K P Technology In Wick
A New Company With A Great Future
Technology was set up by Prof. Iain Baikie to market surface analysis
technologies, including the Kelvin probe which he has developed during his
research career. This instrument can detect minute changes in the
composition of the top layers of materials and has application in a
diverse range of manufacturing and research activities including
semiconductor wafer manufacture, solar cells, fuel cells, gas and optical
sensors, and development of nano-engineered materials.
KP Technology manufactures a range of
Kelvin probe, which operate in both air and vacuum conditions. Recent
clients include Honeywell Space, Florida, UAS, Delft University, The
Netherlands and Jilin University China. The worldwide market in the
area is global and systems production is constantly increasing.
Recently Iain returned from a system installation at the Materials
Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio. This is the
airfield where the Wright brothers developed their first aeroplane and
currently where now state-of-the-art investigations in materials for
military, commercial and Space Flight applications are developed.
Iain Baikie is assisted in the tasks by
Elena Koponen-Baikie, also a software engineer, who also acts as Company
A Young Dynamic Team Of Scientists
Iain Baikie has experience in research and teaching and has pointed K
P Technology in part towards developing new ideas. To that end KP
Technology hosts several research projects. Iain is determined
to move the business forward with new and innovative ideas he has been
thinking about for some years.
Craig Allan - Helping To Make The Ideas Commercial
Allan, a software engineer at KP Technology is currently developing a
computer interface to allow remote control and monitoring of peripheral
transducers, including commercial pressure sensors and assists in
development and Marketing of the Kelvin probe range. He was
employed through the Graduate Placement Program, which is run by Caithness
and Sutherland Enterprise. Craig graduated last July from The Robert
Gordon University in Aberdeen with a BSc (Hons) in Business Computing.
Craig’s role at KP Technology is to maintain and develop
the company websites, as well as developing commercial software products.
His current project involves the development of software to interface,
communicate and report data from a Duel Convection Gauge Controller, which
is manufactured by the American company Duniway Stockroom Corp.
A New Approach To Particle Research
Rodriguez recently started a PhD in the materials evaluation of Dounreay
spent fuel particles. This project is a follow-on study from the initial
research presentations Prof. Baikie made at the recent meeting of the
Materials Research Society in San Francisco in April. Esther's 3
year project is sponsored by UKAEA, Dounreay and is in collaboration with
Sheffield University. Esther has a background in
Chemistry. She has a BSc in Chemistry and MBA. She worked previously
in Pharmaceutical industry being in charged of the analytical facilities.
Richard Shanks -
Searching For Alternative Energy
Storage Answers In Northern Scotland
Shanks will shortly commence his honours year in Physics at Strathclyde
University where he is studying a MSci in physics. As part of his course
he will be undertaking an industrial summer project at KP Technology in
Wick. His project will involve the research of alternative energy
possibilities in the North of Scotland and feasible ways of storing it.
This entails measuring the efficiency of silicon-based solar cells at Wick
latitude and investigating the utilisation of fuel-cell (hydrogen) based
energy storage approaches. Richard hopes to compare the relative benefits
of small-scale wind-turbine energy and solar energy schemes for peripheral
areas. The main focus of his project is the comparison
of solar energy and wind energy to verify which method is the most suited
to the North of Scotland. As both solar energy and wind energy do not
provide a constant source of power, Richard will also investigate the most
feasible means of storing the energy for future use. This will involve the
comparison of a hydrogen fuel cell against that of battery storage.
A Scientist In The Makiing - Awarded A Nuffield Bursary
Still At Thurso High School And Working On Solar Cells and Potential New
McKeown is going into fifth year at Thurso High School. She is spending
the summer at KP Technology, Wick, working on a science project for the
Nuffield Bursary Scheme, under the supervision of Professor Iain Baikie.
Claire is working with Richard Shanks on the project covering the use of
solar cells to obtain energy and the storage of this energy using a
hydrogen fuel cell. She will present her project report in Edinburgh
What Does K P Technology Do?
Business manufactures high tech
equipment used in the materials testing field by state-of-the-art
research laboratories in industry and academia. The technique is called
the Kelvin probe after Lord Kelvin; it measures the energy of the
surface of a material just underneath a vibrating tip. The tip is
scanned across the material to form a two-dimensional energy profile of
the surface. It is sensitive to the topmost atoms of the surface. Prof.
Baikie has spent the last 23 years developing this technique at research
laboratories in Europe and the US.
The company uses the Kelvin probe to
examine materials for third parties, e.g., corrosion for the Ford Motor
Company, hard-disk materials for Seagate Inc, semiconductor wafers for
K P Technology have their own R&D
activities under our SMART 2003 award. "This will allow us to develop
and patent a 5th generation 'Intelligent tip' Kelvin probe."
Prof. Baikie has over a decade
experience in supervision of BSc, MSc and PhD students and is currently
lead supervisor in a collaboration on the lifetime of the Dounreay spent
fuel particles in collaboration with UKAEA Dounreay and Sheffield
K P Technology also assist in running
the Caithness Science Festival and summer student projects.
Iain Baikie said “I was born in Wick 1960, in my opinion it has a high
quality of life for my family and myself. KP technology is a
platform to utilise my and my wife's skills in a team and still realise
educational and research goals. Caithness has excellent primary
schools, good social life and a good local support structure. The area is
remote but beautiful, especially to myself whose serious hobby is sea
kayaking (I am also chairman of the local kayak club). Our business
has relatively low-start-up costs compared with other areas. CASE
has a very healthy attitude to supporting new businesses and location is
not an issue in a highly specialised field, rather scientific reputation
is more relevant. Wick has an excellent recruitment base with great
potential for recruiting highly qualified personnel.”
Hopes For The Future
Iain Baikie will develop the business aiming to become a major
producer of Kelvin probes in the world. To develop the instrument so
as to explore research areas currently underdeveloped (including
bio-technology). A major part of the company philosophy is to initiate a
research and development culture in Wick and to develop a very high
quality educational base. He hopes to encourage the youth, together
with local and national politicians, to support or participate in science,
education and enterprise!
Information on Kelvin Probes and KP Technology can be obtained from the
web sites run by the business
Earlier About KP Technology On Caithness.org
Visits K P Technology
Lewis Macdonald, Deputy Enterprise Minister was impressed by cutting edge
technology when he visited KP Technology during a tour of Wick. The
visit was organised by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise to show Mr
Macdonald the potential for science based businesses in Wick.
Lewis Macdonald - right was joined by David Flear area convenor and Sandra
McCaughey from Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise to be shown round by Iain
Along with spending
time at KP, the Minister spent a productive morning in the town getting a
taste of the companies, projects and people which are working together to
take the local economy forward.
Mr Macdonald said: “I
was delighted to be able to see at first hand the good work that is taking
place in Wick.
“It was extremely
useful to hear about the progress that is being made by companies,
regeneration projects and educational establishments. I was impressed by
the commitment and determination of the people I met. Working together, I
have no doubt they can secure a bright economic future for Wick.”
Iain Baikie Explains Some Of His Research To Lewis Macdonald
At KP Technology – a
company at the cutting-edge in its field which is run by local man Prof
Iain Baikie – Mr Macdonald learnt about the manufacture of highly
specialised Kelvin Probes, which are sold to a worldwide market.
The tour also took the
Minister to North Highland College’s base in Wick, where he spent time
talking with students and teachers.
Impressive work being
done to regenerate the Pultneytown area was a further encouraging element
of Mr Macdonald’s visit to the area.
“The innovative work
being done at KP Technology is exactly the type of business which will
help ensure Wick can look to the future with optimism,” Mr Macdonald said.
“It was a fascinating
visit and Prof Baikie’s decision to return to Wick as a base for this
world leading company is to be welcomed.
“Visiting the college
introduced me to people – both young and old – upon whom the future of the
town will rest. As a result I was delighted to hear of their commitment to
the area and their desire to remain in Wick and help take it towards a
Iain Baikie With His Dynamic Young Team