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Quorum Technologies Student Prize Winners 2010

Three students from the University of Brighton have received an award through this year’s Quorum Technologies student prize scheme, having demonstrated exceptional use of electron microscopy in their final year projects.

Our student prize scheme, in partnership with the University of Brighton, is now in its fourth year and still going strong - attracting interest from undergraduates working in a range of scientific disciplines.

This year, three prizes of £200 were awarded for final year undergraduate projects that the judges felt had made particularly good use of electron microscopy. The winners were Mira Buhecha, Robert Cocker and Isaac Lart, whose projects are detailed below.

The prize is held within the University’s Image and Analysis Unit in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science and awarded on an annual basis. 

Mira Buhecha
Course: Pharmacy MPharm (Hons) 
Project supervisor: Dr Ananth Pannala
Project title: The development of a beta carotene and quercetin co-encapsulated system using a biodegradable polymer


Image top: The project utilised scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to investigate the size and morphology nanoparticles (PLGA) being developed for drug encapsulation strategies. The image was prepared by cryo-SEM, a process that allows specimens to be prepared and observed at cryo temperatures, typically in the range of -130ºC to -140ºC.



Robert Cocker
Course: Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)
Project supervisor: Dr Jacqueline Elsom
Project title: Human oral epithelial skin models in the investigation of compounds used in oral healthcare formulations research

Image middle: The project utilised SEM and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS) to investigate zinc nanoparticle interactions with human epithelial cells.



Isaac Lart
Course: Biomedical Science BSc (Hons)
Project supervisor: Dr Gary Phillips
Project title: Production of a novel scaffold for large scale, soft tissue regeneration

Image bottom: The project used SEM to investigate the morphology and porosity within the macroporous structure of gelatine and calcium alginate biomaterial scaffold constructs.


For more information on the University of Brighton’s Image and Analysis Unit in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science, visit http://www.brighton.ac.uk/pharmacy/consultancy/IAU/index.php?PageId=100

First cryo-SEM workshop in China

The first Quorum Technologies cryo-SEM workshop to be held in China took place last month, and was a great success.

The event was organised by Nanjing Tansi, our distributor in China, and took place at the University of Tongji in Shanghai on 25-26 November.

Professor Zhu Jian from the University’s College of Life Science and Technology hosted the workshop, with delegates attending from academic institutes and companies across China. 

The workshop demonstrated the benefits of the cryo-SEM preparation technique on a range of specimen types, as the University’s Hitachi S3400 SEM is fitted with a Quorum Technologies PP2000T Cryo-SEM Preparation System.

Delegates were also introduced to the recently-launched PP3000T – which builds on the market-leading PP2000T and offers unsurpassed performance, automation and ease of operation.

The micrograph pictured was taken during the workshop and shows starch granules in a maize (corn). In less than 10 minutes, the specimen was frozen in slushy nitrogen and transferred into the preparation chamber to be cryo fractured, sublimated for three minutes at -90ºC and sputter coated with platinum. It was then transferred onto the SEM cold stage for observation. 

Thanks to the University of Tongji for hosting the event and providing the specimen.
 
Click here for further information on Quorum cryo preparation systems.

2010 Global Distributors Meeting

This month saw an international gathering of Quorum Technologies’ partners as they attended the 2010 Global Distributors’ Meeting and saw new products in action for the first time.

Colleagues from around the world recently took the opportunity to share experiences, learn of new techniques and take part in demonstrations of the latest products at the annual Global Distributors Meeting, held over three days at the Quorum Technologies sites in Ashford and Ringmer, South East England.

Managing Director Kevin Breen said: “Our distributors are absolutely essential to the success of our company, and we really appreciated the effort made to attend the meeting here in the UK.”

Alongside a strong contingent from Europe, distributors arrived from Australia, Japan, China, Korea and the United States – all getting a preview of the Q300TD, which is in the final stages of production. 

Kevin added: “As the latest product in our Q-series range of coaters, this meeting was a great time for distributors to ‘test drive’ the Q300TD before we launch it at the end of the year.”

There was also the chance to gain first-hand experience of using the PP3000T, the latest product in the cryo-SEM range. 

“The PP3000T is a totally new, automated system that combines the highest performance with unparalleled ease of use - a combination that should help take this important technique to a much wider user base,” said Kevin. 

“Given the world-wide coverage our distributors provide, it is difficult to bring them together with our technical and marketing teams in the UK. This meeting was a great success in enabling us to get helpful feedback from the distributors and for them to learn in detail about these new products.”

Click here to find the name and contact details for a distributor near you.

Click here for further information on the PP3000T.

New PP3000T cryo preparation system launched

Building on their position as market leaders in cryo-SEM, Quorum Technologies has launched the PP3000T - a totally new, automated cryo-SEM preparation system that combines the highest performance with unparalleled ease of use.

With the market for cryo-SEM seeing steady growth over recent years, the simplicity and ease of use of the new PP3000T Cryo-SEM Preparation System looks set to establish cryo-SEM as a standard, everyday process for SEM specimen preparation.

“Cryo-SEM is the optimum preparation method to obtain superior results for ‘wet’ or beam-sensitive specimens, including biological systems, foods, polymers, pharmaceuticals, oils, foams and many other materials,” explained Sales & Marketing Director Mike Wombwell.

While earlier cryo-SEM systems were seen as labour intensive, the PP3000T has been designed to make the whole process much simpler for the operator, with automation of processes such as transfer device pumping and on-screen ‘help’ videos for each process step.

Mike continued: “One of the main design principles is ease of set-up and use. Control is via a large intuitive touch screen mounted on the spacious Prepdek™ workstation, giving the operator instant access and control of all the key operating parameters.”

The PP3000T is fully automatic and built around a low mass preparation chamber, which includes tools for specimen fracturing and fully automatic sublimation and sputter coating. The preparation chamber is attached directly to the microscope, and the SEM stage and cold trap are gas-cooled with a temperature range down to -192ºC.

Chamberscope images from the preparation chamber and the SEM are displayed on the control screen, and multiple viewing windows give unsurpassed visibility of the specimen and chamber interior.

The PP3000T is the third product to be introduced to the Quorum Technologies’ range in the past year.

Like all other Quorum Technologies products, the PP3000T comes with a generous three-year warranty and specialised support.

Click here for further information on the PP3000T.

2010 Microscopy and Microanalysis Meeting

Quorum Technologies fielded a strong team at the 2010 Microscopy & Microanalysis (M&M) Meetingearlier this month, taking the opportunity to launch new products into the North American market.

Managing Director Kevin Breen, Sales and Marketing Director Mike Wombwell and Director - Integrated Systems Bob Morrison attended the conference and exhibition, which took place 1-5 August in Portland, Oregon. Supporting them on their exhibition stand was Mike Dufraine from Energy Beam Sciences, distributor for the US.

“This is the major annual North American meeting of the microscopy-related industry,” explained Kevin. 

“It’s supported by the Microscopy Society of America, Microbeam Analysis Society and the Microscopical Society of Canada. As such, many key people involved in specifying and buying new equipment attend to see the latest and best equipment.

Kevin continued: “M&M was a key part of our new products launch strategy and the ideal opportunity to introduce them to the large North American market.”

The products on show included the PP3000T Cryo-SEM Preparation System and Q300TD Dual-Head Bench-Top Sputter Coater - capable of accommodating and coating 6” specimens. Also debuting were the Q150T Turbo-Pumped Sputter Coater/Carbon Coater and Q150R Rotary-Pumped Sputter Coater/Carbon Coater

With over 1,500 delegates attending each day, it was great to see such a high level of interest in these products - with a steady stream of SEM users looking at demonstrations of the PP3000T in particular.

“Based on very positive feedback, we think the PP3000T will be chosen for a number of new installations in North America over the coming year, and look forward to a busy time fitting these units at key sites. Between ourselves and Energy Beam Sciences Inc, we took a record number of leads and felt this was one of the most successful overseas shows we have attended!

“We will next be demonstrating the PP3000T and Q150 range at the JAIMA EXPO 2010 Conference in Tokyo in September, supporting our Japanese distributor Elminet Corporation with the Asian launch of these products into this major geographical market."

New Q150R rotary-pumped coater launched

This month sees a key expansion to the latest series of our sample preparation systems, with the introduction of the Q150R - a range of rotary-pumped coaters for SEM applications.

Recently appointed Managing Director of Quorum Technologies, Kevin Breen, is pleased to see the new series offering a wider range of systems to cater for the different needs of our customers around the world. 

“The Q150R is a compact rotary-pumped coating system,” explained Kevin. “This makes it ideally suited for SEM and other coating applications. This launch is part of Quorum’s investment programme, backed by its parent group Judges Scientific plc, to revise and add to its product range with the aim of providing customers with better products and improved value.”

Available in three formats, the Q150R offers the option of: a sputter coater suitable for standard (tungsten) SEM specimen coating, a carbon coater suitable for SEM EDS and WDS applications, or both combined in a single space-saving system.

Kevin added: “The modular design of the new Q-series range of coaters mean that Quorum Technologies now offers a comprehensive range of systems that are both user-friendly and flexible. Having combined the talent and experience of Emitech and Polaron, we have been able to exploit a wider range of technical and engineering skills and thus offer a market-leading solution to meet our customers’ coating needs.”

Featuring an intuitive colour touch screen, plus a range of easy-to-change ‘drop-in’ specimen stages and coating head inserts, the Q150R boasts high quality performance and flexibility. A new option for carbon coating versions of the Q150R is a glow discharge attachment for modification of specimen surface properties, eg hydrophobic to hydrophilic conversion.

Like all other Quorum Technologies products, the Q150R comes with a generous three-year warranty.

Click here for further information on the Q150R.

Distributor of the Year 2009

Quorum Technologies has launched a Distributor of the Year award, and are delighted to announce that the 2009 winner is German distributor, Gala Instrumente.

“One of the key reasons for the success of our business over many years is the strength, dedication and professionalism of our worldwide distribution,” explained Mike Wombwell, Sales and Marketing Director at Quorum Technologies. “This award aims to recognise these qualities year on year across our network of over 60 distributors globally.” 

Mike presented the Distributor of the Year 2009 award to Gala Instrumente’s Managing Director Dr. Jost Gabler (pictured) during the recent Electron Microscopy Course in Münster, Germany. 

Jost commented: “I am delighted to accept the first award of its kind on behalf of my company, and think it’s a great idea for Quorum Technologies to introduce this. The English sparkling wine we have also received will certainly go down well with my colleagues!” 

Mike continued: “For many years Gala Instrumente have provided world-class support for our many German customers. The level of sales in 2009 was exceptional and covered all product types - including very strong sales of cryo-SEM preparation systems. 

“Gala specialise in electron microscopy specimen preparation and are therefore not only able to offer dedicated sales and after-sales support, but they also feed back valuable information on new techniques and customer requirements which we can use in the development of future products. Well done to Gala Instrumente!” 


Quorum Technologies appoints new MD

Bob Kenhard, founder of Quorum Technologies, is taking his planned retirement from the day-to-day management of the company following its acquisition by Judges Scientific plc last year. As of 1 March 2010, Kevin Breen has now taken over the role of Managing Director.

Having started his career in research and development, Kevin (pictured) has worked in sales and marketing, followed by general management. As well as the experience he brings to the role, Kevin also has a BSc in Physics, an MSc and an MBA, and is a Chartered Engineer.

On joining the team, Kevin commented: “I am very much looking forward to building on the good work Bob has done in growing Quorum Technologies to be a leading player in the electron microscopy preparation instrumentation market, and also looking forward to providing customers with the new and improved products and services already in the pipeline.” 

Kevin was formerly CEO of City Technology plc, a management buy-out from City University, which was acquired by the FTSE-listed First Technology PLC. He joined the Board of First Technology to run their gas sensing businesses, and was a key part of the Executive Team that sold First Technology to Honeywell Inc in 2006. 

Prior to that, he held several senior management roles in the Halma Group PLC, running three of its manufacturing subsidiaries at different times. He has extensive experience of growing technology and instrumentation businesses, and of rolling out sophisticated products into international markets. 

Bob and his colleagues have welcomed Kevin to the team. “I am now in the process of delivering a handover of the business and commercial relationships to Kevin, and it is great to have him with us," said Bob. "After stepping down, I will continue to be involved with Quorum Technologies as a non-executive director and consultant, and will help with special projects.”