Space tech breakthrough for Cork’s Varadis

The Tyndall National Institute in Cork has confirmed that it has licensed innovative technology that can have a myriad of uses from space to medicine to Cork-based Varadis.

The Tyndall technology being licenced to Varadis, entitled Radiation Sensing Field Effect Transistors (RADFETs), is already in use by astronauts in the International Space Station as well as public and private sector organisations around the world, accurately measure the absorbed doses of ionising radiation such as gamma rays, protons and x-rays.

“Our technology has been validated through recurring customer sales within space exploration, physics research organisations and healthcare sectors”

The highly innovative RADFET technology has wide applications from radiotherapy and oncology to industrial and military, and is already a much sought-after solution for radiation monitoring on both people and equipment.

The deal between Tyndall and Varadis has extra significance because it shows what’s possible when the research community and the indigenous business community work together.

Varadis has ambitious plans for commercialisation and scaling of the solution globally.

Spinning out research to Irish business

“The ability to accurately measure absorbed radiation doses is vital in a world where we are surrounded by radiation sources on a day to day basis,” said Brad Wrigley, CEO of Varadis.

“Our technology has been validated through recurring customer sales within space exploration, physics research organisations and healthcare sectors. RADFETs is one of the most accurate devices on the market, and provides customers with unique benefits, including the sensor’s micro size, functionality and ability to integrate with IoT devices and other systems. As the wearable market grows, we see enormous opportunities for the RADFETs technology, and Varadis is already in discussions with significant players in the technology market in the US and Asia,” Wrigley added.

The technology was developed by a number Tyndall researchers including Nikola Vasovic, Aleksandar Jaksic and Russell Duane, and is highly innovative and market proven.  Such is the demand for this technology, Varadis now plans to market the RADFET sensors globally across a number of sectors. For example, when integrated into dosimetry devices, or radiation measurement devices, RADFETs can measure the amount of radiation that a tumour has absorbed in radiotherapy sessions, as well as having important implications in industrial power, space and in the earth’s core.

The development of RADFETs at Tyndall National Institute has been supported by Enterprise Ireland, European Space Agency and University College Cork’s Technology Transfer Office.  Varadis has also been supported by Tyndall’s Deep Dive entrepreneurship programme in partnership with Bank of Ireland. Through Deep Dive, entrepreneurs have access to funding, state-of-the-art facilities at Tyndall and expertise from the researchers involved in developing the core IP in the spin-out.  

“The technology spin out to Varadis is hugely significant to the commercialisation of Tyndall’s RADFET technology, and underscores the commitment of Tyndall and UCC to the commercialisation agenda,” said UCC director of Technology Transfer Rich Ferrie.

“I wish Brad and the team every success as they drive this exciting business forward internationally.”

Written by John Kennedy

Published: 9 July 2019

Pictured above: William Scanlon from Tyndall Institute with Brad Wrigley from Varadis. Image: Clare Keogh