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19 February, 2020 - 11:51 By Kate Sweeney

Cambridge graphene technology pioneer awarded €140k EU grant

Cambridge Raman Imaging Limited has been awarded €140k by the European Union’s Graphene Flagship to accelerate development of its innovative graphene-enabled scanning Raman microscope.

A spin-out from the University of Cambridge and the Politecnico di Milano in Italy, it was incorporated in March 2018 to develop and commercialise the joint work of both universities to create graphene-based ultra-fast lasers. 

Frontier IP, a specialist in commercialising university intellectual property, owns 33.3 per cent of the young business.

Cambridge Raman Imaging is initially developing a Raman-imaging scanning microscope to diagnose and track tumours and for other detection applications.

The technology uses graphene to modulate ultra-short pulses of light that can be synchronised in time and are much lower cost than conventional systems.

Cambridge Raman Imaging’s scanning microscope will target real-time digital images of fresh tissue samples to detect and show the extent of tumours, their response to drug treatments and to allow surgeons to see if a cancer has been completely removed.

Existing histopathology technologies mean samples taken from a patient must be stained and sent to a laboratory for analysis, including during operations. 

Cambridge Raman Imaging’s lasers will be compact enough to use in an operating theatre, speeding up progress. The global market size for tumour analysis and tracking has been estimated to be £9 billion a year, according to Grandview Research.

Potential future applications include endoscopic examination, scanning body fluids for pathogens or tumour cells, and imaging semiconductors or proteins.

Neil Crabb, chief executive officer of Frontier IP Group, added: “Cambridge Raman Imaging is our first spin out to develop a graphene-based technology. Although the first applications are in healthcare, we believe there could be broader applications in other industries.”

Paul Mantle, Cambridge Raman Imaging Limited director, said: “This technology has the potential to revolutionise patient care by giving the clinician accurate information on tumour type and response to treatment.”

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