Newsletter Story

Tamper-proof holograms for anti-counterfeit marking of high-value products

A research group (Applied Optics and Photonics) led by Professor Duncan Hand at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh has developed a laser-based process for the generation of phase holographic structures directly onto the surface of metal and glass substrates.  The holograms are generated by either only melting or a combination of melting and evaporation, with sub-micron depth control of the hologram individual features (called pixels).

A synopsis of the symposium

Dr Robert R. Thomson
Institute of Photonics and Quantum Science, Heriot Watt University
Photonics is one SUPA’s strengths, with many world-leading groups across SUPA institutes, investigating the full breadth of photonics research – from fundamentals to applications. The latest SU2P annual symposium, held at Edinburgh University on the 4th & 5th of April, further confirmed that that SUPA is at the forefront of photonic research, and here I give a brief personal perspective of some of the highlights.

MEMS Gravimeter

Members of the Institute for Gravitational Research (IGR) and the School on Engineering have published an article in Nature titled: “Measurement of the Earth Tides with a MEMS Gravimeter”. The Earth tides are the elastic deformation of the Earth caused by the changing phase of the Sun and the Moon, and the Glasgow microelectromechanical system – or MEMS - is the first such device to measure this phenomenon (see figure 1).

SUPA helps shape the future of European photonics funding

In 2014, Photonics21 published a “multiannual strategic roadmap”, setting out a strategy for European photonics to solve the grand societal challenges and to generate sustainable economic growth in Europe. On a practical level, this document outlined priorities for Horizon2020 funding calls between 2014 and 2020. Photonics21 has continued to refine and update this priorities and propose call topics to the European Commission since then.

Ultra-low Vibration Labs in St Andrews

The Ultra-low vibration (ULV) labs in St Andrews are the most advanced of its kind in the UK and one of just a handful worldwide. The facility achieves vibration levels which are about two order of magnitude better than the best industry standard. They will allow for atomic scale characterization of the electronic states and magnetic structure in quantum materials. Since opening of the facility in May last year, three bespoke scanning tunnelling microscopes, which were developed by the research group of Dr Wahl, have been installed.

Rita Tojieri

Rita TojieriI'm an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow working in galaxy evolution and observational cosmology at the School of Physics and Astronomy in St Andrews. I did my undergraduate and PhD at Edinburgh, after which I moved to Portsmouth as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation for 5.5 years. I moved back to Scotland in March 2014 when I took up my current fellowship in St Andrews.

Jim Hough - Life after SUPA

Since passing on the SUPA baton to Alan in May I seem to have been busier than ever, mainly in the area of contributing to international planning for the future of the gravitational wave field but also in helping with the preparation of our collaborative consortium grant application to STFC and spending time - but not enough yet - in the lab with our graduate students, with me being taught how to do experimental research in the computer au