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 the novel use of synthetic diamond. He assists Institute of Photonics Deputy Director Dr Jennifer Hastie with leading the Institute’s Advanced Lasers group. The Compact Laser Engineering Team, of which Alan is part, works very closely with Jennifer’s High Brightness Semiconductor Disk Lasers team. In turn, the lasers group as a whole continually collaborates with other Institute staff, in particular the Photonics Materials and Devices group led by Prof. Martin Dawson. Beyond the university, the lasers group regularly collaborates with the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, on joint projects, joint studentships and sub-contracts.
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.
Alan has been principal investigator on three EPSRC-funded research grants: on diamond Raman lasers (EP/G00014X/1), on directly diode-laser pumped Ti:sapphire lasers (EP/E036724/1), and on fibre-laser pumped diamond Raman lasers (EP/P00041X/1) in collaboration with Southampton, Thales Optronics, Element Six, SPI Lasers, and Fraunhofer CAP. He works closely with Researcher CoI Dr Vasili Savitski, who coordinates this programme. Alan is also a co-investigator and management board member for the Warwick-led EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Diamond Science and Technology, and was a CoI on phase one of the National Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology, assisting the Strathclyde lead, Dr Jennifer Hastie.
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 Innovate UK funded projects on diode-pumped Ti:sapphire lasers for biological imaging and lasers for quantum technologies, the later led for Strathclyde by Dr Jennifer Hastie. Alan has been the academic supervisor for a number of doctoral students working on industrial projects - based at the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics and at Thales Optronics Ltd. He has collaborated closely with Element Six Ltd on the laser applications of diamond for over 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.
- Spectroscope Workshop
- 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
- Diode-pumped Ti:sapphire Lasers: A Manufacturable Platform for Precision Photonics
- Kemp, Alan (Principal Investigator) Hastie, Jennifer (Co-investigator) Lengden, Michael (Co-investigator) Savitski, Vasili (Research Co-investigator)
- 01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2023
- Strategic research for SMEs: Helping small companies to access doctoral level engineering
- Kemp, Alan (Principal Investigator)
- 01-Jan-2018 - 28-Jan-2021
- Fast Switching Dual Wavelength Raman Laser
- Kemp, Alan (Principal Investigator)
- 01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2021
- MonoDiaL: Monolithic Diamond Raman Laser (H2020 ERC PoC)
- Kemp, Alan (Principal Investigator) Reilly, Sean (Researcher)
- 01-Jan-2016 - 30-Jan-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."
- 01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2020
- UK Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology
- Hastie, Jennifer (Principal Investigator) Arnold, Aidan (Co-investigator) Griffin, Paul (Co-investigator) Kemp, Alan (Co-investigator) Riis, Erling (Co-investigator)
- 01-Jan-2014 - 30-Jan-2019
Institute of Photonics
Technology Innovation Centre
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