2015 Swan Medal

Professor Iain Baikie, KP Technology Ltd, for his contributions to the development of Kelvin Probe (KP) method instrumentation through his company, KP Technology.

Professor Iain Baikie

Iain Baikie is a world authority on the macroscopic KP method of work function measurement – a versatile surface analysis method that is crucial to improving our understanding of technological materials used in nanotechnology, with applications in energy, corrosion, semiconductors, biotechnology, computing and health.

He has been highly successful in converting his academic expertise into outstanding leadership in the commercial sector, founding KP Technology Ltd in 2000 and growing it to be the world leader in KP measurements. This position arises from his profound understanding of the physics of the measurement and instrumentation, and his ability to customise equipment to new applications and customer needs.

The world-wide impact of this relatively small British company is astonishing. The leading laboratories of the world (e.g. CERN, NASA, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Los Alamos and the National Institute for Materials Science, Japan) each have at least one Kelvin Probe instrument from KP Technology. The same is true for many leading universities and companies around the world.

In all there are around 500 customers in 35 countries –  a tremendous export success attributable to Baikie’s technical and commercial leadership as chief executive officer. KP Technology first received the UK highest accolade for business achievement, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in 2008, for innovation. The breadth of its exports and annual sales of £1 m were further recognised by a second Queen’s Award in 2013. Across the world there is now a publication per week attributable to these excellent instruments.