The KSV NIMA story started in 1981 when KSV Chemicals Ltd was established in Helsinki, Finland by Paavo Kinnunen, Tom Schröder and Jorma Virtanen, with a mission to develop advanced chemicals. As no appropriate technology was commercially available at the time to properly study these new compounds, KSV Instruments was created to develop and commercialize innovative scientific instruments. Included in the range of instruments required for the characterization of molecular materials, a range of advanced computer controlled Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett Deposition Troughs were developed.
Around the same time, Frank Grunfeld completed his PhD in monolayer research at University College London. Having operated and maintained Langmuir-Blodgett troughs for his PhD work, he believed he could also make such instruments. Frank Grunfeld, like KSV, realized the development opportunity with the currently available systems so in 1983 he set up his own company called Nima Technology which also offered advanced computer controlled Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett Deposition Troughs.
KSV and NIMA both made a number of innovations which dramatically improved Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett troughs. To name a few: Langmuir troughs made from single pieces of pure PTFE for optimized cleanliness and reliability, ultra-sensitive electronic balance for extremely precise surface tension and surface pressure measurements, exchangeable trough sections for flexibility and modularity, fully computer controlled barrier movement, surface pressure measurement and deposition mechanisms. KSV and NIMA soon began to dominate the market in providing Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett technologies with their continued developments and high quality of customer service and support.
Further to the development of advanced Langmuir and Langmuir-Blodgett Deposition Troughs, complementary instruments to study thin films were developed. Most of these technologies such as Interfacial Shear Rheometer (to study monolayer rheological properties), PM-IRRAS (an infrared technique for determination of molecular orientation and functional groups), Brewster Angle Microscope (for monolayer imaging), Surface Potential Sensor (for monolayer electrical properties characterization) and Dip Coaters are still part of the offering today and have strongly contributed to the recognition of KSV and NIMA as the thin film deposition and characterization experts.
In 2010 KSV and NIMA joined forces as part of the Biolin Scientific group, uniting both product ranges under the new KSV NIMA brand. Combining the product organizations enables the greatest strengths of both these successful teams to work together towards the same goals. In addition, the new organization will provide an improved range of services, products and support without parallel on the market today. The results of this new brand will also be the development of more innovative products that can give the next generation of researchers the tools they need to push the boundaries of thin film research.