About us

Engineering Photonics at Cranfield University is one of the UK's leading optical sensing and instrumentation research centres. The department's research portfolio is broad, encompassing fibre optic sensors, optical flow measurement instrumentation, speckle interferometry, spectroscopic gas detection and medical imaging. The emphasis of our activities lies in the development of instrumentation to tackle engineering measurement problems, while offering scope for more speculative, blue sky research.

Our department comprises about 25 people: academics, post-doctoral researchers, post-graduate research students, a technician and an administrator, and is led by Professor Ralph Tatam, who has worked in this area for more that a quarter of a century. Over the years we have published a large number of research papers, patented a few things, and used many of the instruments that we have developed in anger, in real-world environments, making measurements that are often not possible using other technologies. We work on solving measurement problems on different scales; recently we have placed optical fibre sensors in large objects and structures with the aim of measuring physical parameters like strain, temperature and pressure, in superconducting magnets, inside composite materials used in the manufacture of aircraft, on railway tracks and in concrete foundation piles. At the other end of the scale we are examining the influence of individual molecular layers of materials, deposited onto an optical fibre device, on the transmission spectrum of the optical fibre with the aim of highly sensitive and selective detection of chemicals.

We have also been developing gas sensors to detect the concentration of greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane, and developing medical imaging techniques to look under the surface of the skin. The historical origin of the group can be traced back to a desire to make measurements of the flow of air through jet engines, and is area in which we still have interest.

Viva Success!

Congratulations to Vangelis Rigas on the successful defence of his PhD thesis covering the use of optical coherence tomography in microfluidic flow velocity measurement.

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Optical Fibre Sensors: Lausanne 2018

In September, Antonio Rendon-Romero, Jonathan Hallam, and Steve James travelled to Switzerland to attend the 26th International Conference on Optical Fibre Sensors. Antonio presented a poster on his work on fibre Bragg grating immunosensors and Jonathan delivered a talk on the use of single-mode optical fibres in optical coherence tomography. A Fibre Optic Long Period …

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Young Researchers' Futures meeting: Edinburgh 2018

In September, Jonathan Hallam returned to Edinburgh to attend the Royal Academy of Engineering's Young Researchers' Futures meeting. Organised by the Academy’s panel for Biomedical Engineering, this biennial, multi-disciplinary event provides a forum for the best young engineers and scientists from throughout the UK. Jonathan presented his work on high-speed microfluidic particle velocimetry using optical …

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International Mass Spectrometry: Florence 2018

In August, Célia Lourenço travelled to Florence to attend the 22nd International Mass Spectrometry Conference. Célia presented two posters covering both her PhD research on mass spectrometry as well as her recent work investigating the volatile constituent of composite materials at elevated temperatures. The conference was held at the historic "Fortezza da Basso", a masterpiece of Renaissance military …

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