Optical Sensing Group


Dr Alex Thompson

Office B411, Bessemer Building,
South Kensington Campus

What we do

We use optical spectroscopy to develop new and improved diagnostic tools. This includes techniques such as fluorescence, Raman and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, and involves the development of devices ranging from wearable sensors through to fibre-optic probes.

Why it is important

Our research has a number of potential clinical applications including improved monitoring of clinical therapies and interventions (e.g. in inflammatory bowel disease and malnutrition), early diagnosis of infection, and even margin mapping in tumour resection surgery.

How it can benefit patients

The devices we are developing can potentially provide less invasive and lower cost diagnostics. In turn, this may facilitate patient benefits including earlier diagnosis, earlier identification of relapse (e.g. in therapy response monitoring applications), more widespread deployment and more comfortable patient experiences (e.g. through use of less invasive probes and sensors).

Summary of current research

Key research projects currently underway include: fluorescence spectroscopy for non-invasive assessment of gut function; Raman spectroscopy for point-of-care identification of urine infections; and development of fibre-optic Raman probes for in vivo diagnostics.

Tabs - Funders / Etc

Related Centres


Key internal collaborators include:

The group also has numerous further internal and external collaborators through the HUNGer project.

PhD Students

  • Elena Monfort Sanchez
  • Jonathan Gan
  • Teddy Fletcher
  • Stephanie Clark
  • Simon Dryden
  • Aatikah Majid (Department of Chemistry)

Clinical Trials

We are currently running one clinical trial investigating the use of fluorescence spectroscopy for non-invasive assessment of gut health. Details can be found here.  

Lead Researchers