Applied Optics Group

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Lab technician working

The Applied Optics Group occupies two floors in the University of Kent’s Photonics Centre in the Jennison Engineering Building on the Canterbury campus. We are well equipped with state-of-the-art lasers and optical tools and supported by technical services and workshops. Several rooms across the 400 square metres of floor space have been designed to host lasers and are equipped with water cooling, interlock and safety features. We welcome enquiries from industry or academia about the use of our facilities, please contact us.

Optical laboratories

We have a total of nine optical laboratories, two of them double-sized, hosting nine full-size vibration-isolation optical table systems as well as several other smaller, non-isolated optical breadboards. All rooms are set up for laser work, and selected rooms are equipped for high power lasers with safety interlocks and cooling systems.

Clean air suite

Our clean air suite is equipped with a CO2 laser for fibre tapering and a Vytran glass processing system and mechanical cleaver for advanced fibre processing, such as fusing of speciality fibres and the creation and lenses and tapered fibres.

Workshop facilities

We have access to highly-qualified mechanical and electronic workshops. For smaller jobs, we also have our own small electrical and mechanical workshop space, including 3D printers, and we have a chemical prep room equipped with two fume cupboards.

Imaging systems

We maintain a number of fully-functional spectral domain and swept-source OCT systems suitable for pre-clinical studies, including a 1060 nm OCT system on cart, with movable arm, for anterior chamber, skin and art investigations; a 1300 nm OCT system for histology, an 820 nm OCT systems with versatile scanning (T, A, B and C-scans) on a chin rest, and further systems at 1050 nm and 1300 nm.

Optical sources

We have a wide range of semiconductor and fibre lasers/amplifiers, tunable laser sources for fluorescence lifetime imaging, large bandwidth sources such as superluminescent diodes and amplified spontaneous emission sources,  swept laser sources for OCT, extremely large bandwidth sources (NKT Photonics), Titanium Sapphire lasers, an argon laser, a CO2 laser and He-Ne lasers.

Optical and electronic measurement instrumentation

We operate two fibre-input large-band optical spectrum analyzers, a double monochromator, a PC controlled spectrometer, power meters, RF spectrum analyzers up to 20 GHz, oscilloscopes up to 20 GHz, network analyzers up to 500 MHz, four lock-in amplifiers, ultrafast photodetectors up to 20 GHz, several digital 1 GHz oscilloscopes (HP and LeCroy) and low frequency spectrum analyzers.

Fibre optics

We have fusion splicers, a Vytran glass processing system for producing speciality splices and fibre tapers, and accessories for cutting, cleaving and inspecting fibres.

Scanning devices

We have a wide range of resonant and galvanometer scanners, as well as sub-micrometre and micrometre computer-controlled translation stages.

Computing and digital processing

We have a range of computing facilities, including computers equipped with frame grabbers and imaging software for data acquisition and processing, and an optical design workstation with the Zemax optical design package.