In this online podcast, published by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Professors Martin Dawson, from the Institute of Photonics, and Harald Haas, from the University of Edinburgh, discuss “Li-Fi” -- the transmission of internet communications using visible light rather than radio waves. This could bring benefits by, for example, increasing the available bandwidth for data communication or allowing wireless communication in environments where conventional radio waves cannot be used, such as within hospital operating theatres.
The Universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh form part of a consortium, also involving the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and St. Andrews, which will collaborate on this topic under the EPSRC-funded “Ultra-Parallel Visible-Light Communications” (UP-VLC) project.
Intelligent Lighting Centre launched by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP
On the 25th of January 2013, the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, paid a visit to the University of Strathclyde as part of the city of Glasgow winning £24 million as the Technology Strategy Board’s ‘Future Cities Demonstrator’, of which the University of Strathclyde will play a key part. Whilst at the University, he also launched the Intelligent Lighting Centre, an initiative involving the Institute of Photonics and one which will form part of the Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC), which is due to open in 2014.
From left to right, Prof. Sir Jim McDonald (University Principal & Vice-Chancellor), Prof. Pete Skabara (Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry), Prof. Rob Martin (Department of Physics), Rt Hon David Willetts MP and Prof. Martin Dawson (Institute of Photonics).
Congratulations to Prof Dawson and co-authors on the inclusion of their paper "Flexible distributed-feedback colloidal quantum dot laser" in the special edition of Applied Physics Letters’ “Editor’s Picks”.
This special edition highlights the most notable APL articles published in recent years, that the Editor has selected to showcase ongoing innovative research activities.
The highlighted article can be found is freely available to the community until the end of September 2013.
The cover article on this month’s Laser Focus World magazine shows how the Institute breaks new ground on real improvements to practical laser sources. Our 2009 paper has inspired a company to further investigate direct diode pumping of Ti:Sapphire lasers, potentially reducing the cost of the pump source ten fold. The progress in blue diode lasers over the last few years, motivated by projection markets, has opened up the possibilities first demonstrated by the Institute. A cost reduction of this magnitude could allow much wider use of these versatile lasers.
Laser Focus World article:
2009, Optics Letters: http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.34.003334
2010, Optics Letters: http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OL.36.000304
2012, Optics Express: http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.20.020629
Masters taught course in Microfabrication, registration is open now for entrants.
Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics
The Institute of Photonics warmly welcomes the establishment of the UK's first Fraunhofer Centre. This presents a great opportunity for the photonics community in Scotland, the UK and beyond. This new Centre for Applied Photonics is firmly based on the proven and sustainable Fraunhofer model. The Fraunhofer Society is highly regarded for delivering industry-driven, commercial outcomes from high quality research, development and engineering. The Institute looks forward to collaborating with Fraunhofer CAP and will continue to pursue high quality and high impact research, engaging with industrial and academic partners across the world.
Good news travels fast and the press releases from Strathclyde and Stanford were quick to travel across the world. Whilst Keith Mathieson and colleagues were pleased to see their work resonante with the BBC and NewScientist they were also glad to hear that commuters picked up the story on the buses and trains across the UK, in their daily freebie Metro newspaper.
The work was recently published in Nature Photonics and shows great progress for a device to tackle age- related macular degeneration, AMD. A fuller description is given in the University of Strathclyde press release.
Our congratulations to Yujie Chen for winning a 2011 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad' awarded by China Scholarship Council, including a scholarship of $6000.
This award was founded by the Chinese government in 2003 with the purpose of rewarding the academic excellence of non-government-funded Chinese students studying overseas. Only those with outstanding performance in their PhD studies are considered by the award selection panel and Yujie was one of only 3 winners in Scotland.
SET for Britain
Daniele Parrotta, from the Institute of Photonics of the University of Strathclyde, was invited to show the results of his PhD research at the House of Commons recently. Daniele and other 29 young physicists from all over the UK were selected for a prestigious poster competition, SET for Britain http://www.setforbritain.org.uk/, with a first prize of £3,000 and a Cavendish Medal. His work on ‘Diamond Raman lasers’ was presented to politicians and a scientific committee. This event was an excellent opportunity to share ideas with young researchers and experienced scientists from different fields.
Yellow-Green and Amber Highlights
Extending the spectral range of our microLED work we are delighted to see that Europhysics News have included "Electrical, spectral and optical performance of yellow-green and amber micro-pixelated InGaN light-emitting diodes" in the Highlights section of the current issue 43-1. The current issue can be downloaded from
Front Page News
Congratulations to the authors from IoP and our colleagues in Chemistry for making the front cover of Applied Physics Letters. Building on a range of work in soft matter, polymers and processing this paper showcases some of our progress in flexible lasers.
Innovation awards win for Institute
Following on from winning entries two years ago, the Institute is again delighted to take first place in Thales Scottish Technology Prize competition.
The winner of the £20,000 first prize went to the Institute of Photonics at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, for a proposal from Dr David Burns and Dr John-Mark Hopkins relating to ‘improvements to eye-safe nanosecond pulse rangefinders’. Dr Vasili Savitski, also from the Institute won third place for his novel idea.
Tim Holt, Chief Exec of the IoP added ‘This is another super example of the innovative thinking at the Institute and particularly reflects our understanding of the needs of industry and our mission to undertake commercially relevant research.’
See the press release Thales announces winners of Scottish innovative technology competition.
Announcing mLED Ltd
2nd July 2010 see the creation of the Institute's latest spin-out company. Building on the success of a Scottish Enterprise Proof of Concept award, a prestigious Basic Technology collaboration 'One Thousand Micro-Emitters per Square Centimetre' and outstanding demonstrations of microLED technology, the Institute is delighted to see this company created. Led by serial entrpreneur and Strathclyde alumnus, Dr Jim Bonar, mLED will be pursuing a variety of applications of these versatile pattern programmble light engines.
A significant step towards flexible, conformable, plastic photonics has been made with the Institute's colleagues in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, including Prof's Pethrick and Skabara.
A 100micron thick membrane, was formed by deposition on water, then UV curing. This substrateless membrane had shown stimulated emmission, with the ease of manufacture opening up the possibility of mass manufacture and even disposable optical devices.
The Institute has already received enquiries from industry excited by the prospect after the original article was reported in the Highlights from Euorpean Journals section of Europhysics News.
See J.Opt 12, 035503 (2010) for the full picture.
Buy the Book!
A clear indication that VECSELs (aka Semiconductor Disk Lasers) are maturing is the recent publication by Wiley of this tutorial style book. With two chapters by Insitute of Photonics researchers, this is a notable milestone in the progression of this powerful and flexible technology.
Tim Holt commented ‘The early vision of the Institute in the value of semiconductor disks as a useful laser medium is vindicated more each day. Our contribution to this book is an appropriate acknowledgment of our place among the vanguard in this exciting arena. With many world’s firsts and world records, the Institute continues to excel from ultraviolet to infrared.’
Available for purchase here. http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-3527409335.html
Congratulations to Institute PhD student Yujie Chen for winning best poster award at the Quantum Dot June 2010 meeting. Well done! Yuije is pictured with his certificate and a well deserved pint. The poster prize issued by Nature Publishing Group also includes a cheque of £50 and a one-year-subscription to both Nature Physics and Nature Materials.
Semiconductor disk lasers for the generation of visible and ultraviolet radiation
With semiconductor disk lasers having proven to be such a strong theme for the IoP in recent years, we felt the time was right to publish this review paper covering many of the innovative aspects. This paper considers applications, material and thermal considerations, structural design, cavity configurations and intra-cavity nonlinear conversion techniques. The latest developments, including the trend toards miniaturisation are also presented. Our co-authors are from the Optoelectronics Research Centre, Tampere University of Technology, Finland.
Laser and Photonics Reviews, 1-28 (2009) / DOI 10.1002/lpor.200810042
Laser Writing Headline News
With our colleagues in Chemistry, the IoP is pleased to see this exciting work hit the front page of Advanced Materials. The Institute's work encompasses materials, devices and applications and in this instance new materials and innovative processing show tremendous potential.
Fluorescent Nanostructures: Direct Laser Writing of Nanosized Oligofluorene Truxenes in UV-Transparent Photoresist Microstructures (Adv. Mater. 7/2009)
Fluorescent nanostructures within a transparent microstructure can be achieved via direct laser writing. On p. 781, Alexander Kuehne, Peter Skabara, Martin Dawson, Richard Pethrick, and co-workers report on a novel UV-transparent photoresist that incorporates star-shaped nanometer-sized oligofluorene truxenes. The method and materials will find applications in optical, electro-optical, and photonic devices. (Cover artwork by Leif Heuser).
Science Bridges to California, Feb 2009
(for more up to date news on SU2P, please see www.SU2P.com )
The innovative and commercial strengths of the photonics sector are to be harnessed in a major venture between universities in Scotland- led by Strathclyde- and California.
Strathclyde, the Universities of St Andrews, Heriot-Watt and Glasgow, together with Stanford University and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), are collaborating in a project which has won funding worth £1.6 million over three years from the Science Bridges awards, announced by Research Councils UK (RCUK).
The project, the Stanford-Scotland Photonics Innovation Collaboration, is designed to capitalise on leading research in the photonics sector, in fields including life sciences and renewable energy, and the commercial opportunities the research offers.
It also aims to bolster existing links between universities and businesses in Scotland and the US.
The three-year venture between the six institutions will focus on:
- Biophotonics, including stem cell imaging and neuroscience photonics
- Solar cell devices
- Integrated photonics
- Solid-state laser engineering
- Photonics sensors, including atom, quantum optic and environmental sensors.
The project will give talented young researchers the opportunity to experience working in laboratories in California. It will also enable businesses in the US and the UK to share ideas and expertise with academics in both countries.
Professor Allister Ferguson, Deputy Principal of Strathclyde and Principal Investigator in the Collaboration, said: "This is an ambitious and inventive programme aimed at delivering huge social and economic benefits. We are pleased to have secured funding from RCUK Science Bridges to work towards this goal.
"Photonics is a sector with vast capacity for innovation in research and for commercial opportunities. It is dominated in the UK by small companies, and we aim to build on that capacity through this venture, by broadening and strengthening the links in photonics between Scotland and California.
"Through this project, we intend to build enduring relationships which will form the basis of a network with sustainable economic impact."
The programme will be delivered through the creation of a series of inter-related activities:
A number of 'proof of principle' pilot projects in areas with commercial potential
A joint industrial affiliates scheme, giving access to knowledge exchange with academics in the other country to companies, large and small, in the UK and the US
A staff exchange scheme between the universities, to develop joint projects with clear commercial potential
An investor network, comprising individuals and businesses with an interest in investing in the technology covered by the programme
A post-doctoral entrepreneurial fellowship programme, offering outstanding early-career researchers the chance to work for a year in a leading laboratory in California
Dr Stephen Armstrong, Head of the Research Development Service in Strathclyde's Department of Research and Innovation, said: "This programme brings a unique international dimension to our knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship activities, underpinned by excellence in research.
"It's about raising our ambitions and extracting value for economic and societal benefit through linking one of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial communities in the US with Scotland."
The collaboration will involve Strathclyde's Department of Physics, Institute of Photonics and Centre for Biophotonics.
UK’s first Fraunhofer Centre – at University of Strathclyde – announces new Head
02 November 2012
The new UK headquarters for Europe’s largest contract research organisation has appointed its first Head of Centre.
Professor Martin Dawson, of the University of Strathclyde, will this month take up the role at the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics.
The Centre – the first of its kind in the UK – is a strategic collaboration between the University and Fraunhofer, Europe's largest contract research organisation. It will provide laser research and associated technologies for a variety of sectors, including security, healthcare, energy and transport.
The Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics has been created with funding from Fraunhofer, the University, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Funding Council. The Fraunhofer Centre will initially be based in bespoke University of Strathclyde accommodation, where custom-built laser laboratories have been created. In due course Fraunhofer will be a key tenant in the University’s Technology and Innovation Centre, due to open in 2014, which aims to transform the way universities, business and industry collaborate to find solutions to global challenges, create jobs and support the economy.
Professor Dawson said: “The new Fraunhofer Centre provides a great opportunity for the industrial photonics community in Scotland and the UK, whilst also providing a new and effective path for university research to progress towards full economic impact.
“We have received a very warm reception from industrial partners and government and we look forward to working closely with businesses across the UK and with Strathclyde and other university partners.’’
Professor Dawson, who has more than 30 years’ experience of applied research in photonics, will continue to be the Director of Research for the University’s Institute of Photonics.
Tim Holt, Executive Director of Fraunhofer UK Research Limited, added: “Martin’s longstanding contributions to the Institute of Photonics show a great track record in building the photonics infrastructure that our economy needs. Respected by industry and academia alike, and with a strong international reputation, he is ideally placed to ensure a balanced portfolio for the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics and the Institute of Photonics.’’
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “Martin has a proven track record of leading top-quality research geared to the needs of industry and society, making him the ideal first Head of Centre for Fraunhofer’s new UK headquarters at Strathclyde.
“Under Martin’s leadership, the Centre will work closely with partners in business, industry and government to solve global challenges, design and develop the products and services of tomorrow and support the economy.”
The Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics at Strathclyde joins a growing global community of Fraunhofer facilities. It will enhance the University’s international reputation as a centre of excellence for industrial engagement, specifically in the field of photonics research and commercialisation via its Institute of Photonics and other research groups.
Professor Dawson is a graduate in physics from Imperial College London. He spent five years in academia in the United States and five years at Sharp Laboratories of Europe Limited, in Oxford, UK, before in 1996 becoming a founder member of the Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde.
He was promoted to professor in the Institute of Photonics in 2001 and was made its Director of Research in 2008. A recognised leader in multi-disciplinary science and engineering programmes, he has made notable contributions to areas including ultrafast lasers, semiconductor lasers, nitride materials and diamond photonics.
Fraunhofer has more than 20,000 employees in 60 Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany alone and is establishing centres throughout Europe and America.
Fraunhofer research has formed the basis of a wide range of technologies for industry and products in everyday use, such as the MP3 player and apps for mobile phones, including customised weather reports and music identification systems like the iPhone app, Shazam.