Thanks to its innovative technology based on the emission of a laser beam coupled with artificial intelligence software, the start-up iUMTEK promises to analyze all types of materials in depth. After six years of existence, it is preparing to offer a new real-time measurement tool, integrated into production lines.
Nestled on the Saclay plateau, the iUMTEK* start-up was created by Ronald Berger-Lefébure in partnership with the CEA Investissement in October 2017. In 2019, it was awarded the i-Lab by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research.
iUMTEK designs and manufactures technology-based measuring instruments LIBS (laser induced plasma spectroscopy). This is a real-time method which allows elemental analysis through the emission of a laser beam. It enters into physicochemical interaction with matter and creates a plasma. The resulting spectra have a multitude of emission lines. Entangled, even overlapped, the wavelengths are interpreted using the machine learning which reduces the level of uncertainty. With twenty-five years of experience in experimental implementation, the team knows which algorithm is best suited to the situation. The results obtained by the instrument make it possible to identify and quantify the desired molecules. This technology analyzes all types of materials, that is to say the 118 atoms of Mendeleev’s painting without preparation and whatever its state (liquid, solid, gaseous). The start-up has already sold LIBS analyzers, called TX 1000, to research and development laboratories in France, but also in Israel and the United States.
Technology serving the circular economy
The dozen or so employees, which includes interns and doctoral students, are capable of carrying out on-line and off-line measurements where analyzes are carried out on samples. But by the end of the year, the start-up will be able to carry out measurements online, that is to say continuously within the production lines. The advantage? Obtain more representative data in real time. This technology can thus be embedded at the heart of industrial processes in order to optimize them, at each stage, in a circular economy approach. IUMTEK therefore wishes to address the fields of new nuclear power, electric vehicles through the detection of lithium in the battery manufacturing and recycling cycle, the green hydrogen sector or even copper recycling. These analyzes will help avoid wasting raw materials, carbon dioxide and energy downstream.
In the near future, the start-up will tackle the real-time detection of chemical elements in industrial discharges.