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Optoelectronics & Biomedical Photonics

The Optoelectronics & Biomedical Photonics group 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 €11.8M FP7-IP program called NEWLED and coordinated by Prof. Rafailov.

Research areas

  • Portable, low-cost, reliable and highly-efficient ultrashort pulse Near-IR (1µm-1.3µm) laser sources based on quantum-dot and quantum-well semiconductor structures. Part of this work was funded by FAST-DOT, €14.7M European project involving 18 partners (2008-2012) and by People Marie Curie Action project NiNTENDU-PULSE (2011-2013).
  • Broadly tunable room-temperature mid-IR Quantum Cascade lasers (3.2µm-3.3µm) for the use in compact spectroscopic gas sensing system, free space communication, atmospheric sensing, environmental monitoring and detection of dangerous substances (like CO, N2O, HCL, CH2O, CH4).

    Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Ksenia FedorovaDr. Andrei Gorodetsky Mr. Amit YadavMr. Modestas Zulonas
  • Compact, efficient, broadly tunable visible laser sources (500 nm – 650 nm). Part of this work was funded by the FAST-DOT.
  • Generation of UV-visible and IR/mid-IR radiation using novel quasi-phase-matched nonlinear waveguided crystals based on different semiconductors. This work was funded by EPSRC (2006-2009).

    Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Ksenia Fedorova
  • The development of an ultra-compact, room temperature source of coherent THz radiation. This work is based primarily on the optimisation of devices and structures based on quantum-dot semiconductor materials, as well as existing materials such as low-temperature-grown gallium arsenide and indium gallium arsenide. This work was funded by EPSRC (2010-2013).
  • The fabrication of low-cost, compact, room-temperature terahertz sources emitting few tens of µW powers at 0.3–1.5 THz and beyond for Safety and Security applications, Quality control, Biophotonics, and medical imaging, with the particular application of THz radiation for the non-invasive and non-spreading diagnose and investigation of superficial cancers (skin cancers, gastric cancers, cervical cancers, colon cancers, etc.). This work is funded by €1.1M TERA EU-FP7 Project (2012-2016) and FP7 project NEXPRESSO.

    Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Ksenia FedorovaDr. Andrei GorodetskyDr. Natalia Bazieva
  • Optical schemes for stable single and dual-wavelength operations of laser diodes, using volume Bragg gratings and fibre Bragg gratings. Dual-wavelength operation is particularly desirable for terahertz difference signal generation and for super-resolution microscopy.
  • Generation of two optical modes in the IR and visible spectral region with a tuneable difference frequency between 0.3THz and 33 THz.

    Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Ksenia FedorovaDr. Andrei Gorodetsky
  • Development of novel techniques for shaping the laser beams (Conical Refraction, Bessel Beams, etc.) producing unique optical properties for micro-machining, materials processing and life sciences applications.
  • Conical Refraction investigation was funded by €1.7M HiCore Project (2012-2014).
  • Work on Bessel Beams was funded by People Marie Curie Action project SeNDBeams (2010-2012).

    Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Andrei Gorodetsky
The development of high efficiency and high brightness monolithic and hybrid all-semiconductor WHITE light-emitting GaN-based diodes with the aim to replace conventional light sources with superior highly efficient white LEDs. This work is funded by €11.8M FP7 IP program called NEWLED.

Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Ksenia Fedorova, Dr. Ilya Titkov, Mr. Amit Yadav, Mr. Modestas Zulonas
  • Amongst our research interests is the therapeutic potential of novel and compact near-infrared diode lasers in the context of photo-medicine, particularly in new forms of photodynamic therapy (collaboration with the Scottish Photodynamic Therapy Centre at Ninewells Hospital (Dundee), in this research direction.
  • Multi-functional non-invasive laser diagnostics systems for the optical analysis of blood and biological tissues using several non-invasive diagnostic methods, including Laser-Doppler Flowmetry, Tissues Reflectance Oximetry, Laser Fluorescence Diagnostics, and pulse oximetry method. The main application areas in medical practice are Angiology and Physiology, Transplantation, Gastroenterology, Oncology and Radiology. This research was funded by €1.7M FP7 IAPP project called MEDILASE, and is partially funded by FP7 IDP project called PHOQUS (value €3.8M).
  • Advanced diagnosis and treatment of bladder cancer. The project is based on results which show that cancerous cells may be identified under infrared light analysis, and infrared lasers developed here may be implemented as part of the project. This research is funded by €2.4M FP7 IAPP project called ABLADE.

Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Karina LitvinovaDr. Sergei Sokolovsky

Research in novel, compact femtosecond lasers and their application to two- photon, second harmonic and third harmonic imaging in fixed and live tissue samples.

Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Ksenia Fedorova
Research in broadly tunable continuous wave and picosecond lasers and their application in Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM) and Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) with a focus on quantitative imaging in biological samples.

Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Ksenia Fedorova


Key applications

  • Multiphoton Imaging (two- photon, second harmonic and third harmonic imaging) in fixed and live tissue samples, Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM)
  • Micro-machining, materials processing
  • Safety and Security applications: THz and Mid-IR spectroscopic gas sensing systems, environmental monitoring and detection of dangerous substances
  • THz imaging  
  • Automotive  (interior and exterior automotive lighting)  
  • Indoor and outdoor display 
  • LCD TV/monitor backlighting  
  • Flash LED ( digital camera, PDA, mobile phone)
  • Illumination (general lighting)  
  • Biophotonics and medicine: diagnostics for angiology and physiology, transplantation, gastroenterology, oncology and radiology 
  • Non-invasive and non-spreading diagnose and investigation of superficial cancers 
  • Monitoring of dementia and stroke cerebral blood flow

Key projects

  • Fletchers funds  (value £125k) 
  • FP7 IDP project PHOQUS (value €3.8M)  
  • FP7 IAPP project ADLADE (value €2.4M)
  • FP7 IP program NEWLED  (value €11.8M)
  • FP7 R4SME project HiCore (value €1.7M)
  • FP7 project NEXPRESSO 
  • FP7 IAPP project TERA (value €1.4M)
  • People Marie Curie Action project (Dr Y. Ding, NiNTENDU-PULSE).
  • FP7 IAPP project called MEDILASE (value €1.7M)
  • People Mari Curie Action project (Dr G. Sokolovskii, SeNDBeams).
  • EPSRC grant (EP/H015795/1), “Compact diode-laser-pumped THz source based on a novel photomixer device.” 
  • People Mari Curie Action project (Dr E.Semenova). 
  • EU ERDF project (value €0.7M).
  • FP7 IP program FAST DOT (18 partners) (value 14.8M Euros)
  • EPSRC grant (EP/E005381), “Novel quasi-phase-matched semiconductor nonlinear crystals to generate light in broad wavelength ranges.”

some random lasers

Key people

Prof. Edik Rafailov, Dr. Ksenia FedorovaDr. Andrei GorodetskyDr. Karina LitvinovaDr. Sergei SokolovskyDr. Ilya Titkov, Mr. Amit YadavDr. Natalia Bazieva, Mr. Modestas Zulonas