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Estonian DeepTech GScan raises €3M to harness cosmic rays

Estonian DeepTech startup GScan has secured €3M in seed funding to advance its ray muon tomography technology, with backing from Bolt co-founder Markus Villig and Japanese corporate venture funds.

GScan, a DeepTech startup based in Tallinn and London, has raised €3 million in a new seed funding round to further develop its ray muon tomography technology. New investors in this round include Markus Villig, the founder of Bolt, as well as Japanese corporate venture funds. Additionally, the Estonian Business and Innovation Agency has awarded GScan a €2M grant to support its R&D initiatives with a focus on developing sensor elements, production technology, electronics, and algorithms.

Started in 2018 by a team of CERN physicists, engineers, and entrepreneur, GScan utilizes muon tomography, a method that images volumes in two or three dimensions by analysing the Coulomb scattering of cosmic ray muons. Essentially, GScan’s technology enables the visualization of the internal structures of concrete, steel, and composite objects, regardless of their size, by providing a form of X-ray vision.

From power plants to residential buildings, nothing is out of reach of GScan technology. In fact, in its first major commercial project, the company scanned 10 meters of concrete and steel to gather information about two Soviet-era nuclear submarine reactors in Paldiski, Estonia. Upon its success, the company was invited to inspect other ageing reactors across Europe.

“Muon tomography is decades old technology and with the advent of AI and better optical solutions, we have finally managed to commercialise and make viable non-invasive detection of defects faults in various materials, including concrete and steel,” said CEO Marek Helm.


Scanning to save the planet

GScan is partnering with UK National Highways, AtkinsRealis, and Jacobs to assess steel components in post-tensioned concrete bridges. Choosing to repair an existing structure rather than replacing it can save costs and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80%. For instance, extending the lifespan of an average bridge instead of demolishing and rebuilding it can save over 460 tonnes of CO2.

They are also collaborating with academic institutions like Imperial College London, the University of Sheffield, CERN, and the European Space Agency to explore uses of their technology in defence, national security, healthcare, and even space.

GScan currently employs over 35 staff members. “We have also launched the SilentBorder initiative to use myon tomography in finding for example narcotics and other contraband inside shipping containers without manual inspection. The advantage of myon tomography over x-rays is also that there is no harmful radiation,” said Helm.

GScan will use the seed funding to improve its cosmic ray muon tomography technology for better performance.

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