A Previous Incarnation

Application for Knowledge Transfer Officer for detectors and related technologies

IPT-KT-IP-2016-28-LD at CERN

The answer was NO….

Do you have any experience managing innovation in industry, involving technology partnerships (technology licensing, collaborative R&D and / or open innovation)?

I helped manage, at board level and in the lab, the technology in Powerlase. This involved overseeing putative technology road-maps. The basic lesson is that however long you think it will take, it will take longer. There is a shortage of highly skilled people to work entrepreneurially. One of the major barriers is always communication between mind-sets. No matter what ideals you have there is no way around the physics. The experience of EUV for lithography, as a whole, is an example in case, people did the engineering without understanding the physics. Budgets were over spent. One has to be grounded. In partnerships there are always mixed agendas and these need to be discussed not avoided. There is no point in burying your head in the sand.   

Do you have experience in management of intellectual property?

I have two US patents of my own. For Powerlase ltd. I was effectively the pipe-cleaner. This involved meeting with various patent attorney firms and selecting one, then learning the ins and outs of the various stages of priority date, filing and examination. I learned that one has to translate academic stuff into claims and to be very thorough in one’s research, because patents are expensive. In the case of patents clarity is very important. Having gone through this process I then advised on the other patents as they were prepared for filing. A major part of the success of the start-up funding was a strong patent portfolio. IP was deemed to be very important. As the company grew we had various patent review meetings to decide strategy. I was a major part of these reviews. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) used us as a case study of good patent practice. One has to think very strategically when resource is limited. In fact, patents leave a trail of the difficulties encountered. If one looks at the patents of a company one can see where they are struggling and what problems they encounter in their technology road-map, it tells a story for one “skilled in the art”.

Since that time, I have looked into working for a number of companies and as part of my research I have reviewed their patent portfolios. It is something I enjoy. I can scan very many patents quickly to get an over view and then drill down into the detail.

Please give an example of your experience engaging industrial partners, technology commercialisation and contract negotiation.

Whilst at Imperial I engaged with Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL) in order to ascertain if the reflectance difference spectrometer which we were developing would be suitable for online monitoring the plasma etch back of gate oxide on silicon. The technique works well for single crystal Si substrates but may not work with polycrystalline Si. This involved talking with TEL in Japan via conference calls and then arranging a visit. This involved flying out to Japan and being hosted at the company country club, having an onsen with people I had only just met and several formal dinners. I had to then present and pitch to around 20-30 TEL employees including senior vice presidents. I was questioned thoroughly. In Japan how you interact with the seniors is very important and I seemed to get on well. There are several unwritten “tests” which you have to pass. 

We then negotiated a £270k contract (all cash) which was to build and deliver a bespoke version of the spectrometer whilst doing tests on oxides of varying thickness in the labs. The negotiation was a little complex in that deliverables are not easily defined for a new project. In the end it was fairly open.  We had to do regular progress reports both written and by conference call. At the end of the contract we shipped a trial device to Yamanashi and I installed and tested it live….

During this process I overcame the language barrier and the difference in expectations between process engineers and scientists. It was a steep learning curve. In this case they did not take up a licence for the technology because it did not really fit their needs.     

Please give brief examples of experience in business development, start-up companies or project management.

I have co-founded start-up company Powlerase Ltd. I have personal experience of the trials and tribulations. I could, without doubt, support the set-up of new CERN start-ups. The technology behind Powerlase was based upon high power diode pumped solid state lasers and laser produced plasma(LPP)extreme ultraviolet(EUV) light sources. Myself and two others founded the company. I was, perhaps, the lead. To do this we wrote and filed patents under the auspices of Imperial Innovations. I designed and built a LPP-EUV source and we readied a prototype laser for demonstration purpose. We did this on the back of a £1.6 million Joint Infrastructure grant. We incorporated a company. I then did extensive market research and prepared a business plan. We engaged a financial house to help us in the fund raising. I wrote the business plan with some help from an accountant at the financial house (Gordon House Asset Management). After several drafts the business plan was ready. We practiced pitching with the financial company. In one day we then pitched to six venture capital groups. We hit five out of six and were told by the others to come back when we needed a much larger tranche of funds. After this there was a period of due diligence and investors visited the labs. We engaged a CEO and the £5 million funds were released. I was responsible for handling the finances in the early days. As a part of this process we had a very large foundation agreement document drawn up by a top flight city firm. In retrospect this was a waste of money.

We then initially rented offices near Imperial with view to moving off campus fast. The CEO took over operational responsibility and we rented space in Crawley. We looked to relationship build with Canon, Nikon and Gigaphoton in Japan, in which I acted as the expert. I then acted as non-executive director. I designed a second generation light source in collaboration with BOC Edwards and this was joint funded. The CEO wanted to do things his way and I effectively took a back seat. In time the company grew to a turnover of ~£9 million with > 50 employees. It went into liquidation in the downturn and was reborn as Powerlase Photonics.

Briefly describe your experience with detectors or related technologies.

I have over 20 years’ experience of using detectors. These range from photomultipliers using boxcar or digital storage oscilloscope detection, through to those configured for single photon counting using on board or off board discriminators. I have used infrared detectors (usually cooled), photodiodes and ion detectors in very high sensitivity time of flight mass spectrometers. I have used photodiode array broad spectrum detectors and CCDs. I have used micro channel plate detectors for very high temporal resolution. I have used microphones in photoacoustic spectroscopy.  I have used multiple laser beam experiments in heterodyne detection and lock in amplifiers. I have used EUV detectors to quantify in band (though multilayer stack filter) EUV output. One has to know the spectral sensitivity, temporal response and noise characteristics (and their thermal variation) of whichever detector one uses. All measurements need to be corrected for detector response. There is sometimes a compromise between the detector you want and the one you can afford.

Because of my background in semiconductor growth I understand how solid state detectors are made and what their failure modes might be. I am confident that I can “get my head around” any detector.  I am also confident that I can present these effectively to others both technically skilled and those less so.

What is your motivation for applying for this job.

I am looking for a change. When I saw the job advertisement I thought that sounds interesting and it is something that I could definitely do. I enjoy getting things off the ground and setting them in motion. I am very novelty focussed in many ways. I enjoy thinking strategically and am very much a self-starter. I can do strategy and business plans. I am good with budgets. I am sure that I can stimulate entrepreneurial thinking in CERN staff and have sufficient academic gravitas to communicate with them effectively

I am very good at organisation having organised multiple residential events from venue selection, through programme and down to menu. I have had a pastoral care role, this required confidentiality. Part of my consultancy is about team working and self-development. I am happy to help others develop and evolve.

I enjoyed Switzerland when I was at Bern.

The position has many things which appeal very strongly to me. I am confident that I can do it and would enjoy it.

60 in a Billion

The probability of getting 24 Fu four consecutive times in an I Ching consultation is something like 60 parts per billion, which is not very likely.

Last night I was having a conversation about high technology start-ups and venture capital with a friend over skype. This morning I did the I Ching. This afternoon we went to the seaside and this evening we decanted some apple and cranberry home brew wine for our “nut store”. We shall bottle the apricot and the apple during the week to come. I have started doing some chanting on and off, a return. I have been writing about returning to the source like Neo, in some sense.

As per usual the inscrutable I Ching provides much food for thought. 

The sense of Fu is pivot / fulcrum about which the trajectory of a life changes.

I get my cancer clearance arse-camera later this year, I may get my metallic pin removed from my hip. None of these things can be rushed.

The I Ching is being fairly insistent that things are starting to change…

How and in what way remains to be seen, it is a bit of a mystery….

Quantum Optics Patent Fee Paid

Partly spurred on by yesterday’s “door” dream I have just been online at the Intellectual Property Office to request a substantive examination of my patent application and pay the £160 fee.

It might seem a little strange as juxtaposition to some of the other content on this blog.

It is a bit like buying a lottery ticket.

I can’t withdraw my request, so I just have to sit back and see what happens. It will make me smile if it gets granted. Some old geezer writing quantum optics patents in his shed in Brittany gets a patent granted at the UK patent office.

We have an attic which I could turn into a laser lab.

Yesterday afternoon was DIY mania, I am a bit of a flat pack diva. We were able to pick up our IKEA order at a local supermarket. There is just a tiny bit of flooring to do and the kitchen is finished bar some glossing.

Next step is taking off the door in the hall and removing 6mm off the bottom. Then it is back to flooring frenzy.

So, fingers crossed, let’s see what the dudes at Newport think…

Powerlase Dream 3-3-21

This is not one dream but a series because I awoke between segments and went back to sleep with the intent of re-joining the dream. Powerlase is a laser company I co-founded over 20 years ago and I have had nothing to do with it for well over a decade, nearly two.


I am in a crowded office with various people from Imperial whom I once used to know. It is absolutely clear to me that there is a vast misunderstanding about why I left Powerlase and that all sorts of rumours are at hand. I explain that a major part of why I left was a personality clash with the CEO and the apparent greed of one of the VCs. This seems to be news to them.

I am walking outside the Powerlase site on some grass and mulling over the earlier segment of the dream. I see a metal pipe, about two inches in diameter protruding out of the grass. The pipe has a bend at the top. The pipe is painted a dark green colour. I touch the pipe with my hand and there is a truly massive electrical discharge between my hand and the pipe. This discharge is accompanied by a brilliant flash and very a loud bang. There is no damage either to my hand or the pipe. In the dream I know that electricity is the dreaming symbol for the nagal, the spirit and that lightning is universal intent.

I arrive at the Powerlase car park in my sports car which looks a bit like a Morgan. I get out and go into the building. I see a secretary there and go towards her. As I do this one of the senior staff is leaving their office. They see me and back off back into the office. I explain to the secretary that no one needs to see me or doing anything because my visit is un-announced. She says that I can email her to arrange a meeting. She is going to get me her card. I notice that she has a piece of toilet paper up each nostril. These are flecked with blood. She says that this is a lasting symptom of COVID-19 which she has had. I talk with her about introversion. As we are doing this various employees come in. Each of them looks at me then looks away so as to avoid my gaze. She shows me to the door.

I am now on my way to my car and see the secretary again. I give her a friendly wave, which she returns. She is on her way back from, the doctors, she has even more symptoms of long COVID-19. I sit in my car which is open topped.  Someone from the company comes out and drops a pair of laser safety goggles in the passenger seat. He says that I forgot them. I explain that I did not go near any lasers and the goggles are the company’s. I do not need them. He retrieves the goggles. Now a small crowd of employees has gathered, and they are looking in the boot of my car. I drive off.

Dream ends.

We are Detective

Somebody’s watching me
And now I’m nervous, and I shouldn’t be
Somebody’s got their eye on me
Perhaps I should invite him up for tea?

We saw him smoking by the newspaper stand
There’s something odd about his gloved left hand
Saw him again inside the old cafe
He makes us tense; we wish he’d go away

Thompson Twins

As you may have guessed it has been raining here, hence I have been reading and following up a thread. One to do with the shaman dream (healing) and another one to do with the Fourth Ray master Serapis. This fourth ray energy is perhaps active at the moment, Harmony through Conflict. There needs to be healing because disharmony is the cause of all disease. The lodge theme refers back to a dream I had early 2007 when I was “told” that I had to find the Great White Lodge.

If you are interested here are wiki links to Francis Bacon and Roger Bacon. History is always written after the effect and as you can see lots has been written about these dudes. I am not being disrespectful here.

Having waded through all the blue books and done a lot of investigation I have come to the working hypothesis that my personality is seventh ray (Ceremonial Order or Synthesis) and the causal vehicle is of the second ray Love-Wisdom kind. My Monad is first ray, Will to Power. Following the trails as it were, I would most likely be affiliated therefore to the second ray Ashrams in the centre of the diagram previous. The second ray is the teaching ray par excellence.

As you can see if the Tibetan is accurate there is an entire other story aback history.

People can be so utterly convinced that they are in possessions of all the facts, that they know best. Because of this there is plenty they do no see or take into consideration.

Here is a pet theory. There once was a plan for me. It was all nicely set up. I would do the start-up make loads of money and then use that money to build an esoteric school or ashram. That failed because of greed, and interpersonal relationships and so the plan was changed. I have been living in isolated places now for 14 years. In 2018 the same impulse to form a start-up came and I approached various people locally in the UK. Suffice it to say that didn’t work, due to attitude. The guys in Berlin were very keen for me to go there. The people here were nice and helpful, so we came here. And then I went and bust my hip.

Here is a thought experiment.

Imagine if you will that I might be an initiate of high degree.

What would the karmic implications be for individuals who treat me poorly?  

What would the karmic implications be for a nation that did that?

I know that because of the second ray core, that should I attempt healing that the magnetic way is most likely the way of operation. I also know that I have made myself sick in the past doing this. I suck up other people’s negative thoughts and emotions when they are directed at me, a kind of psychic blotting paper. So, I am a bit hesitant about the healing thingy.

From time to time my brothers ask me if I still want to the ashram thing. That ashram will of need be in an area of low population density, the western edges. I looked into buying the lease of somewhere in Snowdonia, but it was too complex. I met a man who sold a chunk of Snowdonia to the National Trust. There is an outside chance he was a relative of mine. We discussed it here.

This morning as I was going to the letter box, I saw a fox on the lawn. It was only fifteen metres away from me. It ran off down to the river. It tried to assess if jumping in was good. The river is high, so no. It then ran around the pond and vanished through a hole in the fence.

I am still not sure what to attempt with the year.

Time to start on that lamb stew with bulgur wheat dumplings….

The Shaman’s Breakdown

I’ll preface by saying, if family legend is correct, I am a direct descendant of a gwrach or witch. And one from deepest darkest Snowdonia to boot. Sometimes “the gift” skips generations and resurfaces in the most unlikely of beings, maybe even a chemical physics dude and laser jock. 😉

Around 1995 I had a major depressive episode with inherent suicidal ideation. Initially I was on the green and whites. Later when these did not work the consultant psychiatrist put me on monoamine oxidase inhibitors and tricyclics.

There was major risk because of potential dietary interaction. The doctor felt able to take that risk because I was a practising vegan at the time. I even flew to Japan whilst on the latter combination and only had a mild hypertensive episode once at a business dinner in a fancy restaurant. This kind of treatment is usually for inpatients.

It was pretty clear to me that something had to change and change fast.  So, I began to look at alternate ways of living and ways of viewing the world. It is common knowledge amongst the shamanic community that many shamans have to have a kick up the butt in order to start practising. This is either a breakdown, a vision or a major life-threatening illness.

My first encounter with the word shaman was in the books of Carlos Castaneda. However, I had met two wise men before. These were our gardener and our houseboy when we lived in Zambia.  The houseboy was 53 and the gardener, Tembo (elephant) was in his seventies. They let me (10-13) sit with them sometimes, even when others came to ask their advice. They had a divination game involving throwing some stones over a grid of shallow holes dug in the ground. I was OK, my sister not.

During my illness a copy of the I Ching fell off a bookshelf in a bookshop in Tring and landed right at my feet. Ok, I am meant to look at I Ching. I found a course on Native American Indian Shamanism and began. As a part of this we did Runic Shamanism and Remote Viewing. I carved an entire set of runes from slate and wore each one, in turn, as a necklace. I got better.

One could argue it was the meds or it could be that I was at last looking into something I was “meant” to.

Here in Brittany, you can find shamans, clairvoyants and tarot readers in the yellow pages. They even had a thing in the local newspaper when someone opened up a cartomancy or Tarot business in the local town! It is a bit odd, to my eyes, for a catholic country. In the local town there is one shop which sells catholic icons and crosses as well as books on shamanism, Angels, and divining pendants. As usual there are contradictions.

So why am I being pointed again at Shamanism?

I’ll ask the I Ching.

There could be a business opportunity…

A Day of Contrasts

Not long done my sous chef thing for dinner. I had to open a new 400g bag of garam masala from my secret spice stash. yummy smell.  Some things easily available in the UK are harder to find here but thanks to a 100 euro order on amazon I managed to replenish my spice stash a while back. I have kilner jar after kilner jar of the stuff.  In an hour or so I will rattle up a jalfrezi.

We heard that our wood burner is due for delivery next week so it has been all hands to the pump to get the wall ready. I have been filling it and today hand sanding it. I looked a little like a ghost albeit with sweat trickles. It is hard manual labour and then I looked up this on the internet:

My patent application just got published…a day of contrasts..

From the deep pungent brown garam masala to the ghostly white sandings off the wall. I kept imaging aboriginal body paint and didgeridoos whilst I was sanding. I can almost hear them now.

So let us add another contrast:

One can see that the flow is actually a series of discrete events….blending into each other, each a snapshot of the fleeting yet eternal now.


Something Irreversible

In a few days’ time something irreversible, irrevocable, will happen. My patent application will get published and my home address here in France will be linked with that patent application. It will end up on Google patents and in all the patent databases around the world…hell it might even get translated into Chinese.

It is kind of strange, at the very beginning of the pandemic I downloaded the patent application for remdesivir and briefly considered buying some shares in the company which makes it. It seemed to me that an antiviral agent would sooner or later be shown to be part of the treatment. It is a very broad application and whoever put it together did a good job of covering all bases.

I have the odd feeling of jungle drums sounding today, in London. I must stop eating those magic mushrooms…

There is nothing I can do now…whatever is going to happen {if anything} is in play.

Then the next decision is do I bung another 150 quid at it or not. To write a decent application a good firm of attorneys will charge something like five grand.  I did it myself, sat here at this desk on my vintage windows 7 machine, which I bought from an IT refurbishment outfit for 150 quid donkey’s years ago.


Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours, to see