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Prof Alan Kemp

Institute of Photonics

Personal statement

Fraunhofer UK / Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of Laser Engineering

Alan joined the Institute of Photonics in August 2002 as part of Dr David Burns’ solid-state laser engineering team. In 2005, he was awarded a 3-year personal research fellowship by the Royal Society of Edinburgh to develop his research on disk lasers and to build his own research group. He was appointed as an Associate Team Leader at the Institute in 2005 and as a Research Team Leader in 2009. In 2011, he was awarded a European Research Council Starter Grant to work on Diamond Lasers, and in 2014 he was awarded a five-year Fraunhofer UK / Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Laser Engineering. His research centres on the science and engineering of compact solid-state lasers – thermal management, simplified pumping arrangements, and in particular the novel use of synthetic diamond.

Recent research highlights include the first demonstration of a CW diamond Raman laser, of a monolithic diamond Raman laser, and of direct pumping of a Ti:sapphire laser. This has been backed up by detailed work on the exploitation of novel synthetic diamond both for thermal management in lasers and the direct use of diamond as a laser gain material in Raman lasers. The team is also now working on assessing colour-centre containing diamond as a possible gain material for broadly tuneable and ultrafast lasers.

Alan has been principal investigator on two EPSRC-funded research grants: on diamond Raman lasers (EP/G00014X/1) and on directly diode-laser pumped Ti:sapphire lasers (EP/E036724/1). In addition, he was the researcher co-investigator on a grant studying the use of diamond in advanced disk lasers (EP/E004903/1), and a co-investigator on an Engineering Platform Grant (EP/E006000/1). Alan is also a co-investigator on the Warwick-led EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Diamond Science and Technololgy (

Beyond the research councils, Alan has led both research and consultancy work funded by a number of UK and international companies. In 2009, Alan and his colleagues Walter Lubeigt and David Burns were awarded the Thales / Scottish Enterprise Scottish Technology Prize for laser engineering. Alan collaborated with M-Squared Lasers Ltd and the Fraunhofer Center for Applied Photonics on an Innovate UK funded project on diode-pumped Ti:sapphire lasers for biological imaging. Alan is the academic supervisor for six doctoral students working on industrial projects: four based at the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics and two at Thales Optronics Ltd. He has collaborated closely with Element Six Ltd on the laser applications of diamond for a decade.

Alan obtained his PhD from the University of St. Andrews in 1999 for work in Dr Bruce Sinclair's group on spatial and spectral selectivity mechanisms in microchip and miniature lasers. He was then a post-doc for three years in Prof. Wilson Sibbett's group, also in St. Andrews, working on the development of compact femtosecond lasers.

Alan is a Senior Member of the Optical Society of America and a member of the IEEE.


Laser spectroscopy of NV- and NV0 colour centres in synthetic diamond
Fraczek Elisabeth, Savitski Vasili G., Dale Matthew, Breeze Ben G., Diggle Phil, Markham Matthew, Bennett Andrew, Dhillon Harpreet, Newton Mark E., Kemp Alan J.
Optical Materials Express Vol 7, pp. 2571-2585, (2017)
~1400-nm continuous-wave diamond Raman laser intracavity-pumped by an InGaAs semiconductor disk laser
Casula R., Parrotta D. C., Kemp A. J., Penttinen J.-P., Leinonen T., Guina M., Hastie J. E.
7th EPS-QEOD Europhoton Conference, (2016)
Temperature-dependent spectroscopy and microchip laser operation of Nd:KGd(WO4)2
Loiko P., Yoon S.J., Serres J.M., Mateos X, Beecher S.J., Birch R.B., Savitski V.G., Kemp A.J., Yumashev K., Griebner U., Petrov V., Aguiló M., Diaz F., Mackenzie J.I.
Optical Materials Vol 58, pp. 365-372, (2016)
Large radius of curvature micro-lenses on single crystal diamond for application in monolithic diamond Raman lasers
Liu Hangyu, Reilly Sean, Herrnsdorf Johannes, Xie Enyuan, Savitski Vasili G., Kemp Alan J., Gu Erdan, Dawson Martin D.
Diamond and Related Materials Vol 65, pp. 37-41, (2016)
InGaAs-QW VECSEL emitting >1300nm via intracavity Raman conversion
Parrotta Daniele C., Casula Riccardo, Penttinen Jussi-Pekka, Leinonen Tomi, Kemp Alan J., Guina Mircea, Hastie Jennifer E.
Proceedings of SPIE 7982, Smart Sensor Phenomena, Technology, Networks, and Systems 2011 Vol 9734, (2016)
Intracavity Raman conversion of a red semiconductor disk laser using diamond
Schlosser Peter J., Parrotta Daniele C., Savitski Vasili G., Kemp Alan J., Hastie Jennifer E.
Optics Express Vol 23, pp. 8454-8461, (2015)

more publications

Professional activities

Assisted with a "Spectroscope Workshop" for primary school children
De Beers Diamond Conference
External PhD Examiner - Imperial
External Examiner
Research Seminar presented at Element Six Ltd
SU2P Workshop on Diamond for Quantum Technology and Sensors
Outreach talk on engineering to Kinnoull Primary School (Primary 3)

more professional activities


Ultra-Precision Optical Engineering With Short-Wavelength Semiconductor Disk Laser Technology (Challenging Engineering) | Casula, Riccardo
Hastie, Jennifer (Principal Investigator) Kemp, Alan (Co-investigator) Casula, Riccardo (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 01-Apr-2018
Passive Q-Switching of Solid State Lasers | Smillie, Marc
Kemp, Alan (Principal Investigator) Ferguson, Allister (Co-investigator) Smillie, Marc (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2011 - 01-Apr-2016
Fraunhofer UK Research Limited: Studentship Agreement | Rodríguez-García, Julio
Hastie, Jennifer (Principal Investigator) Kemp, Alan (Co-investigator) Rodríguez-García, Julio (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2013 - 01-Apr-2017
MonoDiaL: Monolithic Diamond Raman Laser (H2020 ERC PoC)
Kemp, Alan (Principal Investigator) Reilly, Sean (Researcher)
Period 01-Nov-2016 - 30-Apr-2018
Fibre-Laser Pumped Diamond Raman Lasers for Lidar and Clear Plastics Welding
Kemp, Alan (Principal Investigator) Savitski, Vasili (Research Co-investigator) Demetriou, Giorgos (Researcher) Dziechciarczyk, Lukasz (Researcher) Reilly, Sean (Researcher)
"Diamond and fibre are a natural match that provides a platform to take high-power lasers into hitherto unattainable parameter regimes and to serve new applications. Though attractive in its simplicity, this area remains largely unexplored. Here, we propose a partnership that will enable high-impact applications through careful investigation of the underpinning device science. This will lead to fibre-pumped diamond Raman lasers with properties tailored to applications in LIDAR and clear plastics processing. We aim to lay the foundations for this to become the preferred approach for a number of important laser applications.

Fibre lasers are the laser of choice from medicine to materials processing thanks to their reliability, low cost of ownership, proven performance, and outstanding power scalability. While moderate laser parameters and standard wavelengths suffice for many applications, many more require better beam quality, narrower line widths, specific wavelengths, or well-controlled high-energy pulses - but still at hundreds of watts of output power. Fibre lasers can only rarely simultaneously satisfy these requirements. In this project, we aim to overcome these generic limitations of fibre sources by employing diamond to shift fibre lasers further into infrared via stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) with simultaneous brightness enhancement and, in the case of pulses, spectral narrowing towards the transform-limit.

The UK is established as a world leader in fibre laser research and has played a leading role in pioneering the use of diamond in Raman lasers. Both fibre lasers and diamond are recognized as being superbly power scalable thanks to superior optical and thermal properties. Our approach will harness the advantages of fibre systems - efficiency, compactness, and reliability - while modifying their output to better address key industrial challenges. While the combination of fibre and diamond is a platform solution that can address a wide range of wavelength-specific applications, especially in the near IR range, in this project we aim to prove the technology in two areas that are important for our industrial partners. This proposal will deliver a new type of laser that is uniquely capable of the combination of power, brightness, spectral purity and wavelength required for industrially important applications in LIDAR and clear plastic processing."
Period 01-Oct-2016 - 30-Sep-2019
Doctoral Training Partnership (DTA - University of Strathclyde) | Casula, Riccardo
Hastie, Jennifer (Principal Investigator) Kemp, Alan (Co-investigator) Casula, Riccardo (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 01-Apr-2018

more projects


Institute of Photonics
Technology Innovation Centre

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