Top 20 Innovators in BC, Redlen Technologies

Top 20 Innovators in BC, Redlen Technologies

Congratulations to the Redlen Technologies, #8 in 2011's Most Innovative Companies in B.C.

(More: 2011 BCBusiness Guide to Innovation)

Some B.C. companies are working on products so advanced they’re difficult to understand until they’re put to use. That’s why when the Canadian military used 25 hand-held devices for sniffing out radioactive threats during the 2010 Olympics, a lot of people suddenly took notice of the local manufacturer: Redlen Technologies, based just outside Victoria. 

Redlen was founded around a unique process for creating a rare material called cadmium zinc telluride (CZT), a crystalline substance that Redlen grows inside banks of furnaces over 40 days at 800 degrees Celsius. It’s truly cutting-edge stuff; as one of our panellists points out, “there’s only a couple developers for that material on the planet.”

What makes this amalgam so useful is that when it encounters radiation, it releases electrons, which can be measured by electronics. This makes CZT ideal for security devices that can detect weapons containing nuclear material. It’s also a highly sought-after component in medical imaging equipment, notably in nuclear cardiology and CT scanning. In recent years, the company has hit on a third market, producing a material used in solar panels made with cadmium and tellurium.

The company was founded in 1999, employs about 50 people and brings in annual revenues of roughly $10 million. In early 2010, it moved into a larger facility to keep up with demand, going from 50 furnaces to 300.