PRAGUE—Sometimescompanies seek out innovative small companies with interesting technologies foracquisitions and sometimes these companies simply go bankrupt and thetechnology is there for the taking. For Tokyo-based Rigaku Corp., the latterproved true, as a small, un-named Czech company and former competitor wentbelly up in the past year which gave Rigaku the opportunity to scoop up thetechnology, the scientists and in the process open a European office.
What wasn't unnamed are the people leading the charge forthe new operation. The new division includes three of the leading researchersin the field of advanced X-ray optics in the Czech Republic, Dr. Ladislav Pína, Dr.René Hudec, and Dr. Adolf Inneman, as well as a staff of their long-timeassociates. Pína and Dr. John McGill—who is also president and COO of RigakuInnovative Technologies Inc. in Auburn Hills, Mich.—havebeen named co-managing directors of the new operation, named Rigaku InnovativeTechnologies Europe (RITE).
"What we now have is a third leg for the research tool withoperations on three continents," says McGill. "It's something that has been ofinterest for some time and having Dr. Pína and his team was the perfectopportunity to do this."
Of special interest to Rigaku is work that Pína and hiscolleagues have been conducting with various innovative X-Ray opticalcomponents—complex curved substrates that McGill refers to as three-dimensionaloptics. It also has the technology for small-angle X-ray scattering cameras,technology that Rigaku has used in the past for its products.
"One of our strengths is the manufacturing of multi-layerX-Ray optics," says McGill. "We have slowly approached the theoretical level ofperformance and we have been looking for the next step in optics and how do wetake it beyond what we are doing. Their work should allow us to do that."
In addition to the resources the researchers at RITE canexpect from its new parent company, the team expects it will be very activeworking with Czech and European researchers to add even more value to theEuropean office.
"We intend to continue the plethora of R&D andscientific collaborations—in the field of X-rays physics—that have been thehallmark of our group while developing an integrated commercial component ofthe business that contributes back to society while returning value to theparent company," says Pína in a press release announcing the formation of RITE.
Many of the 14 employees at RITE have direct ties to academicinstitutions in the immediate area, including the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, which should help pavethe way for future collaborations.
From McGill's standpoint there is an other compelling reasonto be in Prague. "The team there iswell-known and respected and have established ties with other researchers inthe area. There is good reason for us to continue the development of thesubstrates in Prague based on theseties and the fact that it will be less expensive to develop the technology atRITE than it would in either Japanor the United States."