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Start-up spotlight: Gilden Photonics

20 Dec 2007

A Scottish distributor of spectroscopy solutions also assembles equipment under its own brand.

What is Gilden Photonics' (GPL) core business?
"GPL is a manufacturer, integrator and distributor of optical spectroscopy equipment," sales manager Kevin Lynch told optics.org. "We act as value-added resellers for a range of key optical spectroscopy companies, but also have our own manufacturing base."

GPL's co-founder and managing director John Gilchrist sees the opportunity to make an impact in cost-effective, high-performance optical and spectroscopic systems, particularly in collaboration with Chinese colleagues. That vision sees GPL as a bridge into Asian manufacture, while at the same time developing optical spectroscopy systems demanded by the market.

What products does the company sell?
GPL sells fluorimeters, monochromators, light sources, detectors, scientific imaging cameras, hyperspectral cameras, IR spectrometers and Raman portable systems. "We are sole distributors for Andor Technology for the UK area from Birmingham to Scotland, and have recently become UK and Ireland distributors for Arc Optix, Delta Nu, Headwall and Specim," said Lynch. GPL are also European strategic partners for Zolix, and distribute through LOT-Oriel for most parts of mainland Europe.

"We carry about 100 different products, not including our opto-mechanics range," Lynch estimated. "If you include our range of motorized stages, mounts and base plates, our total offer is more than 1000 items."

GPL also assembles its own-brand products at the company's Glasgow facility. These include the GPL fluoroSENS bench-top fluorimeter, a bench-top fluorimeter with single-photon counting sensitivity that is able to measure high-performance steady-state fluorescence spectra and time-resolved phosphorescence decays.

What application areas does Gilden Photonics target?
"We sell to academia, especially physics, chemistry, biology and geography departments, along with research and pharmaceutical companies," said Lynch. "We do a lot of OEM work too. We sell to some big names, but a key focus area for the future is homeland defense applications so some of our customers must remain confidential."

What were the origins of the company?
The founders of GPL formed their own business after many years experience with Edinburgh Instruments. "Having started their own company, the twin streams of distribution and in-house assembly of products developed in tandem," explained Lynch. "They were complementary to each other, and it made good business sense."

What are your future plans?
"We aim to achieve £15 million ($30 million) in turnover within the next five years," said Lynch. "This year we will achieve £1 million, so we believe the target is certainly achievable."

Quick facts
Funding: capital comes from the main shareholder and co-founder, John Gilchrist.

Workforce: currently five employees, with expansion to ten employees planned within the next 12 months.

Location: GPL are based in the Clydebank Business Park, Glasgow, UK.

Gilden Photonics Ltd
Unit 13 Telford Court
9 South Avenue
Clydebank Business Park
G81 2NR

Telephone: +44 (0) 141 952 9475
Email: kevin.lynch@gildenphotonics.com
Web: www.gildenphotonics.com

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