Then and Now… With Lukas Maerk
Lukas Maerk, CEO, reflects on how far IONICON has come over the past decade
sponsored by IONICON
Think back to 2013… What were your main aims and ambitions for the company?
The cornerstone for our success today was set back in 2013 with an R&D breakthrough: we introduced the first PTR-TOF instrument – which we developed and built entirely by ourselves. This allowed for perfect component matching, flexibility in the design, and a lower price tag for our customers. It was robust, user friendly, and powerful. But 2013 was only the starting point for many new technologies and PTRTOF products...
What has been your company’s most significant innovation over the past 10 years?
Before our company was founded in 1998, chemical analysis was done offline, required laborious sample preparation, and took hours. We disrupted this process completely. PTR-MS trace gas analyzers sample the air in real time, do not require sample preparation, and provide immediate quantitative results. Introducing the new PTR-TOF series in 2013, we made this technology available for many cost-sensitive routine applications, reducing the complexity of earlier products and increasing sample throughput significantly.
How has your company made a difference over the past 10 years?
Our PTR-TOF instruments have been part of some groundbreaking discoveries, and thinking about what our customers have achieved in these years is genuinely humbling. For example, our instruments were used in the CERN CLOUD chamber studies, which have changed how we understand the world’s climate. Our mobile and robust trace VOC analyzers have contributed to monitoring the melting permafrost VOCs in the tundra, and, as airborne analyzers, tracking oil and natural gas production emissions in the US aboard NASA’s flying laboratories. Decision makers across the globe rely on IONICON PTR-TOF data gathered from urban air quality network installations. Our analyzers cover many locations, from the greater Shenzhen area, where a dozen PTR-TOF 1000 instruments are monitoring the air 24/7, to one of our most advanced CHARON PTR-TOF 10k analyzers, which is on a discovery mission in the New Delhi smog.
Turning to the semiconductor industry, our systems are used to monitor production processes, cleanrooms, and wafer transport containers (FOUP), contributing to chips that are readying the world for the decades to come.
Our 10th anniversary coincides with your 25th…
Indeed! While we are glad to be part of your story, we are very proud of our successful and sustained growth through all these years. Like you, we have ambitious plans for the future; but most importantly, I want to thank our customers and (our now more than 50) employees, who make my world brighter each day.