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Applied Optics and Photonics Research

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Fibre-optic technology enables optical measurements to be made in real engineering environments for temperature, pressure, strain, shape, vibration, velocity and acoustic measurements for applications in industry and engineering research.  We exploit the flexibility offered by using optical fibres to allow us to apply advanced optical measurement techniques to real applications:

Current and Recent Projects


Novel optical fibres for enhanced optical trapping

Georgia Anastasiadi, Bill MacPherson, Lynn Paterson (Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Bioengineering )

This project will develop technology towards an optical fibre trap using novel optical fibres in order to hold, and controllably move, individual micro and nanoscopic particles in three dimensions.  This work is supported by The Paul Instrument Fund and Renishaw.



Additive layer manufacturing (ALM)

Dirk Havermann, Richard Carter, Bill MacPherson, Robert Maier, Duncan Hand

The aim of this research is to embed fibre Bragg gratings (FBG) in complex metal components. This combines the flexibility of ALM technique to create previously unattained geometries and functionalities with the real-time in-situ sensing capability of FBG. This work is supported by EPSRC and SUPA.



Microstructured Elements on Fibre-tips

Jun Li, Frank Albri, Robert Maier, Duncan Hand, Bill MacPherson

We are investigating the potential of ps-laser machining and focussed ion beam machining to fabricate novel structures onto the end of optical fibres. This work is supported by Renishaw and SUPA.



High Resolution Pressure Sensors

Martin Smith, Bill MacPherson, Robert Maier

High resolution differential pressure measurement remains a challenge for high performance engineering applications where traditional sensors would require measurement capability approaching 1 part per million to realise the required resolution for some experiments.  We are exploring the potential of Fabry-perot based sensors as an alternative to conventional electrical sensors.  This work is funded by Rolls-Royce.



Long Period Grating Sensors

Richard Carter, Robert Maier, Jim Barton

Long Period Gratings offer the ability to sense changes in the media surrounding the fibre.  We have modelled, and experimentally verified, the case where the outer coating is a metal.  Choice of appropriate metals allows species specific chemical sensing.   This work is supported by AWE plc.



High Bandwidth Temperature and Pressure Sensors (2000-2005)

Stuart Watson, Mathew Gander, Bill MacPherson, Jim Barton, Julian Jones

This project has demonstrated fibre optic probes, rugged enough to use in field tests.  Applications include temperature and pressure measurement in flows in aerodynamic test facilities and for measuring explosive air blast pressures at high bandwidths. This work was funded by EPSRC.



In-Situ Material and Environmental Monitoring Development Programme (2002-2010)

Richard Carter, Euan Rigg, Peter Harrison, Robert Maier, Bill MacPherson, Julian Jones, Jim Barton

All-optical sensing is particularly appropriate for monitoring a range of physical parameters in difficult environments. Optical fibres enable us to do this where it would not be practical to use conventional optics. This work was funded by AWE plc.



Transverse Strain and Shape Monitoring using Novel Multicore Fibres (2002-2008)

Manuel Silva-Lopez, Amanda Fender, Jim Barton, Bill MacPherson

This project aims to investigate the development and use of novel grating structures in collaboration with the Photonics Research Group at Aston University to make quasi-distributed measurements of transverse strain and avoiding unwanted temperature sensitivity. Multi-parameter sensors will be investigated based on fibre grating structure and also novel fibre geometries will also be investigated. This work was funded by EPSRC and AWE plc.



Medical Instrument Screening (2002-05)

Valeri Kovalev, Cheng Li, Robert Maier, Jim Barton

Prions, misshapen or abnormally folded forms of the natural PrP protein, are the infectious agents that cause variant CJD in humans. They are very difficult to distinguish from the normal form of the protein and, because they are particularly resistant to normal hospital sterilisation procedures, there is a risk of transmission of the disease via surgical instruments. The project aims to provide a new approach to decontamination of surgical instruments, and to ensure that decontamination is effective. Thiw work was funded by the Department of Health.




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