£40 million photon science centre

The University of Manchester has launched a new £40m world-class research institute, which will pioneer advanced light and laser technologies.


The University of Manchester has launched a new £40m world-class research institute, which will pioneer advanced light and laser technologies.



The Photon Science Institute (PSI), launched on January 18 with support from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), is the largest research and teaching centre of its kind in the UK with a projected annual research income of £5m and more than 30 full-time academic staff.



Photon Science – ‘light for science’ – encompasses the application of light in many diverse fields. Common everyday applications include, for example, optical fibre telecommunications and DVD players.



Professor Klaus Müller-Dethlefs, who is internationally recognised for his contributions to molecular spectroscopy, having invented the widely adopted ZEKE (Zero Electron Kinetic Energy) photoelectron method, is leading the Institute as its Director.



Research will focus on the development and application of new and existing laser technologies and systems spanning medicine, pharmaceutical, the life sciences and the physical sciences. Projects will include the development of new optical materials such as solar cells, and the development of new non-invasive medical technologies.



An example of current research within the Institute is the use of micro tweezers, lasers beams used like tweezers, to manipulate micro particles such as biological cells. Potential applications for this technology include the characterisation and manipulation of single human cells.



“Using the most advanced lasers and optical technologies we will be taking on some very challenging problems of science with applications in the world of medicine, biosciences, engineering, environmental and physical sciences,” said Professor Müller-Dethlefs.


The PSI will have over £15m worth laser equipment and is soon to be based within a new £55m University building, scheduled for completion in 2007. A full-time postgraduate MSc in Photon Science will be offered from October 2006.