Applied Optics Group

School of Physical Sciences

The Applied Optics Group (AOG) develops advanced optical systems for imaging and sensing, with applications in medicine, science and industry. One of our core strengths is in optical coherence tomography for medical imaging, alongside research interests in adaptive optics, microscopy, endoscopy, photoacoustics and spectroscopy. The group also has expertise in high-speed microwave photonics and acousto-, electro- and magneto-optics.

We are part of the School of Physical Sciences at the University of Kent, based on the Canterbury Campus in South East England, around one hour from central London by train.

There is a long history of research in biomedical optics in the AOG; the group was the first to acquire en face optical coherence tomography (OCT) images from the retina and developed the first combined optical coherence tomography/scanner laser opthalmoscope (OCT/SLO).

Technology developed within the AOG has been protected by 17 patents and reported in over 150 journal papers and conference presentations since 2010. We have been supported by over £7M in grant funding in the last ten years, from sources including EPSRC, BBSRC, NIHR, ERC, EC, Innovate UK, and the Leverhulme Trust.

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We work in areas including OCT, photoacoustic imaging, confocal microscopy and endomicroscopy, optical design, light-tissue interaction, optical sources, fast tuneable lasers, and signal processing methods. We are particularly interested in validating these technologies in a clinical or industrial setting. Read more about our research.


The AOG is home to four academics, as well as research associates, fellows, postgraduate students, and visitors, working on a range of projects within biomedical optics and optical sensing. Read more about our members and their research.


We occupy two floors of the University’s Photonics Centre, giving us access to a suite of modern optical laboratories and a clean room. We are equipped with state-of-the-art lasers and optical test, measurement and prototyping equipment, and are supported by a range of technical services and workshops. Read more about our facilities.

Work and Study

We often have funded opportunities for postdocs and PhD students, and welcome enquiries from self-funded students for PhD/ MSc research degrees. We are also happy to support strong postdoctoral candidates in applying for external funding. Our alumni go on to a range of positions in industry and academia. See our vacancies or Read more about postgraduate study.


We work with a range of academic partners, clinicians and industry. In recent years we have co-ordinated two European Training Networks (HIRESOMI and UBAPHODESA), and have run joint projects with many different UK and international partners, forming a virtual centre for biomedical optics. We are always interested in making contact with potential collaborators, please get in touchRead more about our collaborations.