Any object with a temperature above absolute zero emits infrared radiation, an electromagnetic radiation like visible light, but with longer wavelengths. The longer wavelengths make infrared invisible to the naked eye, but with the proper technology, it can be viewed to identify otherwise undetectable physical properties of objects. Infrared sensors are used for night vision, thermography, hyperspectral imaging and tracking, among other applications. SK Infrared in Columbus, Ohio, is engineering innovative infrared detection devices capable of detecting everything from military threats to early-stage skin cancer.
“Infrared allows you to see in the dark, see through clouds, see things you can’t normally see—and is a tremendously valuable technology across a broad range of markets,” said Earl Fuller, CEO of SK Infrared. “The military is always looking for good infrared technology for missile tracking, aerial surveillance through cloud cover, a long list of things. We develop for the military a lot, but our sensors are proven to be effective at detecting skin cancer too. We develop specialized technology for specialized applications. We’re trying to bring those to market.”
SK Infrared is contracted on a project-by-project basis to build detectors for specific applications. Their technology uses complex, compound semiconductors, to detect the presence of infrared radiation. Their patented Advanced Longwave infrared-imaging and Analysis System, or ALIAS, has the potential to detect skin cancer under the skin before it even materializes.
SK Infrared was founded in 2010 by Sanjay Krishna and his wife, Sanchita Krishna. Sanjay serves as the Chief Technology Officer and Sanchita, a cancer researcher, is Chief Science Officer. The pair founded the company at a technology incubator at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, but were drawn to Ohio, specifically Columbus and The Ohio State University, by the entrepreneurial resources available to technology startups in the state.
“Sanjay developed a reputation at the Center for High Technology Materials at UNM. The Director of the Institute for Materials Research really recruited him because of that, and convinced Sanjay and Sanchita of the tremendous possibilities at Ohio State. We carefully considered the entrepreneurial community in Ohio and, through conversations with JobsOhio and Columbus 2020, it became a no-brainer. This is the best place for us.”
The company established its offices at Rev1 Ventures, a central Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier. They were drawn by its proximity to the university, labs and other research institutions. With support from JobsOhio, SK Infrared hopes to grow its team substantially over the next two years.
“We don’t need a huge team, but we need a skilled team. That’s an advantage in Ohio; we have access to great talent from the universities in this region, as well as some of the best healthcare in the world. We wouldn’t have made this move without being convinced by some of the players in the research and entrepreneurial community. I’m really glad we did. Our future looks bright.”