'We're only getting started,' Calgary company says after big Tokyo nanotech win

'We're only getting started,' Calgary company says after big Tokyo nanotech win

Sarah Rieger · CBC News · Posted: Feb 19, 2020 6:00 AM MT | Last Updated: February 19

Calgary is home to headquarters for some of the world's top energy companies, but soon it might also be known for nanotech.

Calgary company Nanalysis won the award for "best new analytical product" at the Nanotech Exhibition and Conference in Japan, the company announced Tuesday.

"I think this is going to be a really exciting story for Calgary," said Matt Sellers, the company's investor relations manager. "It really is a testament to the hard work of local Calgarians and Canadians … there was a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get this complex device to market."

The annual exhibition attracts 50,000 attendees and is considered one of the most important technology exhibitions in the world.

Nanalysis was the only non-Japanese company to win an award at this year's event. 

It won for a portable nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. The devices have wide-ranging applications — from being used to detect illicit drugs in German mobile police labs to researching cancer treatments at the University of Alberta.

Matt Sellers of Nanalysis says big things are in store for the Calgary company after winning an award at a nanotech exhibition in Tokyo. (Submitted by Matt Sellers)

"It's almost like a radio. They can tune into the frequency which molecules are spinning at. They use magnetic fields, almost like you would see in science class with iron filings when we were kids," Sellers explained. 

"They can get all sorts of interesting information from it, which helps industries understand, for example, how to optimize feed stock into a refinery or how to tell if a chemical reaction is complete or what kind of impurities might be in X, Y, Z sample."

The company has a very Canadian origin story. Founder Sean Krakiwsky grew up in Calgary but left the city after being drafted by the LA Kings in the 1980s. After hanging up his skates, he came back to Calgary to study electrical engineering. 

Sellers said the company's team grew this year to around 60 employees.

"We do all our manufacturing here in Calgary, quite a rare thing these days," he said. "This is only getting started."

This article was originally published on CBC:https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/nanalysis-1.5468073