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Research Facilities

The School is located in a spacious, purpose-designed building which has been upgraded to modern specifications and provides excellent support and facilities for research. Technical support is provided by the School's well-equipped and very skillfully staffed electronics and mechanical workshops and by specialist research technicians. A Principal Experimental Officer supports the Biomedical Physics Group and a Senior Experimental Officer provides high-level IT support for the School. Other School services include a helium liquefier producing 55,000 liquid litres of helium per year, nitrogen liquefiers, materials processing and clean rooms. High-speed networking has been installed throughout the School, and following a £2M grant from HEFCE's Joint Research Equipment Initiative, the School's computing facilities are now amongst the most powerful in the UK.

As part of our long term research strategy we now have two new SRIF2 funded facilities, an ultrafast laser facility and a nano-fabrication facility. These new laboratories will allow us to build a better understanding behind new photonic and magnetic materials.

New Nanophotonics Fabrication Facility

This new laboratory provides state of the art nano-fabrication capabilities, primarily for research in photonics. The new facility is based around a focused ion-beam (FIB) etching machine. This machine allows us to create a wide range of structures with well defined features right down to the nanometre level. Our particular interests are in using this capability to engineer metallic surfaces that will allow us to radically alter the way visible light interacts with matter. This work ties in with other research programmes where similar structures are made on the centimetre scale for use at microwave frequencies, and with bio-inspired structures taken from nature. The combination of the FIB capability with an electron-beam lithography option ensures the facility is also of use to several of our other research groups. Click here for a virtual tour.

For more details contact Professor W.L. Barnes

FIB laboratory

The new Nanophotonics Fabrication facility is based around a focused ion-beam (FIB) etching machine.

New Ultrafast Laser Facility

This second new laboratory is for the study of ultrafast phenomena. Physical systems that are very small normally have the added attraction that they are also very fast. For example the time taken to switch on a transistor in a computer processor, store a bit of data on a computer hard drive, or fold a protein molecule, can in each case be reduced to less than 1 nanosecond. To understand how these processes take place, very short pulses of light are used to record a stroboscopic movie of the system changing state. The time resolution of the movie is determined solely by the width of the pulse of light. The new laser system has a pulse of just 60 femtoseconds while its wavelength is continuously tunable from the near ultra-violet to the infrared. Time resolved spectroscopy allows information to be obtained about the changing state of different chemical species within the system being studied. The new facility has widespread application across the research themes within the School of Physics, with particular relevance to electronic, photonic, magnetic and biological systems.

For more details contact Dr R. J. Hicken.

new ultrafast laser laboratory

The new Ultrafast Laser facility is for the study of ultrafast phenomena and has widespread application across the research themes within the School of Physics.


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