The famous Fresnel lens
During the course of the 18th century, European nations built up vast colonial empires trading in sugar, coffee and cocoa beans from the Americas, tea, spices and silk from Asia, and manufactured products from Europe. This trade fueled the development of Europe’s Atlantic seaboard, making the effectiveness of lighthouses a matter of some importance to safety at sea. In June 1819, François Arago, an astronomer, physicist and man of state, put forward the name of Augustin Fresnel, the great discoverer of the wave theory of light, to France’s Lighthouse Commission. Fresnel was subsequently tasked with improving lighthouses in the English Channel and Atlantic. Some months later, he came up with a design for a stepped lens able to produce a much more powerful beam to light the seas. He asked Jean-Baptiste François Soleil, an optical engineer whose name—soleil means ‘sun’ in French—seemingly predestined him for what would follow, to fabricate this lens. So began an industrial and human adventure that is still continuing 200 years later through HORIBA France SAS and Jobin Yvon, whose reputation in the world of science persists to this day.
Jobin Yvon - From family business to industrial saga
In 1892, Amédée Jobin, an alumnus of France’s Ecole Polytechnique engineering school (1881) and an artillery officer, took over the workshop of Léon Laurent, Jean-Baptiste François Soleil’s son-in-law, on the advice of Alfred Cornu, the great physicist famous for his work on the diffraction of light. Like his predecessor, Jobin modernized production tooling and worked very closely with the most eminent scientists of his time, such as Alfred Pérot, Charles Fabry and Henri Chrétien. Another alumnus of the Ecole Polytechnique (1903), Amédée Jobin’s son-in-law Gustave Yvon, joined the company in 1911. Gustave Yvon focused especially on achieving the quality required to transform an artisan workshop into a modern production facility. As result of his efforts, the name Jobin Yvon is still synonymous in the world of optics today with excellence and quality.
Jobin Yvon becomes part of the HORIBA group
With the acquisition of its fellow instrument manufacturer Jobin Yvon in 1997, HORIBA rounded out its range of scientific instruments. The HORIBA Group of worldwide companies supplies an extensive array of instruments and systems for applications ranging from automotive R&D, process and environmental monitoring, in-vitro medical diagnostics, semiconductor manufacturing and metrology to a broad range of scientific R&D and quality control measurements for industry.
200 years working with scientists
From Augustin Fresnel to Gérard Mourou, Nobel Prize for Physics in 2018, and many more scientists along the way, HORIBA France has constantly accompanied pioneering scientists to understand and meet their needs, working with them to conceive new optical components and measuring methods for the future.
Innovating for progress over two centuries—and for the future
From the Fresnel lenses still found in many lighthouses today to the most sophisticated gratings in space, HORIBA France designs, develops, fabricates and sells scientific instruments for research and industrial laboratories. In its continual quest for innovation, it seeks to meet some of the most crucial challenges facing society for the future, such as determining levels of toxic substances, disposing safely of nuclear waste, employing nanomaterials and detecting microplastics to name just a few.
A dynamic and agile French firm with the strong backing of a major Japanese group, HORIBA France currently has some 400 employees and yearly revenues of €110 million, 75% of which are generated from export sales through its global distribution network.