More SUPA research:


Physics at the University of Strathclyde

Research fields for the Department of Physics and the Institute of Photonics.


Quantum Optics and Nonlinear Photonics

Theory and simulations of optical systems and photonics devices focus on quantum information schemes and spatio-temporal complexity. These activities link with experimental work on cold atoms, Bose-Einstein condensates, atom optics and dissipative solitons performed in the department and on optical angular momentum done at Glasgow. The group has major expertise in high performance computing.

Ultrafast Sources and Applications

Development of novel ultrafast laser sources flourishes alongside the implementation of powerful new diagnostic and investigative techniques probing femtosecond dynamics in matter. The high power femtosecond lasers of the Terahertz to Optical Pulse Source (TOPS) facility underpin work in laser-driven wakefield acceleration (ALPHA-X), non-linear optics of plasmas, super-radiant amplification,  free-electron lasers and chirped pulse Raman.

Novel Light Sources

Innovative work has been ongoing for many years in the development of semiconductor light emitters and solid state lasers. Notable aspects include surface emitting lasers (VECSELS, VCSELs & polariton lasers) and III-nitride based light sources. Advances in quantum cascade lasers are being applied to sensitive gas detection systems and those in photonic crystal fibres being exploited for use in novel lasers.


Techniques including fluorescence lifetimes, laser-based multiphoton microscopy, near-field microscopy, and resonance energy transfer are used for novel research in biophotonics. Close industrial & clinical collaborations focus on molecular bio-systems such as proteins, cells and melanin and utilise in-vivo sensing of important metabolites. On a larger scale, work in environmental optics includes optical monitoring of ecological processes and remote sensing in the marine environment.

Nano-photonics and Structured Materials

Techniques for the high resolution characterisation of advanced materials, such as single-molecules, quantum dots, nano-structured semiconductors and colloids are being advanced. Major instrumentation centres are based around fluorescence metrology and scanning electron microscopy focussing on the properties of photonic materials.


Relativistic Electrons, Lasers and Discharges

Activities in experimental and theoretical relativistic electron beam physics, electron cyclotron masers, cyclotron autoresonance masers (CARMs), free electron lasers, superradiant sources, novel electron sources, auroral kilometric radiation experiments, pseudospark physics, plasma applications and the physics of 4th generation light sources.

Laser Induced Nuclear Phenomena

A Strathclyde/Paisley collaboration in laser driven plasma nuclear physics has been first to create medical isotopes, heavy ion fission and fusion, transmutation of nuclear waste and neutron spallation using high intensity lasers.

Atomic and Molecular Diagnostic Processes in Plasmas

The role of atoms, ions and molecules in high temperature fusion and stellar plasmas, such as the solar corona and low temperature discharges, are under investigation. Theoretical computational work focuses mainly on electron collisions and spectral emission from plasmas and links closely to major Earth observation, astrophysical, fusion and heavy ion ring laboratories in Europe.


The formation of biologically interesting molecules in the gas phase and on dust grain surfaces in molecular clouds and protostellar disks is being investigated using laboratory experiments.

Institute of Photonics

All-Solid-State Laser Development

This group specialises in the science, technology and engineering of all-solid-state light sources and works particularly with short-pulse systems for practical applications. This involves detailed investigation and understanding of the laser physics, coupled with a practical approach to system engineering.

III-V Semiconductor Optoelectronic Materials & Devices

This group undertakes a broad range of activity ranging from growth of GaN and related alloys (underpinned by an MOCVD growth reactor), research into III-V materials, device design and device processing, to the development of semiconductor lasers, and LED sources, with a particular emphasis on surface emitting devices.


This group concentrates on the suitability of ultra-fast lasers and other light sources for biomedical sensing and imaging and also materials processing. The objective is to provide complete solutions, in which the light source is one, often key, part.