Measure of success

February 11, 2000

A tiny measuring device developed by researchers at St Andrews University has won an international award for commercial excellence.

Timewarp, a device invented by Derryck Reid and Wilson Sibbett of the university's school of physics and astronomy, has won the laser focus commercial technology award, judged by a panel of industry experts.

The palm-sized device, which can measure extremely short pulses of light, has applications in chemistry, semiconductor science and telecommunications, where scientists routinely use optical pulses with durations approaching one millionth of a billionth of a second.

Timewarp, manufactured under licence by the British firm Elliot Scientific Limited, replaces conventional measurement instruments that need a high-

voltage power supply and fragile components. The St Andrews team said the device is easier to align, cheaper to produce and takes up a fraction of the space of previous instruments.

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