Research08.11.2018

NanoLockin takes home innovation prize


The Adolphe Merkle Institute spin-off NanoLockin has been awarded the 2018 canton Fribourg innovation prize in the start-up category. The company, launched earlier this year, has developed a detection system for nanoparticles in complex media.

NanoLockin’s measurement system stimulates nanoparticles to produce heat. The particles can then be detected, counted, and observed, by the system’s built-in infrared camera. The technology has a number of advantages, including no damage to the sample, ease of use, and at a lower cost compared to competing methods.

The AMI start-up was one of three finalists for the innovation prize. The CHF 30,000 given to the winner will be invested in product development according to CEO Christoph Geers. The goal is to sell the system to analytical laboratories as well as industrial clients for quality control.

In March this year, NanoLockin was awarded business coaching from Fri Up during its crucial launch phase, while Fribourg’s Seed Capital Foundation granted the company an interest-free loan of CHF 150,000. Geers was also awarded a BRIDGE proof-of-concept grant by Innosuisse and the Swiss National Science Foundation for further development. He received additional support via a grant from Sitem-Insel in Bern to pursue a MAS program in Translational Medicine and Entrepreneurship.

The NanoLockin project was developed by the Adolphe Merkle Institute’s BioNanomaterials group under the guidance of Prof. Alke Fink, with the support of the former head of the institute’s Technology Transfer, Dr. Marc Pauchard. Initial research was carried out by Dr. Christophe Monnier and Dr. Federica Crippa, in collaboration with Dr. Mathias Bonmarin of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. This research was financed by the National Centre of Competence in Research Bio-Inspired Materials, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Fribourg, the National Research Program 62, Innosuisse (formerly the Commission for Technology and Innovation), as well as the Adolphe Merkle Foundation. The company’s managing director is Dr. Christoph Geers.