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KP Technology moves into final frontier with Nasa deal

Professor Iain Baikie, of KP Technology, with one of the company's products

A technology company in Wick is aiming for the stars after it received a “significant” order from the US government space agency Nasa.

The award-winning KP Technology said it now hopes for “double digit” sales growth following the deal which will see the space agency deploying the firm’s atomic measurement system called the Kelvin Probe.

The measurement device is named after Scottish mathematician and physicist Lord Kelvin and is used to analyse properties of materials by detecting electrical changes in the top-most atomic layers.

The technology was developed by Professor Iain Baikie who co-founded the Caithness firm in 2000. It employs 13 staff in Wick, some of whom have advanced degrees in physics, electronics and engineering. The company now serves more than 500 businesses and research institutes worldwide.

Professor Baikie said the deal follows recent sales of probes to the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC.

He said: “Historically, our products have sold well in the United States and Europe and we are experiencing increasing orders from the Far East.”

Economic development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has supported the business for a number of years.

Sara Campbell, from HIE, said: “An order from such a prestigious organisation as Nasa is a real achievement for Professor Baikie and his team.

“The order received from Nasa is testament to the hard work and ambition of everyone at the company. KP Technology is a local Caithness company with an international reputation as a leading supplier in a specialised industry.”

KP Technology’s equipment, developed through research at a university in the Netherlands, is used in a wide range of applications spanning energy, semiconductors, forensics, bio-technology research and defence.

Its customers have included the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the European Space Agency, Tata Steel, Konica Minolta, Mitsubishi and Harvard University.

The company has won a number of awards, including the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise twice, for International Trade in 2013 and for Innovation in 2008. The company also won the John Logie Baird – Impact through Innovation prize in 2008.

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