alignment.

Mode Labs co-founder and CTO Dean James said:

“The whole team at Mode Labs is delighted by these awards, which recognise both the importance of water pollutant sensing and the potential of optical microcavity sensors to transform the sector. They put us in a strong position to take first steps in delivering the technology, which will provide a cost-effective solution helping water companies, regulators and the public to monitor water quality wherever it is needed.”

Congratulations to Nick and Jason and to everyone involved!