At any one time there are about 15 of us in the Optics research group. We cover a wide spectrum, from blue-sky research to applied commercial development.
We are best known for our work on optical angular momentum (where light beams can spin microscopic objects) and our development of optical tweezers (which use laser beams to manipulate the microscopic world). We also study how large-scale transformation-optics devices can be built with micro-optics components, and how optical beams interact with cold atoms and gases.
Funded PhD opportunities
We are looking for smart, enthusiastic PhD UK/EU applicants to take up funded places in:
- Quantum Imaging (making images from light that has never seen the object)
- Quantum Storage (using cold atoms to store quantum images)
The Optics Group play a leading role in one of the UK’s four Quantum Technology Hubs. QuantIC will link world-leading quantum technologists with global industry leaders to transform imaging in alignment with industry priorities.
Together we will pioneer imaging and sensing systems with breakthrough functionality by developing a family of quantum-enhanced multidimensional cameras operating across a range of wavelengths, timescales and length-scales.
As they propagate, some light beams rotate hence carry angular momentum. When light strikes a particle its radiation pressure pushes it away, but the angular momentum spins it. We use this light to power miniature machines, make tests of quantum mechanics and improve communication systems.
Light from a laser pointer can move microscopic particles like individual cells and bacteria. We use computer controlled holograms to split a single laser into many beams each controlling a particle. Using high-speed cameras we watch, listen and through advanced interfaces feel the micro world.
We are investigating the interface of atoms with shaped light beams. In a magneto-optical trap we keep atoms at some 100 micro Kelvin in order to store optical quantum information in the atomic states and coherences.
Much of standard ray optics is informed by theorems derived for globally continuous phase fronts. Using micro-structured elements, we create light beams with piecewise continuous phase fronts, whose ray optics is not limited by those theorems, and we explore the new possibilities.
Spooky action at a distance is the essence of quantum mechanics, linking the properties of distant objects. Using holograms we measure the shape of individual particles of light (photons). These spooky photons create new opportunities in processing, communication and imaging.
Three unique cameras that challenge the way we see the world: a cheap camera attachment for taking 3D pictures, a video camera containing just 1 pixel, and a camera that can take pictures so fast it can see the motion of light through air.