PhD Studentship in Photonics for Environmental Monitoring

Department of Engineering Photonics Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, UK Fully funded: £13,726 pa stipend, tax free* Tuition fees paid* Start date Oct 2013. Application deadline 16th June 2013 A PhD studentship is available in photonics based gas sensing, fully funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The aim is to develop new instrumentation for atmospheric monitoring in collaboration with the NERC / Met Office Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurement (FAAM), which is also based at Cranfield. If you want to join us, there is more information on this link *  Stipend rate for 2013-2014. UK residents only. Eligibility rules apply.  

COS Reviews: All-fiber multifunction continuous-wave coherent laser radar at 1.55μmm for range, speed, vibration, and windmeasurements

Review of ‘All-fiber multifunction continuous-wave coherent laser radar at 1.55μmm for range, speed, vibration, and windmeasurements, Christer J. Karlsson, Fredrik Å. A. Olsson, Dietmar Letalick, and Michael Harris, Applied Optics, vol. 39 (21), (2000)’ Reviewed by John Davenport and the Cranfield Optics Society. This paper describes the function of newly developed coherent laser radar (CLR) system and its application to wind measurements, hard target measurements and vibrometry. Along with basic scientific and photonics terminology, the paper assumes the reader is familiar with LIDARoperation. Readers not already familiar with these areas would be advised to check them in advance. The structure Continue reading

The wheels fell off


You know that long and frustrating funding cycle I talked about a while back, well the wheels have fallen off mine causing both a horrible mixed metaphor and my contract to runout. When I finished my PhD, the Department of Engineering Photonics very kindly offered to keep me on as a PostDocs. As I mentioned before, there was no specific funding or project for me to work on, but they seemed to want to keep me and they found some money to pay my salary. The idea was that they would fund me until I managed to get a grant Continue reading

“Engineering optics, from bench top to bedside”

Skin patterns

The head of our department organised a talk yesterday by Bruce Tromberg. Bruce Tromberg is professor of Biomedical Engineering; professor (jointly) of the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine; and a Director of the Beckman Laser Institute. Additionally, he is also…. okay, I’m going to stop there as I’ve just found his CV posted on his homepage and it runs to 59 pages and I only wanted to write a 1000 word article. I think you can take it for granted that Professor Tromberg is very much at the bleeding edge of optics and is highly respected Continue reading

Buying things is hard

Buying things feature

As you may have gathered by my not very oblique references and down right obvious twittering, I have been busy working on a new project over the last few weeks. The project is in its early stages and at this point, I am mostly checking that my data is real before trying to persuade my boss to actually run with it as a project. However, one thing I do need to know is : if I wanted to take it further – how much would it cost in various supplies etc. So yesterday, I took to the various suppliers of Continue reading

ImageJ is amazing


A long time ago in a lab about 20 miles away, I was working for a company called Mediwatch to develop a new micro-array platform that was internally named Zero-flow. It was a nifty little device that was excellent at controlling the flow of a sample over a sensor system. The company I worked for at the time was small and not flush with cash. So for a while the only resources allocated to the design and development of this technology was me. With this budget of £0 I needed to produce an assay system that could demonstrate sensitivity significant Continue reading

Good (paper) lab book house keeping

Academic research cartoon

A few weeks back, I asked the community at large for advice on where to go to set up an online open lab book. The response was fantastic and I have a whole list of places to look to for online support. However, before I jump in to the deep end, and for the benefit of those that are either not scientists – or just quite lazy about lab book keeping – I thought I would take a moment to explain why lab books are important and how you should be using them. At its core, a lab book is Continue reading


Sorry about this but there is no proper blog post sorted for this week. My free time this week has been spent dabbing a small child with calamine lotion after he declared on sunday morning that he “feels a bit itchy’. Normally when my free time/personal life is a bit hectic I try to find some room in my work schedule to put a post together however, I decided to pop into the lab on monday to do a quick experiment and have only emerged since to excitably wave results at my colleagues. So no blog post…..but I don’t want Continue reading

Anatomy of a crowdfunding project

Logo Feature image

Last week I had the rather depressing task of announcing the end of our recent attempts to start a crowdfunding project. As I explained, the project essentially ended because the perceived risk of the project was too great. However, despite this failure I am determined to provide as much information as possible so that anyone wanting to try this for themselves can learn from where we went wrong. I have already put up the majority of details on how the crowdfunding project was to be structured here and here (I also made a 4min video asking for money but I’m Continue reading

This was not a triumph


Our crowdfunding project is dead… As many of you know, over the last 4-5 months I have been desperately trying to launch a large crowdfunding project to raise £100,000 in order to fund 1 year of research into an oil spill sensor system. The key feature of the project was that I would be able to be totally open and share the story of research with a wider audience of people with an interest in science, as it would be 100% funded by generous donators. Not only that, but I also wanted to promote feedback from those funding the research Continue reading