Delft’s VSParticle raises 14.5 million for scaling nanoparticle synthesizers

Paul van Gerven
Leestijd: 2 minuten

Investment fund Plural has put 14.5 million euros into VSParticle, the Delft-based company that’s working on technology to simplify the synthesis of nanoparticles. Using current methods, it can take months, if not years, to develop nanomaterials for catalysts or sensors, for example. With VSParticle’s technology, that process is greatly sped up, to hours in some cases.

Aaike van der Vugt, co-founder and CEO of VSParticle, says, “Scientists spend decades of their lives on discovering new materials, which means that it takes generations to unlock the innovation we need as a society. We’ve only been able to unlock about 1 percent to enable technological innovation so far, but with our technology, we’ll unlock the other 99 percent in the next two decades. From the climate crisis to preventative healthcare, the implications of accelerating materials development are huge.”

The first six VSP-P1 Nanoprinters were delivered last year. Credit: VSParticle

VSParticle started in 2014 based on years of research at Delft University of Technology. The technology is based on spark ablation: with an electrostatic discharge, small bits of an element are vaporized and carried along on an inert carrier gas. While flowing, these fragments gradually clump together to form particles of a few nanometers. The power of the sparks, the flow rate of the carrier gas and the distance covered determine the size to which the particles can grow. After synthesis, the particles can be ‘sprayed’ onto a substrate.

So far, VSParticle has focused mainly on the R&D market; last year the first series of tools were delivered (link in Dutch). With Plural’s investment, in which existing investor Blueyard Capital is also participating and which is supplemented by a previous 3.5-million-euro grant from investment program Nxtgen Hightech, is earmarked for scaling up production and expanding the operational and commercial staff. The company is also working on advancing its nanoparticle generators to production scale.

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