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Marie Curie Doctoral School

NExt generation of Tunable LASers for optical coherence tomography (NETLAS)

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NETLAS is an interdisciplinary and intersectoral European Training Network (ETN) providing state-of-the-art research training in the design and build of the next generation of tunable optical sources for optical coherence tomography (OCT) applied to medical imaging and non-destructive testing (NDT). NETLAS will foster training and education of young researchers in a cutting-edge and rapidly expanding hot topic, while developing 12 novel Photonics technologies and their translation into several distinct areas of application. The training and research programme is born out of a strong and clear need to respond to the challenges of providing faster, deeper, higher resolution imaging and more versatile investigation with a smaller footprint (portable), at a low enough cost to stimulate wide adoption.

NETLAS trains 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) at 8 world-leading academic institutions, and 6 non-academic institutions, thus forming strong interdisciplinary relations implemented through employment of ESRs in academia as well as industry, and through inter-sectoral secondments for all ESRs. To carry out NETLAS we formed a consortium of the best experts, all world leaders in the technology, instrumentation, commercialization and application of tunable lasers to optical coherence tomography (OCT), with extensive experience in industry-academic collaboration and international partnerships. NETLAS has secured the engagement of large companies, SMEs and start-ups with an already established market presence, heavily involved in R&D and new product development, as well as of end users such as clinicians at world renowned research hospitals and engineers at a world renowned research institute involved in NDT, which will ensure that the project stays aligned to the needs of users.

This unique consortium brings together in a cogent way the absolute best research groups and companies spanning several core competences: semiconductors, fibre technology, supercontinuum generation, tunable lasers, medical imaging and NDT. Three leading companies are beneficiaries (hosting ESRs). All technical investigators are patent holders and a large proportion of supervisors have received professional accolades from their peers and are fellows of the Optical Society of America (OSA), The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), Institute of Physics (IOP), or European Optical Society (EOS). It is for this reason that a student coming in contact with different beneficiaries and partners in the consortium will have the unique experience of not only visiting and learning from one single world leading group, but also witnessing world leadership in industry as well: SUP (Photonics Circle of Excellence Award 2004) maker of the best 800 nm semiconductor devices in the world, INNO maker of the best 1050 nm devices in the world, NKT maker of the best photonic crystal fibres and the best supercontinuum sources in the world, and ORS, maker of the fastest commercial swept laser system embraced by world-leading eye imaging groups. Three groups contribute advancements supported by prior ERC Ad grants. This is the first time to our knowledge that a strategic approach is taken to optical source development for coherence imaging, drawing on world leading expertise in semiconductors, supercontinuum and swept source architectures, with the clear aim to swiftly translate results generated in the programme into state-of-the-art products.

For any information, please contact Professor Adrian Podoleanu, email: ap11@kent.ac.uk