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NanoPhotonics Centre


New approaches to optical systems open up solutions not previously available, particularly allowing low-cost high-performance functions.

3D-printed optical microscope
Using a low cost 3D printer and a Raspberry Pi $20 computer with a mobile phone camera module, we make research grade microscopes. Capable of micron resolution, and with sub-100nm control in x,y,z directions these are extremely useful for bio-applications. For instance, instead of building expensive life-support boxes in a research microscope to keep cells alive, our low-cost (<$100) disposable microscopes can operate inside standard incubator. Currently we are exploring the potential for such systems to check for bacterial contamination in water in Tanzania (Waterscope).

Key paper
Bowman et al., Rev.Sci.Instr. 87, 025104 (2016)

Cheap microscope kits: buy here


Dynamical optical circuits

Most information is sent as light through optical fibres, but processed and routed through electronic circuits.  This conversion costs power (~10% of the world’s electricity) and speed.  The internet is growing rapidly and shows no signs of slowing down. Our research aims to create faster, lower-power components that will route and process information directly as light, in optical circuits that can be rewritten as easily as changing the picture on a computer monitor.  One way this will improve capacity is by allowing MIMO, a technique currently used to speed up wireless networks, to be used in fibre optic cables to boost their bandwidth.

Using dynamic optical circuits, we can perform quantum optical experiments on light in many-dimensional quantum states. We aim to shape light through complex environments such as biological tissue andmicroscopic endoscopes, with applications in medicine and biology.

This research area is led by Dr Richard Bowman

Latest news

NanoPhotonics Centre visited by 533 high school students

28 September 2022

Why do grapes explode in a microwave oven? How does nanostructured chocolate look like? What do nanoparticles on a mirror and Homer Simpson have in common? As part of Physics at Work 2022 , 36 groups of high school students visited our exhibit about plasmonics and nano-optics. Read more here !

IOP news article about recent Sciences Advances paper

22 August 2022

A news article has been written about the recent Sciences Advances paper ' Optical suppression of energy barriers in single molecule-metal binding ' in the IOP optics and photonics research update. Read the article here !

Article featured in Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights

15 July 2022

The recent article 'Hollow-core optical fibre sensors for operando Raman spectroscopy investigation of Li-ion battery liquid electrolytes' has been selected as a featured article in the Nature Communications Editor's highlights. Congratulations to Ermanno and Tijmen! The Editor's highlights can be seen here: https://www...