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Electronic Lab Environment

Our paperless lab environment, and how it works for us.

Microsoft SurfaceOur NanoPhotonics Centre pioneers new ways to use IT to improve research productivity for interdisciplinary research.  This was described in more detail in  an article in Nature Methods (2011).

Picture of a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet running OneNote.Electronic Notebooks

There is no paper in the group. All group members use tablet PCs and electronic notebooks, stored on dedicated servers. Besides organising the normal day-to-day work in the lab and storage of data files, this allows us to coordinate collaborative projects and meetings and arrange how and what new experiments should be done. It also let’s us sort out what equipment issues exist in the lab, and how to sort them out, as well as where all our samples are and what has been done to them. Our technology platform uses Microsoft OneNote on Microsoft Surface Pro Tablets, with optimised systems.

Equipment DatabasesOptics and Equipment Databases

All experimental research groups struggle to keep track of the very many lab components (such as optics or electronics) that they have collected over many years. We have central databases that allow simple tracking of these, and highlights current issues on equipment.

Computerised Experimental RigsComputer Controlled Experiment

 All experimental rigs are computer controlled, and accessed remotely from our tablets. You can carry a running experiment around with you in the lab, forming convenient virtual instruments wherever you are. Aligning optical experiments gets much easier this way.

We currently work with Microsoft and HP on some of these projects, connected to the main software teams in the US.  We are always interested in technically able students in Cambridge who want to work with us on these projects.

 

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