Professor Allister Ferguson

Senior Adviser To The Principal

Principal's Office


Personal statement

Professor Allister Ferguson FRSE, is the Professor of Photonics in the Department of Physics at the University of Strathclyde. He founded the Institute of Photonics and has led discussions on the formation of the Technology and Innovation Centre and the establishment of the relationship between Fraunhofer and the university. He is a former Deputy Principal giving him responsibility for the university research and knowledge exchange portfolio.


He was the principal investigator on a RCUK Science Bridges project that brought together four Scottish universities (Heriot Watt, Glasgow, St.Andrews and Strathclyde) with two Californian universities (Stanford and Caltech) under the banner of SU2P. The SU2P collaboration continues funded by the university and industry partners and seeks to extract economic impact of the joint research based through knowledge exchange. He chairs the SU2P Executive Committee.


He has worked with NPL since the early 1980s. He was the recipient of the first NPL Metrology Award in 1983.


He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Optical Society of America, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  


His present role is as Senior Adviser to the Principal

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Two-photon absorption properties of crystalline knbo3 at 430 nm and efficient high pulse energy blue second-harmonic generation
Major A, Hutchings D, Langford N, Ferguson AI, Aitchison JS, Smith PWE,
Laser Physics Letters Vol 6, pp. 450-453 (2009)
Novel GaIn medium design for short-wavelength vertical external-cavity surface-emitting laser
Ferguson AI, McGinily SJ, Abram RH, Gardner KS, Riis E, Roberts JS
IEEE Journal of Quantum Electronics Vol 43, pp. 445-450 (2007)
Efficient coupling of several broad area laser diodes into an optical fiber
McGinily Stephen J, Abram Richard H, Riis Erling, Ferguson Allister I
Review of Scientific Instruments Vol 77, pp. 116101 (2006)
Operation of an optical in-well-pumped vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser
Zhang Wei, Ackemann Thorsten, McGinily Stephen, Schmid Marc, Riis Erling, Ferguson Allister I
Applied Optics Vol 45, pp. 7729-7735 (2006)
Femtosecond synchronously mode-locked vertical-external cavity surface-emitting laser
Zhang Wei, Ackemann Thorsten, Schmid Marc, Langford Nigel, Ferguson Allister I
Optics Express Vol 14, pp. 1810-1821 (2006)
Efficient Raman shifting of high-energy picosecond pulses into the eye-safe 1.5-µm spectral region by use of a KGd(WO4)_2 crystal
Major Arkady, Aitchison JS, Smith Peter WE, Langford Nigel, Ferguson Allister I
Optics Letters Vol 30, pp. 421-423 (2005)

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Professional Activities

GEMM Networking Event
GEMM In-Person Meeting
GEMM COP26 Symposium
SU2P MidIR & THz Workshop 2013
Andrew Moore
SU2P at SPRC Symposium

More professional activities


Passive Q-Switching of Solid State Lasers | Smillie, Marc
Kemp, Alan (Principal Investigator) Ferguson, Allister (Co-investigator) Smillie, Marc (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2011 - 14-Jan-2018
Doctoral Training Grant 2010 | Bennett, Thomas
Kemp, Alan (Principal Investigator) Ferguson, Allister (Co-investigator) Bennett, Thomas (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2011 - 08-Jan-2022
Stanford-Scotland Photonics Innovation Collaboration (Science Bridges)
Ferguson, Allister (Principal Investigator) Ackemann, Thorsten (Co-investigator) Burns, David (Co-investigator) Dawson, Martin (Co-investigator) McConnell, Gail (Co-investigator) Riis, Erling (Co-investigator)
The Universities of Strathclyde, 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, SU2P, 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 will also bolster existing links between universities and businesses in Scotland and the US.
The three-year venture between the six institutions focuses on:
■Biophotonics, including stem cell imaging and neuroscience photonics
■Solar cell devices and characterisation
■Integrated photonics
■Solid-state laser engineering and nonlinear optics
■Photonics sensors, including atom and quantum optic sensors and environmental science and technology
The project gives talented young researchers the opportunity to experience working in laboratories in California. It also enables businesses in the US and the UK to share ideas and expertise with academics in both countries.
01-Jan-2009 - 28-Jan-2013
Physical Organic Chemistry: Opportunities In Synthesis, Materials And Pharmaceuticals (Science And Innovation Award)
Murphy, John (Principal Investigator) Coombs, Graham (Co-investigator) Ferguson, Allister (Co-investigator) Florence, Alastair (Co-investigator)
This application aims to catalyse and sustain a new dimension in UK research capability in physical organic chemistry. Our strategic alliance in physical organic chemistry will provide a unique continuum of expertise to tackle research opportunities in areas as diverse as materials chemistry, synthesis methodologies and pharmaceutical discovery and development. It will have the capability to address issues from solid-state to solution and gas-phase, from small molecules to biopolymers, and from nanoscale to pilot plant. We focus on topics of international significance to industry worldwide as well as to academic chemistry, that will help to (i) drive the creation of 21st-century electronic materials, devices and technologies (ii) understand and exploit methodologies for assisting chemical reactions with the potential to revolutionise energy use in chemicals and pharmaceuticals industries (iii) provide new and more effective medicines through understanding molecular recognition in pharmaceutical systems including drug-receptor, drug-drug and drug-carrier complexes. Its importance is underlined by the initial substantial support from diverse sectors of the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry that we have so far put in place. It will initially lead to 26 new appointments, and we look forward to even more dynamic growth as the program unfolds.
01-Jan-2007 - 30-Jan-2012
Ferguson, Allister (Principal Investigator) Burns, David (Co-investigator) Calvez, Stephane (Co-investigator) Dawson, Martin (Co-investigator) Girkin, John (Co-investigator) Hastie, Jennifer (Co-investigator) Kemp, Alan (Co-investigator)
Tomorrow's practical lasers must be engineered to meet the increasingly exacting demands of science and industry. This will require innovative laser science, and we believe that our world-leading research will enable many of the necessary advances. With the increased coherence and stability that an Engineering Platform grant will foster, we will more readily realise our vision: to engineer miniaturised, reconfigurable and actively-controlled solid-state laser systems, creating new opportunities in science, instrumentation and manufacturing. This strategy addresses issues vital to the practical application of advanced lasers: functionality, reliability and low-cost of ownership - characteristics as important for academic science as they are for innovative bio-medicine or industry. Achieving these objectives demands a multi-disciplinary research team / bringing together an understanding of source, system and application. The Advanced Laser Group combines this necessary range of expertise with an existing research portfolio that has delivered important advances in areas such as high-performance optically pumped semiconductor lasers and self-optimising lasers - resulting in sources tailored for applications as diverse as high resolution biological imaging and free-space optical communications. We will take this work forward through a research strategy that centres on four themes:1. Advanced micro-lasers2. Lasers with programmable output patterns (e.g. for simplified lithography)3. Improved sources for biophotonics and medicine4. Versatile and self re-configurable microprocessor-controlled lasers. However, this programme must also adapt to the exciting new opportunities that this vibrant area of research are will continue to produce. A strategic outlook, innovative laser science and the flexibility to respond to new opportunities will be essential in achieving our research objectives. Thus, it will be vital to retain key contract research staff, undertake adventurous - but high risk - pre-project studies and collaborate internationally. The flexible funding mechanism of a platform grant will assist with all three imperatives; thus underpinning our innovative research programme. Lasers are a keystone technology: rapid progress in advanced laser engineering is vital to sustain the UK's leading position in the optical sciences, the photonics industry and the crucial applications they jointly enable. Platform grant funding will underpin our existing research strategy, strengthening and adding flexibility to the base from which we can continue to provide important science and technology for tomorrow's truly enabling laser systems.
01-Jan-2006 - 30-Jan-2011

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Professor Allister Ferguson
Senior Adviser To The Principal
Principal's Office

Tel: 548 3359/3227