About the Optoelectronics & Biomedical Photonics Group

Aston Institute of Photonics Technologies

Aston University


The Optoelectronics and Biomedical Photonics Group at Aston University conducts the cutting-edge experimental and theoretical research on a wide variety of high-power and ultrashort-pulse compact laser diode based sources, emitting in the visible, near-IR, mid-IR and THz spectral ranges, nanostructrures, nonlinear and integrated optics, and biophotonics.

The group has been involved in a number of projects developing novel laser architectures and laser-based optical tools. Much of this research is carried out with industrial partners and these collaborations have led to a number of new devices being brought to market. This work has primarily been in the area of compact and efficient laser systems and their applications, underpinned by funding from a number of sources, especially the EU-FP7, EPSRC and KTP funding.

One of the major directions has been on CW and ultrafast semiconductor quantum-dot-based lasers, funded through €14.7M FAST-DOT project, coordinated by Prof. Rafailov. The group has undertaken a very significant programme of research in conjunction with many companies across Europe to manufacture and develop low-cost, compact and turn-key laser sources. This work produced a range of new mode-locked and CW laser sources, which have enabled a number of applications in biomedical imaging and therapy, resulting in a few patents. This led to a number of spin-off projects, such as the development of terahertz emitters (€1.1M EU-FP7 TERA, NEXPRESSO, EPSRC and KTP projects) and devices producing widely-tunable visible light (€3.8M FP7-ITN PHOQUS project), as well as the development of novel laser systems for nonlinear optical microscopy of biological organisms.

Another major research vector on the development of compact and efficient lasers has been the investigation of an old optical phenomena called ‘conical refraction’ in which light passing through a biaxial crystal leads to an output beam with an unusual cone shaped intensity profile and polarisation properties. This was used to make an incredibly-efficient (close to 99% of the theoretical efficiency) laser. This research was funded by €1.7M HiCore and KTP projects.

The success of FP7-IAPP supported €1.7M MEDILASE and €2.4M ABLADE projects has led to the development of an integrated laser diagnostic and therapeutic technique for the use in detecting and treating solid cancers by the incorporation of new laser sources with different wavelengths into a compact system designed specifically to address some of the unmet clinical needs.

Among our current major research themes is also the development of high efficiency and high-brightness monolithic and hybrid all-semiconductor GaN-based white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with the aim to replace conventional light sources with superior highly-efficient white LEDs. This work is funded by €12.5M FP7-IP program called NEWLED and coordinated by Prof. Rafailov.