A spin-out company from the University of Leeds' School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering is set to transform industry’s ability to electronically monitor and interact with extreme environments.
Ionix Advanced Technologies Ltd, incorporated in October 2011 by University of Leeds researchers, announced this month that it had received funding from IP Group plc. to accelerate the commercialisation of a range of devices based on high-temperature piezoelectric materials developed by the University.
Piezoelectric technology is already a part of our daily lives. It provides the critical link that converts physical forces in an environment into electricity (and vice versa) and is used in everything from SONAR to industrial sensors to ultrasound scans in pregnancy.
However, it has not previously been possible to expose piezoelectric devices to extremes such as high temperatures and pressures. The new materials developed at the University break down that barrier. The potential market in industries such as aerospace, oil and gas and nuclear power, estimated at more than £500 million per annum.