Dr Kate Sugden

Kate Sugden

Phone number
+44 (0)121 204 3498


Room number
North Wing 313

I joined Aston University in 2004 as a Medici Fellow having spent seven years in industry and became a Senior Lecturer in 2008. I am currently the Undergraduate Programme Director for Electronic Engineering.

My main research interests are in fibre optic sensing, fibre Bragg gratings and fs materials processing.

After my PhD and a two year stint as a research fellow I worked for ADC in Australia for a year transferring fibre Bragg grating technology into a production environment. When I returned to the UK I worked as a director for two fibre optic companies, first for Oxford Fiber Optic Tools, and then we raised the Venture Capital funding to form a second company, Indigo Photonics, in 2001. I am currently a founding director of Astasense Ltd.

My teaching interests lie in the delivery of courses that holistically develop a broad range of engineering skills. Engineering is a multifaceted, doing subject, you can’t just read text books and expect to be a good engineer. My formal teaching is targeted at Foundation and First year level students. My courses are designed to give students experience of real engineering tasks and learn in a problem based way. I also supervise Final, Masters and PhD level research projects.

Qualifications & Education

  • BSc (Hons) Physics, University of Birmingham, 1989

  • MSc (distinction), St Andrews University, 1991

  • PhD in Fabrication and Applications of Fibre Bragg Gratings, Aston University, 1996


  • 2001 - 2003: Technical Director Indigo Photonics Ltd

  • 1999 - 2001: Technical Director Oxford Fiber Optic Tools Ltd

  • 1997 - 1998: Senior Physicist ADC Pty Ltd, Canberra, Australia

Teaching activity

  • SE0EEF: Electronic Engineering Foundations

  • EE1ESE: Electronic Systems Engineering

  • EE1EPE: Engineering Projects and Entrepreneurship

 Research interests

  • Fibre Bragg gratings

  • Fibre optic sensing

  • Fs machining

Recent research funding

  • Marie Curie IEF, FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IEF-275703-IFOCS, In-fibre optical cavitiy structures for telecommunications and sensing (2011-2013)

  • PhD CASE Award NPL (2008-2011)

  • PhD CASE Award Oxford Lasers (2006-2009)

  • Technology Programme INETEGRATED WING (2006-2009)

  • Technology Programme CONSTRUCT (Airbus, BAE Systems, Insensys, Deutsch, Aston University, Messier-Dowty, Ultra Electronics SCS, Ultra Electronics) (2006-2009)

  • Technology Programme Fs Machining FIMA (Oxford Lasers, Fiberlogix, Aston University) (2006-2009)

  • PhD CASE Award Avery Weigh-Tronix (2005-2008)

  • DTI LINK Programme ROADS (Sensa, BP, National Grid, Southampton University, Aston University) (2004-2008)

PhD Supervision
PhD projects I currently supervise:

  • Janarthanan Rasakanthan – femtosecond inscription

  • Graham Lee – femtosecond machining and sensing systems

Membership of Professional Bodies

Selected publications

  • G N Smith, T Allsop, K Kalli, C Koutsides, R Neal, K Sugden, P Culverhouse, and I Bennion, "Characterisation and performance of a Terfenol-D coated femtosecond laser inscribed optical fibre Bragg sensor with a laser ablated microslot for the detection of static magnetic fields," Opt. Express 19, 363-370 (2011), http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-19-1-363

  • J Rasakanthan, K Sugden and P H. Tomlins, "Processing and rendering of Fourier domain optical coherence tomography images at a line rate over 524 kHz using a graphics processing unit", J. Biomed. Opt. 16, 020505 (Feb 22, 2011); doi:10.1117/1.3548153, http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3548153

  • P H Tomlins, G N Smith, P D Woolliams, J Rasakanthan, and K Sugden, "Femtosecond laser micro-inscription of optical coherence tomography resolution test artifacts," Biomed. Opt. Express 2, 1319-1327 (2011)  http://www.opticsinfobase.org/boe/abstract.cfm?URI=boe-2-5-1319

  • K Sugden, D J Webb, R P Reeves, Laboratory focused learning of core electronic engineering concepts in the first year of an honours degree programme, EE2010 – Inspiring the next generation of engineers, Aston University, UK, July 2010

  • X Shu, K Sugden, K Byron, “Bragg-grating-based all-fiber distributed Gires-Tournois etalons”, Optics Letters,  v 28, n 11,  Jun 1, 2003, p 881-883X Shu, K Sugden, K Byron, “Bragg-grating-based all-fiber distributed Gires-Tournois etalons”, Optics Letters,  v 28, n 11,  Jun 1, 2003, p 881-883

  • G Lloyd, L Everall, K Sugden,  I Bennion, “Resonant cavity time-division-multiplexed fiber Bragg grating sensor interrogator” IEEE Photonics Technology Letters,  v 16, n 10,  October, 2004, p 2323-2325

  • In-fiber polymer–glass hybrid waveguide Bragg grating, Kaiming Zhou, Xianfeng Chen, Yicheng Lai, Kate Sugden, Lin Zhang, and Ian Bennion, Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO), San Jose, California, May 4, 2008, Ultrafast Photonics III (CTuU)

  • Fabrication of High Aspect Ratio microfluidic devices Using Direct FS Ablation, Graham Smith, Dimitris Karnakis, Martyn Knowles, Alan Ferguson, Ian Bennion, and Kate Sugden, Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO), San Jose, California, May 4, 2008

  • Y Lai, J Petrovic, T Butler, K Sugden, I Bennion, ‘Side-detection of out-coupled core light from a microfluidic fibre microslit’, Conf on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO2008), San Jose, Californhia, May 2008, CFN4.

Excellent Different Distinctive