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Aston University


AIPT is one of the largest photonics research centres in the UK, with 90+ staff and current grant funding amounting to €20M, of which the largest fraction comes from EU projects. AIPT’s success has been built on significant achievements in optical sensing, high-speed optical transmission and processing, nonlinear photonics, fibre grating technology, femtosecond laser material processing techniques, nano-photonics, fibre lasers and bio- and medical photonics. Underpinning these achievements is one of the strongest theoretical and advanced numerical modelling photonics research groups in the world. AIPT has an impressive portfolio of project funding, industrial and international collaborations, spin-out companies, highly cited research papers and patents, all demonstrating excellence in the field. Much of AIPT’s research is carried out in collaboration with industrial partners ranging from large companies, such as Alcatel, BT, France Telecom, BAE Systems, Airbus and Corning, to a large number of SMEs.


Prof. David Webb, Associate Dean for Research in Engineering at Aston and Deputy Director of the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, has 30 years experience in optical sensing technologies, including chemical and biochemical sensing. He has published more than 400 papers in this field and successfully supervised 17 PhDs.


Dr. Alex Rozhin conducts cutting-edge experimental research in a wide variety of nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, nandiamond organic dyes, etc. He is a world known expert in advanced materials science, nanotechnology, nonlinear optics, solid state and soft matter physics, biological and environmental sensors, and photonic systems. He has published 125 journal and conference papers (about 4700 citations, h-index 36) and has 10 patent applications on his credit.


Since 2006, Dr Daniel Hill has worked in biophotonics, with the FP7 InTopSens, FP7 Positive and FP7 CanDo projects awarded to him, as well as coordinating the FP6 SABIO project. His research focusses on optofluidics and the nanostructuring of photonic and plasmonic materials for near proximity flow of analyte to sensor surfaces and novel matter and electromagnetic wave interactions.  In September 2018 Dr Daniel Hill joined Aston University as a Marie Curie fellow in the MULTIPLY project. He has published over 37 peer reviewed papers and two patent applications to his credit.


Role and Commitment of key persons

(including supervisors)

Dr Hill, primary supervisor of ESR1 and secondary of ESR2 and project coordinator. (40%)

Professor Webb, secondary supervisor of ESR1 (20%)

Dr Rozhin, primary supervisor of ESR2 (20%)


Key Research Facilities, Infrastructure and Equipment

AIPT manages over 1200 m2 of laboratory space (constructed in 2017) equipped with state-of-the-art equipment including: Class 1000 clean-room with 100 m2 for fabrication of NMs and micro-devices; environmental test chambers; 4 UV laser systems for grating inscription up-to- date absorption, photoluminescence, Raman spectrometers. The NMs processing laboratory including ultracentrifuge and ultrasonic equipment, spin-coater and ink-jet printer, and so on. The advanced surface science lab comprises the most modern surface analysis instruments (XPS, AES) available in the world today.


Status of  Research premises

The research premises are independent from other beneficiaries and the partner organisations.


Previous Involvement in Research and Training Programmes

Host of coordinator of ITN TRIPOD (2013-17) and principal investigator on a number of EU, research council and industry funded projects. Prof Webb has hosted 2 Marie Curie Fellows (2012-14, 2014-16),

FP7 TeLaSens (MCSA International Research Staff exchange Scheme Project), “Novel Macromolecular Complexes for Rapid Detection of Hazardous Agents” (The Science for Peace NATO project), “New Advanced Materials for Photonics and Sensors” (British Council Researcher Links 2013), “Nanomaterial Photonic Sensors for Food Manufacturing”, (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IIF), “Functionalised Organic Complexes for rapid Sensing of Industrial Polluters” (H2020-MSCA-IF-2014_ST), “Mid-IR ultrabroadband thulium-doped fiber laser systems”, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual European Fellowship (H2020-MSCA-IF-2014_ST). Dr Rozhin supervised 6 PhD students and more 4 Individual MCSA Fellows and a number of visitors under MSCA ERSES and RISE programmes.

FP7 CanDo ICT- 610472 “A cancer development monitor”, FP7 POSITIVE ICT- 257401 “A highly integrated and sensitive PORous SIlicon based lab on a chip for multiple quantitaTIVE monitoring of Food allergies at point of care of Food allergies at point of care”, FP7 INTOPSENS ICT-223932 “A highly integrated optical sensor for point of care label free identification of pathogenic bacteria strains and their antibiotic resistance”, FP6 SABIO IST-026554 “Ultrahigh sensitivity slot-waveguide Biosensor on a highly integrated chip for simultaneous diagnosis of multiple diseases”. Dr Hill has supervised three PhD students and two postdoctoral researchers.


Current Involvement in Research and Training Programmes

Webb is hosting 2 MSCA Fellows (2018-20, 2019-21). As Associate Dean for Research in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Aston, Webb has responsibility for all PhD students in the school and is currently revising the research skills training provided to them in the light of current best practice.

Rozhin: MESO-BRAIN (H2020 FETOPEN), PULSE (H2020), “Development of compact laser diode based light sources and systems“ (EPSRC), “Carbon-based nanomaterials for theranostic application”, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) project (H2020-MSCA-RISE), “Metal Oxide functionalized carbon nanostructures for photonic gas sensors (MOFUS)” (H2020-MSCA-IF-2017_ST), International Mobility and Training in Photonics Programme (MSCA-COFUND-2015-FP)

Hill: Research fellow in the International Mobility and Training in Photonics Programme (MSCA-COFUND-2015-FP)


Relevant Publications and/or Research / Innovation Product

  1. Allsop T, Mou C, Neal R, Mariani S, Nagel D, Tombelli S, Poole A, Kalli K, Hine A and Webb D J 2017 Real-time kinetic binding studies at attomolar concentrations in solution phase using a single-stage opto-biosensing platform based upon infrared surface plasmons Optics express 25 39-58

  2. Allsop T, Neal R, Chengbo M, Kalli K and Webb D 2014 Highly sensitive, localized surface plasmon resonance fiber device for environmental sensing, based upon a structured bi-metal array of nano-wires Optics Letters 39 5798-801

  3. P. Lutsyk , R. Arif , J. Hruby, A. Bukivskyi, O. Vinijchuk, M. Shandura , V. Yakubovskyi, Yu. Kovtun, O. Kachkovsky, Yu. Piryatinski, A. Verbitsky, A. Rozhin “A sensing mechanism for the detection of carbonnanotubes using selective photoluminescent probes based on ionic complexes with organic dyes”, Light: Science& Applications (Nature Publishing Group), 5, e16028; doi: 10.1038/lsa.2016.28 (2016).

  4. L. Sola, J. Álvarez, M. Cretich, M. J. Swann, T. Volden, M. Chiari, D. Hill “Characterisation of porous alumina membranes for efficient, real-time, flow through biosensing, Journal of Membrane Science, 276, 128–135 (2015),

  5. J. Calderon, J. Álvarez, J. Martínez-Pastor, D. Hill, “Polarimetric plasmonic sensing with bowtie nanoantenna arrays”, Plasmonics 10, 703-711 (2014),

  6. J. Álvarez, L. Sola, M. Cretich, M. J. Swann, K. B. Gylfason, T. Volden, M. Chiari, D. Hill,  “Real time optical immunosensing with flow through porous alumina membranes“, Journal of Sensors and Actuators B 202 pp834-839 (2014)

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