A new £1.5m grant will allow researchers at the University of St Andrews to explore light in exciting new ways.
The funding, awarded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), will see St Andrews scientists harness the power of light in the fields of photonics, material sciences and biology.
The St Andrews team say the funding will allow them to ‘go beyond traditional use of light’ in science, allowing them to see and measure deeper, farther and better than ever.
New projects, which will coincidentally coincide with the 2015 Year of Light, will include advanced applications in the working of the mammalian brain and investigating how Antarctic krill might act as monitors of global warming.
The new funding, which recognises the University’s strengths in these areas of research, has been awarded to members of the Biomedical Science Research Complex.
The project will be led by Professor Kishan Dholakia of the School of Physics & Astronomy. He said, “This award is a testament to world-class advances in light beams made by St Andrews scientists over the years and reinforces our position as a truly international centre of excellence in this field.
“Importantly, this field has exceptional scope for fundamental concepts and will impact upon societal challenges in neuroscience, healthcare and climate change. The award is most timely with UNESCO declaring 2015 the International Year of Light; our award will allow us to play a pivotal role in various activities and initiatives enabled by this opportunity.”
Co-applicant Professor Frank Gunn-Moore of the School of Biology at St Andrews added, “Interface research is the most interesting and exciting and this new grant continues the University of St Andrews’ leading reputation in actually achieving this capability of mixing the sciences together”.
The platform grant runs for 5 years and is specifically designed to explore not only new and highly speculative interdisciplinary research, but also provides the means to nurture the research stars of the future. Previous awards have led to research teams establishing highly successful careers as well as paving the way for major Programme Grant funding.
Fellow St Andrews investigators include Drs Michael Mazilu, Andrea di Falco and Tom Brown. Dr Mazilu concluded, “Light has always inspired fundamental research and enabled practical applications ranging from imaging the microscopic world to observing the cosmos. With this project we will go beyond traditional use of light, for example, by making it spin, twist and go behind corners to see and measure deeper, farther and better.”
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Ref: Light 110714