Olympic torch passes Quorum Technologies HQ

Olympic fever reached Quorum Technologies’ offices this week as the torch was carried past our site in Ashford.

The flame was carried by 44 year old Alison Bullock from Chislehurst, who is a volunteer at the local Demelza Hospice.

Leader of Ashford Borough Council Cllr Peter Wood said: "It is a great honour to have the Olympic flame pass through our borough and we are thrilled such inspirational people were selected to represent Ashford on part of the route."

Phil Missing, Technical Director for Sample Preparation Products at Quorum Technologies commented, "we were thrilled to see the flame pass by our offices today. Like many local businesses, we play an acive part in our local community and it's a great honour to have so many people gathered to watch the occasion."

Quorum Technologies offices are on the route of the flame's procession towards Dover, where there will be a relay and fireworks display on the Prince of Wales pier, which is expected to attract 30,000 people. 

Distributor of the Year 2011

Quorum Technologies is delighted to announce that Tescan Korea Ltd. has been named our distributor of the year for 2011.

“The continued growth of Quorum Technologies is based on a number of key factors, but the strength and dedication of our worldwide distribution is critical,” explained Mike Wombwell, Sales and Marketing Director. 

“This year we are thrilled to recognise the impressive achievements of Tescan Korea Ltd., a company that has achieved a constant high level of sales over many years, culminating in a record performance in 2011.”

Bob Hennig, General Manager of our EM preparation division presented the Distributor of the Year 2011 award to Jae Whan Kim, Managing Director at Tescan Korea Ltd. at the company’s sales meeting in May.

Jae Whan Kim commented: “We are very pleased to receive this award. Our good results have been made possible with the excellent support of Quorum Technologies. We hope to continue working together to improve and grow the market in Korea.”

Mike added: “As well as impressive sales, Tescan Korea Ltd. has also continued to offer truly excellent after-sales support and has a very active programme to promote our products in Korea.”

Founded in 1991, Tescan Korea Ltd. specialises in the sales and support of Tescan SEMs and electron microscopy preparation instruments in Korea.

Click here to visit Tescan Korea Ltd.’s website, or click here to visit the English version.

Competition winner announced

Following our recent competition to find the best short application note and/or image series completed using Quorum Technologies preparation instruments, we’re pleased to announce we have a winner!

The winner is Guohui Lin, a senior electron microscopist working at the Experimental Centre of South China Normal University, located in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province.

His specimens were part of a study looking at the effects of anti-cancer medicine, using a Quorum Technologies K750X Peltier-Cooled EM Freeze Dryer and a Q150T ES Turbo-Pumped Sputter and Carbon Coater.

Living mammary cells were cultured on polystyrene plates and the cells infected with bacteria. The cells were then chemically fixed in 2.5% gluteraldehyde in a fridge for six hours. 

After this, the specimens were rinsed in changes of phosphate buffer and rapidly frozen in slushy liquid nitrogen, generated in the K750X. Specimens were then freeze-dried in the K750X for six hours.

The dried specimens were mounted on stubs and sputter-coated with platinum (Pt) using the Q150T ES. Observation and imaging was then carried out using a Carl Zeiss ULTRA55 Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FE-SEM)..

The competition marked forty years since the launch of Quorum Technologies’ first sputter coating and critical point drying systems in 1971. Other image submissions will be available in the Image Gallery soon. Guohui's images above show tumour cells infected with bacteria, freeze-dried and sputter-coated.

Quorum Technologies wins Achievement in International Business award

Quorum Technologies was honoured with the Achievement in International Business award at the Kent Invicta Chamber Business Awards 2012.

The event was held on Wednesday 28 March at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, set within the precincts of the famous Canterbury Cathedral. 

It celebrated business excellence in the county and awarded local companies in five categories: Business of the Year, Excellence in Customer Service, Most Promising New Business, Entrepreneur of the Year, and Achievement in International Business. 

Quorum Technologies beat off competition from finalists DDS (International) Ltd and Kemet International Ltd to receive the Achievement in International Business award, which was sponsored by HSBC.

“We are very honoured to receive this award as it recognises the effort and commitment of our entire Ashford team,” said Technical Director Phil Missing, who collected the award with Finance Controller Sarah Hall. 

“I think a key reason for our success is that our strong programme of innovation and development has given us a range of products that are very attractive to customers around the world,” Phil added. “We have enjoyed strong sales of our Q series of coating systems in established markets, such as Europe and North America, but also in rapidly growing economies such as China and India.”

All the winners and finalists will now go forward to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) National Awards, which take place later this year.

Click here to watch Phil and Sarah collecting the award (featured at 2:40).

Q150 coater sales pass the 500 mark

The phenomenally successful Q150 sputter/carbon coater recently achieved yet another notable milestone when the 500th model was dispatched from our Ashford factory in the UK.

“This landmark was achieved in only 20 months and is a reflection of how well the product has been received within the electron microscopy (EM) specimen preparation market,” explained Matthew Backshall, Operations Director at Quorum Technologies. 

“An added bonus for customers is that the Q150 series is now typically available for dispatch within only one week of acceptance of purchase orders. This is the direct result of the implementation of new, more efficient, lean production processes along with the dedication and hard work of our Ashford team.”

The Q150 can be tailored to suit the needs of most EM coating applications. It is available with rotary or turbo pumping and in three formats: sputter coating, carbon evaporation or both combined in a single space-saving bench-top design.

Built with intuitive touch-screen control, the Q150 series allows quick access to both stored and customer-entered coating ‘recipes’. The performance and flexibility of the system is further enhanced by a wide range of ‘drop-in’ specimen stages and coating head inserts. Other optional accessories include film thickness measurement and glow discharge.

Like all Quorum Technologies products, the Q150 series comes with a generous three-year warranty.

Click here for details of the Q150R series.

Click here for details of the Q150T series.

Q150 series coaters available for next week delivery

Due to the unprecedented demand for the new Q150 series coaters, we are now able to offer delivery within one week of receiving your order.

Following the launch of the Q150T series in December 2009 and the Q150R series in June 2010, we have seen high levels of demand for this new range of coaters.

In direct response, we have successfully introduced efficient new production procedures at our Ashford facility, where these instruments are manufactured. 

These improvements have provided the extra production capacity required and, importantly, reduced lead times to their lowest-ever levels, meaning that almost all Q150 variants are now available for delivery within one week of receiving your order. 

Should you need a coater delivered quickly, please contact your local distributor or our UK sales team on sales@quorumtech.com and we will be pleased to help with your order.

Click here for details of the Q150R series.

Click here for details of the Q150T series.

Competition to win an iPad 2

We are looking for the best short application note and/or image series completed using Quorum Technologies preparation instruments, and offering entrants the chance to win an iPad 2.

It is forty years since the launch of our first sputter coating and critical point drying systems in 1971. To mark this occasion, we are keen to find out how our many customers are using our instruments to fulfill their research needs. If you have a story or image(s) to share, we’d like to know about it.

Work could have been carried out using current Quorum Technologies equipment, or older instrumentation with brand names, such as Emitech, Polaron, Bio-rad, VG etc. Instruments could include:

• Cryo-SEMs (PP3000T, PP2000T, K1250X etc)
• Sputter coaters, carbon coaters and vacuum evaporators
• Critical point dryers (E3000, K850 etc)
• RF plasma reactors (K1050X, PT7150 etc)
• Freeze dryers (K750X, K775X etc)

The deadline for entries is 31 January 2012, and these can be forwarded as Adobe, JPG or Word documents with photographs embedded or as separate email attachments. Original black and white or colourised images are permitted and should be in JPG format.

The prize winner will be announced online and notified by email on 29 February 2012.

For more details please contact your local distributor or our UK sales team on sales@quorumtech.com.

Quorum Technologies Student Prize Winners 2011

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 fifth year and still going strong – attracting interest from undergraduates working in a range of scientific disciplines.

For the first time, students were able to use the impressive new scanning electron microscopy (SEM) instrumentation that was installed and commissioned earlier this year in the Image and Analysis Unit.

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 Oliver Kitt, Benjamin Thompson and Hamidullah Waizy, whose projects are detailed below.

The judges were impressed by both Hamidullah and Ben’s ability to quickly learn to work independently on the SEM and EDS, together with the quality of EDS analysis undertaken and the effective use of elemental quantification in their projects.

They were also impressed by Oliver’s use of the high magnification images (obtained using the new Carl Zeiss Sigma FE-SEM) to provide visual evidence to support novel scientific findings, which would not otherwise have been possible, and was thus clear evidence of the important contribution SEM made to the project.

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.

Hamidullah Waizy
Course: BSc (Hons) Geology
Project supervisor: Dr Norman Moles
Project title: Petrography and geochemistry of metasediments and cherts associated with the Duntanlich barite deposit, Aberfeldy, Scotland.
Synopsis: The project utilised Zeiss EVO LS15 SEM and Oxford Inca X-Max Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS) system to investigate the elemental composition of geological samples. The results improve the understanding of the formation of barium-enriched metasediments and cherts at a Scottish geological site.
Images: Backscattered SEM images of thin section geological samples that were analysed for elemental composition using EDS.

Benjamin Thompson
Course: BSc (Hons) Geology
Project supervisor: Dr Martin Smith
Project title: A post-magmatic evolution of the St Austell granite, Cornwall: Alteration and mineralisation.
Synopsis: Benjamin’s project was centred on SEM EDS analysis of his samples. 
Images: Backscattered SEM images of a thin section geological samples were analysed for elemental composition using EDS, to investigate the post-magmatic evolution of kaolinised areas at a Cornwall geological site. 

Oliver Kitt
Course: BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences
Project supervisor: Dr Ian Cooper
Project title: Investigating the morphological changes of Klebsiella pneumoniae biofilms on biomedical devices after exposure to sub-therapeutic concentrations of anti-bacterial actives.
Synopsis: The project utilised high resolution FEG-SEM to investigate the morphological changes to bacteria and biofilms in response to exposure to anti-bacterial agents.
Images: (Left) High resolution (x100,000 magnification) FEG-SEM image displaying biofilm formation and possible ‘pioneer colonies’. (Right) High resolution (x360,000 magnification) FEG-SEM image showing bacterial cells with connecting pili for plasmid exchange.


Electron Microscopy Sciences appointed as sole US distributor

Building on our mutually successful long-term relationship, we have further strengthened our links by appointing Electron Microscopy Sciences (EMS) as our sole and exclusive distributor for the complete range of Quorum Technologies products in the United States.

Based in Hatfield, Philadelphia, EMS is the leading supplier of electron microscopy (EM) consumables and supplies into the US market. For many years EMS has successfully sold and supported a range of specimen preparation instruments, including sputter coaters and critical point dryers, manufactured at our Ashford production facility in the UK.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with EMS,” explained Bob Hennig, General Manager at Quorum Technologies' Ashford site. “We know from experience that they have an excellent sales and service support network and understand the needs of our US customers.”

Stacie Kirsch, President of EMS, said recently at the launch of their new catalogue: “The biggest addition to our already extensive product range is the newly signed and agreed contract for exclusive representation of the complete line of Quorum Technologies instruments.” 

She continued: “Many of you will know we have sold and supported the line for over 20 years, but only recently – and to benefit the microscopy community at large – did we take on exclusively the complete range. The new agreement offers our valued customers the ability to get everything they need all under one roof.”

Click here to visit the Electron Microscopy Sciences website.

First PP3000T installed at the University of Brighton

A PP3000T, the first of our latest generation cryo preparation systems for scanning electron microscopy (SEM), has been installed and commissioned in School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Brighton.

The PP3000T has significant advances in cryo preparation technology combined with automation and simplicity of use, making it ideal for both dedicated and non-specialist user environments.

Dr Jonathan Salvage is pictured (top) with the newly-installed PP3000T. For further information on the impressive new imaging facility and investment in electron microscopy facilities, click here

Cryo-SEM is the optimum technique for observing a wide range of ‘wet’ or beam-sensitive SEM specimens – examples include foods, polymers, cement and pharmaceuticals. It is particularly useful for a wide range of biological material, with the ability to capture a ‘snapshot’ of an event and maintain interrelationships between fauna and flora and surface secretions and exudates, if present. 

This is well illustrated by some recent images taken at the University of Brighton facility – an  example of which is pictured (bottom). For more information and photos of the hitchhiking mite, click here.

Click here  for further information on the PP3000T.