Optics and Photonics Research Group
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The OAP Research Group has a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities from supporting facilities such as micro and nano fabrication and cell and tissue culture to equipment such as wavelength tunable femto-second pulsed lasers. Instrumentation is one of our research specialities and we have developed and built several unique facilities which are used by the group, the wider academic community and industry.




Supporting facilities

Micro and nano fabrication and complementary testing

  • Microlithography suite (spin coat, thermal evaporation, sputter coating, mask aligner)
  • Nano particle fabrication - dedicated wet chemical benches and fume hoods
  • Optical microscopy, AFM and optical thin film thickness measurement
  • 100m2 clean room equipped with plasma ashing, e-beam evaporation RIE and PVD

Cell and tissue culture

  • 3T3 fibroblasts, Caco-2 intestinal epithelium, Calu-3 airway epithelium, ARPE-19 retinal pigment epithelium, Jurkat immune (T) cells, HEK kidney cell lines
  • Dedicated cell culture and containment facility (PC2), comprising dual incubators, sterile dissection and primary culture station, culture hood
  • Leica SP2 confocal microscope, Nikon TiEclipse live cell imaging microscope with environmental chamber (gas/thermal/humidity balanced), phase contrast tissue culture microscopes, Leica stereo dissection microscope

Access to University of Nottingham facilities including NNNC

  • State-of-the-art TEM, AFM and confocal Raman microscopy
  • Nano particle analysis: Izon, Nanosight, zetapotential, DLS, Nanosight and disc centrifuge sizing
  • NHS equipment approval (EU Medical Devices Directive 93/42 (2007))

Experimental facilities

Laser systems

  • Several femto-second pulsed lasers systems equipped for pump-probe measurements including one dual laser asynchronous optical sampling system for rapid time scanning capable of reaching over 100GHz usable bandwidth
  • Several high power pico-second pulsed lasers systems with pulse repetition rates from 1kHz to 82MHz and usable frequency ranges from DC to 500MHz
  • Optical detection systems including knife-edge detectors, Michelson and Fabry-Perot interferometers and speckle based detectors with usable bandwidth up to 500MHz


  • Several microscopy facilities including conventional, confocal, phase contrast, total internal reflection microscopy,and surface plasmon microscopy
  • Multiple optical scanning acoustic microscopy suites, some with non linear acoustic imaging capability
  • Spatially resolved acoustic spectroscopy imaging (SRAS) with orientation imaging
  • Scanning ion conductance microscopy

Computational facilities

  • VLSI/optical sensor design capability - 6 Cadence seats, Xilinx FPGA design, ADS, Mentor modelsim - over 35 optical sensor chips taped out to date
  • Large unix facility
  • Optical and physical finite element and finite-difference-time-domain capability and access through Nottingham HPC (166 node Beowulf cluster, 2,500cores, 5TB RAM)

Optical testing technology

  • High-power laser diode characterisation
  • Transparent and semi-transparent thin film measurement
  • UV photoluminescence characterisation with both nitrogen and helium cryostats


  • Space Integrated Optical Sensors (SIOS) – Imaging of cells
  • Cell Optics Lab (fka IBIOS)
  • Ultrasonics lab – imaging of cells
  • Healthcare Labs

Optics and Photonics Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 95 15536
email: optics@nottingham.ac.uk