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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

Licensing of h-Bar Instruments, a startup with roots at U-M and Harvard University, Celebrated with Bell Ringing Ceremony


Innovation Partnerships celebrated the licensing of h-Bar Instruments on May 25, 2023, with the ringing of the startup bell. h-Bar’s CEO EmJ Rennich, as well as co-founders Robert Hovden and Ismail El Baggari were in attendance. 

h-Bar Instruments is a tech company developing solutions for electron microscopy and atomic imaging at ultra-low temperatures. The ability to use electron microscopy under extremely cold conditions is key to advancing the study of quantum materials, advanced polymers and renewable energy.

h-Bar Instruments is a collaborative project between the University of Michigan (U-M) and Harvard University, with both Innovation Partnerships and the Harvard Office of Technology Development supporting its development and commercialization. The research that would eventually become h-Bar Instruments began in the spring of 2021, building off prior work on cryogenic material characterization.

Innovation Partnerships provided commercialization mentorship to h-Bar Instruments through the Technology Transfer Network (T3N) program. h-Bar Instruments also received financial, legal and entrepreneurial support from Ann Arbor SPARK through their business accelerator program. After completing the NSF Midwest Regional program, the National I-Corps program and the MIT Blueprint Entrepreneurship program, in addition to the support and guidance received from Innovation Partnerships, Harvard’s Office of Technology Development and Ann Arbor SPARK, the team officially formed under the name h-Bar Instruments in September 2022. 

Since their licensing in May 2023, the h-Bar Instruments team is working to roll out beta testing of their first commercial product, a liquid helium specimen holder to be debuted at the 2023 Microscopy and Microanalysis conference. 

On working jointly with Innovation Partnerships and the Harvard Office of Technology Development, h-Bar’s CEO EmJ Rennich called the experience, “Instrumental in [their] entrepreneurship journey. Guidance we received from the incredible people at both U-M and Harvard, as well as the local entrepreneurship incubator Ann Arbor SPARK, helped us transform our scientific idea into a commercially viable reality.”