Hybrid Instruments Ltd

Power station

The Organisation

Hybrid Instruments Ltd. was formed in 2003 as a Lancaster University spin-out. The company  specialises in the design and development of  high speed embedded systems for real-time digital acquisition and analysis of signals arising from radiation detectors. Since formation they have designed, manufactured and supplied nuclear instruments of this type to various public and private sector organisations across the world.


Why they formed

The  business was founded on technology developed at Lancaster and the company has maintained a close relationship with researchers in the Engineering Department  over the last twelve years. During this time undergraduate and postgraduate students have worked on company projects in addition to graduates who have entered employment with the company. This relationship ensures that the company is ahead of its competition in innovation.

Expertise Offered

  • Design and development of fast digital systems for real-time digital acquisition and analysis of signals arising from radiation detectors
  • A good understanding and close working knowledge of a variety of applications in the field of nuclear science including safeguards, security and decommissioning

Collaboration with Lancaster University

Hybrid Instruments has supported several proposals by the University for research funding and studentships and collaborated in their delivery.  Most recently the company and Lancaster University have entered a collaboration agreement for a project to develop a prototype device to measure the radioactive material tritium.

The project, entitled TRIBECA (Tritium detection By ElectroChemically Assisted radiometrics), is a 12-month Feasibility Study to explore if a technology developed during the PhD studies of Ghebrehiwot Behane (formerly of the Lloyds’ Register Foundation International Joint Research Centre for the Safety of Nuclear Energy in Lancaster’s Engineering Department) , can be turned into a prototype instrument.  Using recent advances in nanomaterials fabrication and radiometrics the instrument will detect and measure water-borne tritium with exceptional sensitivity for potential applications in nuclear decommissioning.

To facilitate the knowledge transfer necessary, Ghebrehiwot is now employed by the company.

The project is co-funded by Hybrid Instruments and a funding award of £123,313 from ‌Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. The award was made as part of Innovate UK’s Collaborative R&D Programme – Developing the civil nuclear supply chain. The University will receive funding of £43,786.

Specialist measurement facilities will be provided in Lancaster Environment Centre and the National Physical Laboratory, NPL, will be sub-contracted to assess the validity of resulting measurements.

Company Comment

"We believe the technology researched by Ghebrehiwot has market potential and were happy to support his PhD studies. We are very pleased that the award by Innovate UK gives us the opportunity to take the development to the next stage.” Frank Cave, Commercial Director, Hybrid Instruments Ltd.

Researcher Comment

“This project presents a unique opportunity to blend state of the art nanomaterials synthesis with cutting-edge radiometrics in service to tritium detection. We are excited by the partnership with Hybrid, the research itself, and the prospect for making real impact in addressing a long-standing problem in nuclear analytical science.” Prof Colin Boxall, Director, Lloyds’ Register Foundation International Joint Research Centre for the Safety of Nuclear Energy, Lancaster University.