Nanopositioning Pioneer Dr. Paul Atherton Dies

We were saddened to learn that Dr. Paul Atherton, co-founder of Queensgate, has died after a short illness. He was 69.

Together with Ken Reay, Jim Ring, Tom Hicks and Martyn Wells, Paul founded Queensgate Instruments in 1979 and became the group MD.

Initially Queensgate made servo stabilized Fabry-Perot Interferometers for use on large telescopes. However, under Paul’s leadership, the company soon launched a range of nanopositioning products for use in microscopy, testing hard disk drives, controlling lithography platforms, as well as applications in space including on satellites and the international space station.

He was a member of founding council of the European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology (Euspen) in 1999 and elected as President in 2003. As well as being a respected leader in the field of nanopositioning, he was a member of the Institute of Physics and the American Vacuum Society.

A true entrepreneur, Paul went on to found and build other companies and took a leadership role in many more.

He leaves a vast legacy in terms of his contribution to science, business, and as a mentor for staff and students at Imperial College.

Imperial College, Paul’s Alma Mater has published a memorial article.