Professor Iain Baikie among 2015 IOP Award winners

2 July 2015

The Institute of Physics has announced its 2015 Award winners. Among the winners was Professor Iain Baikie from KP Technology Ltd in Wick, Caithness. Professor Baikie won the Swan medal for his contributions to the development of Kelvin Probe method instrumentation. The Swan medal is one of the Institute's Gold medals and is award annually for outstanding contributions to the organisation or application of physics in an industrial or commercial context.

Professor Iain Baikie

Professor Baikie said: "When I received notification of the Swan medal from the President of the Institute of Physics I was obviously excited, and rather taken aback to be on the same list as such eminent scientists as Professor Sir Richard Friend, of Cambridge University, and Professor Sir Michael Pepper of University College London. As the IOP citation suggests, the Kelvin Probe method I developed is a very versatile tool that allows materials engineers to investigate the nanotechnology that underpins the touch-sensitive displays and electronic devices we are all familiar with. I first started building Kelvin Probes during my PhD research at Twente University in Holland 1982 as it was one of the few techniques that is sensitive to just one layer of atoms or molecules.

“When I initially set up KP Technology with my wife Elena my goals were to continue to contribute to international-level scientific research but combine this with a family-based lifestyle and the beautiful coastal scenery that the North of Scotland offers. KP Technology appears to be the first Scottish-based winner of the Swan Award and this is a ringing endorsement that a company’s impact is not necessarily dependent upon its location.

“It takes long-term aspiration and innovation to continue to track the research needs of our global customer base. The dedication and hard work of our employees are key factors in today’s success. Strategically we perform research leading to scientific papers and patents, and production side-by-side so the whole team develops a commercial focus.

“At this time my targets are to continue to expand our research team to develop new products. The Swan certificate will hang on the wall alongside the KP Technology’s two Queens Awards for Enterprise and hopefully act as further inspiration!  We will focus on a new marketing initiative in the autumn, ahead of the 2016 conference season. We attend major international conferences in Europe and the USA. My wife Elena and I have been invited to the IOP Awards dinner in London in November and this gives me an opportunity to pop into research collaborators at Imperial College London and hopefully also visit researchers at University College London where we have an advanced scanning KP system in the Nanotechnology Department. I intend to put the £1,000 towards a new double kayak so that I can continue to paddle on the NE coast thinking up new ideas and showing novices the world-class coastline.”

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