26 Oct Global pioneers in nanotechnology
Supplying the international market with ground-breaking products and technologies in areas ranging from counterfeit protection and nanostructured optics to 3D printing and medical applications, IQS Group has created billions of finished products and currently has 24 patents under application. Committed to innovation, the Czech company has made a truly global impact.
Made up of five companies with a technology background that are each dedicated to a different sector, the main focus is creating smart nano and microstructures that give materials different qualities and properties.
“The most typical example is that we take a piece of plastic, we put a very tiny nanostructure on top of it, let’s say a few microns but with precision in nanometers, and it can create beautiful pictures on banknotes or passports visas that we call holograms,” explains Martin Jotov, CFO of IQS Group. “Because they are so tiny and complex, they are very difficult, or sometimes even impossible, to counterfeit or indefinitely copy.”
Employing sophistically designed nanostructures to enhance materials and products with remarkable new functions and features, IQS Group’s nanoworld architecture has unlocked innovative functionalities that were previously unimaginable.
Perhaps one of its most important innovations was the creation of a 3D nano printer that has the ability to create a material that is as hard as iron yet 1,000 times lighter. “When the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculated if this material was used to build a Boeing plane, they found it would weigh just 20 kilograms,” says Jotov. “If you had a plane that weighed almost nothing it would transform the aircraft industry. This is the potential of disruptive innovation. Furthermore, this hard material can be coated by some oxides to make it resistant to heat. Other applications would be in biotechnologies where we can, again, use very simple materials, like special types of plastic to build scaffolds for cell growth.
“That way, it may be possible to one day build new livers, a heart or other organs. And because your own stem cells would be used, it would counter the problem with normal implantations where foreign organs can produce a strong immune reaction.”
With more than 25 years of experience in nanoengineering and material science, IQS Group has been able to invest in cutting-edge research to push the boundaries of what is possible within this field. This drive to constantly innovate has allowed IQS Group to stay ahead of the competition, both in relation to rival companies and counterfeiters.
“A major part of all of our activities is always connected to development and we are always reinvesting in research and development,” reveals Jotov. “It helps that there are so many talented people in the Czech Republic. It is one of our advantages and we utilize it. At least a third of our people are scientists and we employ around 16 people with PhDs, who all have more than 20 years of experience in business. This is what makes us unique: we have a lot of scientists who understand business. We are always looking for what the world needs and we are looking ahead. One example was during the COVID-19 pandemic when we were able to develop, within six months, a plastic chip which was able to detect the virus just by using physical forces in the micro and nanoworld. Within six months we laid the ground for a completely new direction as we weren’t heavily involved in biochemistry at the time.
“We are interested in making things a hundred times more efficient and a hundred times cheaper. So to have a cheap test that can verify whether you have an illness, in your own home, is something we consider a positive revolution for the health care industry.”