History of Bruker

1960 - 1965: The Beginnings

The formation of the Bruker Company is principally down to one man. Günther Laukien studied physics at Tübingen before moving to the Institute for Experimental Physics in Stuttgart in 1952.  Dedicating himself to NMR, he conducted post-doctoral studies in NMR Spectroscopy and in 1958 published a pioneering paper on high-frequency nuclear magnetic resonance. This paper described the theoretical aspects of what was known at the time, while also covering the practical aspects of constructing experimental systems.  In 1960, he was appointed Professor for Experimental Physics in Karlsruhe.

Around that time, laboratories in the US were already building the first high-resolution NMR systems for use in analytical chemistry.  Prof. Laukien recognized the power in this technique and the need for an impulse spectrometer not yet produced commercially.  He set out to fill this need by establishing his own company.

1965 - 1970: Technological Leadership in NMR

The establishment of Spectrospin AG set the scene for close cooperation and a strong synergistic relationship with Bruker. The introduction of manufacturing agreements saw Bruker specialize in magnets and power supplies while simultaneously closing down its development of high resolution instruments, leaving Spectrospin AG to focus on the high-resolution instruments and equally close down its development of EPR. Together, they embarked on an ambitious development project that ultimately introduced the first fully transistorized NMR instrument, the HFX 90, the first of which was delivered to the Technical University of Berlin.

1970 - 1975: Going Global

During the 1960’s, it became evident that to be a key player in the analytical instrument market, an increased global presence was needed with service and support for customers and researchers at a local level.
The first step in this direction had been made with the establishment of an office in North America, a growing center of NMR research.  Despite the initial dominance of US-based companies, Bruker grew rapidly due to its technological superiority and its widespread acceptance within the NMR community.
Soon, Bruker SA was established in France, where facilities in Wissenbourg began to produce system components and sub-assemblies. The establishment of additional sales offices in Europe, including the UK and Italy, continued through the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In 1969, during the 25th anniversary of the discovery of EPR in Kazan Russia, Bruker announced further expansion into what was then the USSR. A new office was also established in Israel, further strengthening an already-established relationship with the Weizman Institute.
By 1972, Bruker’s expansion had reached Australia, and in 1975 Bruker arrived in China, where a successful appearance at the Swiss Industrial Exhibition in Beijing resulted in the immediate sale of two WH 90 systems—the first FT-only NMR spectrometers. South Korea and Taiwan sales offices soon followed, and in 1976 Bruker opened its first facility in Japan. Bruker was also successful in South America, with the first instrument installations taking place in Venezuela.
During this time of rapid global expansion, it became apparent that further growth in the market of analytical instrumentation would require the expansion into additional and new analytical technologies.

1974 - 1999: New Analytical Technologies

Bruker began the development of new infrared spectrometers in the 1970s. Launched in 1974, the IFS 110 was the beginning of a very successful product line that ultimately led to the foundation of the Bruker Optics division. Today, Bruker Optics offers a comprehensive vibrational spectroscopy product-line that includes both the world’s smallest benchtop FT-IR spectrometer for routine use, and the world’s highest resolution FT-IR for advanced research applications.

Bruker’s already established strengths in NMR naturally led to developments in the field of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).  Bruker Medizintechnik (Medical) GmbH was formed in 1976, initially offering a range of mobile defibrillators.  Later in the decade, Bruker had developed and was producing NMR-based tomography systems for use in clinical and pre-clinical applications, leading eventually to whole-body clinical MRI instrumentation.
Over time, Bruker chose to shift its focus towards pre-clinical systems and became Bruker BioSpin MRI, the currently market leader in the field.

In 1977 “Dr. Franzen Analysentechnik” was founded in Bremen as a spin-off company from Atlas MAT. A few years later, in 1980, Bruker acquired this company and renamed it “Bruker-Franzen Analytik”, adding robust quadrupole mass spectrometers to the Bruker portfolio. That same year the first mobile detection system, the MM1, proved successful in both the civilian and military markets. In 1997 Bruker-Franzen Analytik GmbH was renamed Bruker Daltonik GmbH. The name was chosen to honor John Dalton for his work in formulating the theory of the atomic structure of matter. The development of two new ionization procedures in the late 1980s, electrospray and MALDI, enabled the ionization and analysis of biomolecules. This paved the way for the application of mass spectrometry in molecular biology and molecular medicine. With the spectrometers being continuously enhanced, Bruker mass spectrometry experienced unexpected growth.

In 1997 Bruker acquired the X-ray spectroscopy division of Siemens AG, which included prime manufacturing facilities in Karlsruhe and Madison, Wisconsin. Commercial growth, combined with additional company acquisitions, quickly launched Bruker AXS as a leading provider of X-ray analytical instrumentation, significantly extending Bruker’s technology portfolio.

2000 - Current: Bruker Corporation

Organizational restructuring within Bruker began in 2000, as the company adapted to meet the needs of modern markets. The Bruker Daltonics group was the first of the Bruker companies to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, soon followed by Bruker AXS in 2001. In 2003 Bruker Daltonics and AXS merged to form a single listed company. In 2006, they were joined by Bruker Optics. The merger of all Bruker corporate units was completed in 2008 upon the addition of Bruker BioSpin, the magnetic resonance division that started it all. The synergies resulting from the integration was quickly recognized within product development, production and sales, leading to the development of combined systems delivering unique customer benefits.
Unification under a single parent company—the Bruker Corporation (NASDAQ:  BRKR) created one of the strongest brands in analytical instrumentation.´