Hilger Crystals manufactures a range of synthetic crystals for
- Infrared spectroscopy
- X ray detection and X-ray imaging
A variety of applications such as FTIR and X-ray security imaging are covered by an extensive range of crystal materials.
The Hilger Story... so far !!!!
Hilger were founded in 1874 by two German precision optical instrument technicians Adam and Otto Hilger. They fled Germany a few years previous to escape religious persecution and en route to England worked for a short time for the French physicist Foucalt whose work on the precessing motion of a pendulum gave an insight into the fundamental understanding of the earth's rotation.
Manufacturing was set up in London with a few employees who specialised in the manufacture of precision optical and mechanical instruments. The company prospered and grew and by 1902 had moved to larger premises in London. In that year Frank Twyman was appointed as General Manager and was renowned for his work with Green on the Twyman Green interferometer.
The next 10 years were spent developing methods for spectrochemical analysis using a variety of techniques including infrared spectroscopy. It was also at this time that a requirement arose for high quality synthetic crystals and naturally occurring crystals which had previously been used did not keep pace with the increasing demands on optical components for infrared spectroscopy. These were so critical to the operation of the instrument that Hilger set up growing and processing synthetic crystals in house. Hence the birth of crystal growth at Hilger. Hilger also developed international links to exploit commercial and technical synergies and one such link was with Jarrell Ash in the United States... a link which is still in existence today.
The post war developments included Raman, electron spin and nuclear magnetic spectroscopy. Hilger had earned a reputation as one of the foremost optical and precision instrument manufacturers in the world and in 1948 Hilger amalgamated with the well-known metrology instrument manufacturer E R Watts and the company became known as Hilger & Watts
In the 1950's Hilger & Watts developed emission and atomic absorption spectroscopy. This was also the time of the nuclear era and Hilger were awarded the contract to develop X-ray detection crystals such as scintillators for the British Government. This resulted in another range of materials to compliment the already strong infrared materials.
By 1968 the company had grown and occupied 4 sites in or around London. In order to centralise the business at one location the company moved to Margate in Kent. As the company was now specialising in emission spectroscopy and crystals the name changed to Hilger Analytical.
In the mid 1970's medical imaging techniques were advancing due to improved data manipulation and developments took place to optimise X-ray scintillation crystals for this application. Hilger supplied the Sodium Iodide crystals to EMI who produced the first commercial body scanner. Subsequently new materials were developed to meet the ever increasing demands of instrument manufacturers.
During the 1970's and 1980's the company continued to develop its range of infrared and scintillation materials and continuous improvements in crystal quality were introduced. In 1993 the company became reacquainted with an old friend. Jarrell Ash who are part of the Thermo Electron group of companies. Hilger Analytical became part of Thermo Electron in that year.
In order to strengthen the Crystal Materials Group of Hilger Analytical it was decided to form Hilger Crystals Ltd. in 1997. This would allow us to better meet the requirements of crystal materials end users. Hilger Crystals became part of the Photonics Division of Spectra-Physics whose objectives were to meet the demands of a diverse range of OEM and end user applications in the photonics industry. In July 2004 Thermo Electron sold Spectra Physics to Newport Corporation who are based in the US. In order to strengthen and reinforce the Hilger brand the product line was re branded back to Hilger Crystals.. a name that is 130 years old!!
In July 2010 Hilger was acquired by the US corporation Dynasil who are a rapidly growing manufacturer of specialized instruments and products for a broad range of applications and markets in the medical, industrial and homeland security / defense sectors.
As Hilger Crystals enter their 137th year we hope that we can continue to serve the crystal market as we have in the past.
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