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The people behind the particles

It takes more than a good idea to make something truly remarkable, and a product can’t be a company’s only asset; the people are equally, if not more, valuable. At Particle Works, we remain committed to the belief that our true value lies with the people behind the particles, who make it all possible.

The Particle Works story began with a simple observation. Imagine walking into a kitchen appliance store and asking for a loaf of bread. No doubt the sales person would look at you with a bemused expression and helpfully suggest trying the supermarket across the road. The Blacktrace Group found itself in a similarly unusual position four years ago, albeit without the ovens and bread. We were increasingly approached by scientists who wanted to buy monodisperse particles, rather than purchasing our equipment to make their own.

We had always considered ourselves as a company that made instruments, but we soon realized there was an opportunity to move from simply being an equipment manufacturer to becoming a particle and materials supplier as well. The industry seemed resistant to adapting traditional manufacturing methods to produce these highly monodisperse particles, and there was clearly a demand that wasn’t being met. Pavel Abdulkin, now head of Particle Works, approached me in October 2014 and asked to start a particle engineering company using our equipment. His idea aligned with our own aims and Particle Works was born, bringing together the expertise of materials scientists, chemists and engineers to produce small quantities of high quality, monodisperse particles, such as gold nanoparticles, perovskite crystals and quantum dots.

Making high quality particles is difficult, so we set out to hire the very best people we could find; people who were not only knowledgeable, but passionate about continuous flow and droplet microfluidics.  The entire Particle Works R&D department is – quite by accident – made up of University of Cambridge PhD graduates who have been working with nano- and microparticles and droplet microfluidics throughout their careers, each bringing over five years of relevant experience to the table. Their passion and enthusiasm made Particle Works an obvious home for them to continue building on their already considerable understanding. This knowledge base, combined with our quality assurance processes, ensures that our customers can be confident of batch-to-batch consistency, as well as knowing that the people behind the particles are not simply doing a job, but are excited about the science they are pursuing.

Many scientists are expected to do incredible work with poor quality materials. Particle Works aims to make superior products available, developed in-house with our own Syrris and Dolomite equipment. These instruments are continually undergoing development, as we are using them daily to make our particles and can observe how they perform under lots of testing. Having control of the whole production process, including the manufacturing equipment, allows us to keep improving our offering, and that is worth more than its weight in monodispersed gold nanoparticles.