Building on our heritage of computer-based optical design, we utilise adaptive optics and structured illumination to manipulate optical wavefronts for applications ranging from ophthalmology to metrology of astronomical optics, exploiting segmented mirror and spatial light modulator technologies. Adaptive optics initially arose to solve the problem facing astronomers of how to overcome the severe limitation on imaging resolution caused by the effects of random, dynamic aberrations arising from atmospheric turbulence.  In our research we are developing the technology and applying it to other situations such as biomedical microscopy and ophthalmic imaging. Spatial light modulators are applied to define arbitrary wave-front shapes for metrology of large mirrors, to control the point spread function in microscope systems for polarisation and super-resolution imaging and for optical trapping.

For imaging we use structured illumination to realise wide-field optical sectioning. Non-imaging applications of programmable light include precision opto-genetics and optical tweezers.


Imaging science is a major group activity and encompasses significant technology development for biomedical applications in research, drug discovery and healthcare, including microscopy, endoscopy and tomography as well as automated imaging for high content analysis and sensing and manipulating pathogenic bacteria. We have particular strengths in fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) to contrast different molecular species and environments and to read out protein-protein interactions, super-resolved microscopy (including PALM and STORM) for imaging below the diffraction limit, and confocal Brillouin scattering microscopy to measure the micromechanical properties of biological tissues. Our imaging technology is being applied in hospitals to clinical diagnostic challenges for cancer, osteoarthritis, heart disease and ophthalmology and to preclinical tomographic imaging of disease models.

Research sub-groups