Completed Research

Anode materials for vacuum electronics devices

The project focuses on eliminating the anode’s contribution to outgassing and plasma formation caused by the near surface ionization of the outgassed neutral atoms by the desorbed electrons, thus increasing the lowest achievable pressure in vacuum electronics devices improving their efficiency.


A method of consolidating powder layers in a single exposure using shaped intensity profiles of light - Lily Delimata

Existing technologies rely on two-dimensional scanning of energy beams, an approach which limits system productivity and results in thermal gradients leading to residual stresses. This research project will focus on maximising builds rates and minimising thermal stresses by consolidating powder layers in a single exposure, initially focusing on the hemispherical structures commonly found in joint prostheses.


BioLaser: Establishing a high-resolution Laser Ablation Tomography Platform for UK Bioimaging Research - Pete Atkin

Biolaser is an IfM and NIAB collaboration which aims to develop a laser ablation tomography platform that provides rapid, 3D imaging of plant material down to micron or even sub-micron resolutions.


Cold Gas Dynamic Manufacturing

Cold gas dynamic manufacturing (CGDM) is a new production process that enables novel combinations of materials and metals in a single 3D component. Using this technique, materials with previously unimaginable characteristics can be produced with relative ease.


Control of residual stress and failure mechanisms for cold spray and laser-assisted cold spray

Many techniques such as peening and heat treatments are used to post process metallic coatings. Such treatments provide a number of advantages such as protection against corrosion or abrasion, increasing the lifetime of a component.


Control System for Ultra Precision Processing

Cold gas dynamic manufacturing (CGDM) is a new production process that enables novel combinations of materials and metals in a single 3D component. Using this technique, materials with previously unimaginable characteristics can be produced with relative ease.


Design and development of solid state additive manufacturing department

The aim of this research project is the investigation of how cold spray, a process used to create metal coatings, can be applied to 3D structuring, and the development of a manufacturing process for the creation of bulk, high fidelity surfaces.


Developing in-situ monitoring, analysis and control systems for the floating catalyst carbon nanotube fibre production process - James Ryley

Since their discovery carbon nanotubes were expected to lead to the creation of next generation electrical and mechanical products due to their extreme properties, all while being composed of cheaply available carbon. In practice, while laboratory scale synthesis and chemistry has been widely explored bulk industrial production methods (low cost, high volume and scalable) have not caught up, partly due to the difficulty of translating individual nanotube properties to larger objects. The Macromolecular Materials Laboratory here in Cambridge has been tackling this challenge for the past decade through the development of their unique floating catalyst technique. The single-step continuous process uses the thermal breakdown on iron, sulphur and carbon compounds to form entangled nanotube ‘smoke’ which is mechanically drawn down and wound to form a film or condensed to form a thread with excellent mechanical and electrical properties.


Development and optimisation of an optofluidic nano tweezers system for trapping nanometre crystals for synchrotron x-ray diffraction experiments

This project investigates optofluidic technology and evanescent field optical tweezing as more efficient and biologically compatible sample loading solution for micro and nano protein crystals, in synchrotron and free electron lasers (X-FELS) x-ray crystallography beamlines. The project is both sponsored and in collaboration with the Diamond light source national synchrotron.


Discrete Computational Simulation for Manufacturing

The Discrete Computational Simulation for Manufacturing project aims to build upon previous simulation research and create an industrially realisable toolkit.


Femtosecond Laser Processing of Graphene for Device Applications

Although conventional lithography methods can provide precisely located nano/micro patterning and cutting on graphene, it involves a long sequence of process operations, which may also increase the risk of contamination. Femtosecond laser micromachining has the potential for offering free-form post-patterning of general graphene devices with limited thermal effects, high processing speed and complex shapes.


Free Space Construction in Metals

A cost-effective additive manufacturing technology that can deposit and layer tracks in free space to construct geometrically complex structures in metal. No current technology has similar geometrical capability.



New Yb fiber laser sources are being developed in conjunction with the Optoelectronics Research Centre at Southampton University and SPI Lasers. These new laser systems offer even greater potential in future manufacturing operations.


High Brightness Fibre Laser Processing

High brightness lasers are capable of operating with smaller spots, longer focal lengths and at greater distances than conventional sources. These physical properties should allow the laser to be used in novel ways, with unique processing mechanisms.


High Brightness Laser Thick Section Cutting

Thick section cutting is an important production process in heavy industry, such as the shipbuilding, construction and nuclear industries. The excessive heat loss of bulk materials in the cutting process, alongside other factors such as operation skills and equipment limitations, means that thick section cutting can only be operated at low speed, and that the cut qualities usually involve kerf taper, high surface roughness and low tolerance. All of these issues make thick section cutting a difficult and expensive job.


High Speed Laser Cutting

High speed laser cutting offers substantial economic benefits to the manufacturing sector. Laser cutting in the high speed regime operates with a different process mechanism to conventional laser cutting. This mechanism has a much higher coupling efficiency and potentially a corresponding increase in performance.


High speed mask-less laser controlled precision additive manufacture

This PhD project has been initiated to develop a laser-based precision additive manufacturing route for the CIM-UP platform at the University of Cambridge.


High speed patterning of individual carbon nanotubes

The aim of this project was to enable a fast turnaround time for the growth of patterned carbon nanotubes. This will be extremely beneficial for future work and is particularly aimed at research applications where variables are constantly being changed.



The Hi-Wi project was a European commission FP7 funded international collaboration between the University of Cambridge, University of Sheffield, Centro Ricerche Fiat, STMicroelectronics, Istituto P.M., CEDRAT Group and Siemens AG with the goal of producing the next generation of motors for electric vehicles as part of the European green cars initiative.


ISO Compliant Online Laser Beam Monitoring

To develop a demonstration system to provide measurements of relative power, and ISO standard measurements of beam diameter and position, for commercial 'lights out' processing facilities. The device will not be a “high end” lab based unit, a number of which can already be purchased, but instead a device more suited to installation in the price conscious industrial market.


Laser processing of carbon nanotube fibers and films

This project aims to develop a scalable manufacturing route for reliable field emission cathodes. By using state of the art and innovative processes, field emission has increased by over 400%. The latest device design has been manufactured and is currently being tested at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Multiple beam powder bed fusion additive manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a relatively new production technique compared to the traditional formative and subtractive processes such as casting and milling. Using AM techniques to create metal parts can provide a more efficient use of raw materials, complex external and internal geometry and a cost effective method of producing custom specification parts.


Nozzle Design for Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Light Source

A CPU has over a 100 million transistors and this is increasing by 55% each year. By 2008, it is predicted that each CPU will have over a billion transistors. This forecast cannot be achieved with current lithographic techniques. Extreme Ultraviolet lithography could be the way forward.


Novel 3D printing technique for metal components using multiple energy beams - Diego Punin

Additive Manufacturing (AM) applied to the production of metal components by the melting of metal powders rely on expensive and lengthy methods. Well established technologies using Electron Beam (EBM) and Selective Laser Melting (SLM) currently steer a single or a limited number of beams to raster scan a bed of powder. These methodologies are relatively slow and expensive compared to other manufacturing techniques, and have limitations regarding the output rate of powder melting. Even though they are continuously increasing their performance they still offer an increased throughput at a high cost requiring multi-stage processing.


Novel plasma diagnostics for light-matter interactions - Nadeem Gabbani

A main objective of the programme is to develop and implement a novel integrated plasma diagnostics tool by combining nN force measurements with high speed pulsed digital holography, laser-induced fluorescence and volumetric ion current analysis within a thermal vacuum chamber. The proposed system will be used to increase our understanding of new and existing energy transfer mechanisms where plasmas are concerned e.g. studying phenomena in laser-matter interactions.


Novel energy delivery techniques for laser additive manufacturing from metal powders

Industrial supply of additively manufactured medical components currently falls behind the market demand. This project is geared towards improving the production rate of specific additive parts by adapting the laser delivery to optimise for that particular part by avoiding inherent physical process limitations.


Spray Track

This project is aimed at studying the compatibility of the CGDM process to create metallic coatings onto relatively low strength substrates such as polymers and composite materials. This would considerably extend the process potential, from the production of mask-less conductive tracks of metal without the necessity of post treatments, to the cheap manufacturing of electric circuits.


SprayLaze - Supersonic Laser Deposition

SprayLaze is a metal coating technique which has being developed in order to allow the formation of metal deposits onto a variety of substrates. It has evolved from the Cold Spray process and aims to capitalise on the advantages of this method, while mitigating some of the limitations by removing the necessity for helium as a process gas.


Supersonic Laser Deposition of Wear-Resistant and Low-Friction Coatings

The central theme of this research project revolves around the development of low-friction and wear-resistant coatings deposited via SLD. The unique attributes of SLD allows for the deposition of thermally sensitive materials without altering the integrity and purity of the coating composition.


TEDDI: Tomographic Energy Dispersive Diffractive Imaging

The TEDDI process allows the user to obtain X-ray diffraction data from a sample, enabling analysis of the samples internal structure. TEDDI has a wide range of applications including analysis of pathological tissues, security, non-destructive testing of engineering parts and archeology


Three Dimensional Laser Surface Modification

3D Laser surface modification enables features to be formed from the substrate material. The process is based on the Surfi-Sculpt® manufacturing technique originally developed by TWI Ltd. using electron beams with electromagnetic coils to deflect the beam. Using a laser beam as the power source offers advantages such as generating these novel surface features in atmospheric conditions. The technique enables surface features to be produced on a range of substrates including metals, polymers and ceramics.


TSB Smart Laser

Manufacturing lasers are a source of some £6Bn of revenue for UK industry. However, they are a enabler technology for over £1Tr of industry globally. Laser manufacturing is dominated by several laser sources at traditional lasing wavelengths and long-pulse interactions. Industrial processes have been optimized using these available laser sources, but relatively little work has been undertaken to optimize the laser parameters to the process. In this project we aim to break beyond the bounds of current laser technology and investigate the performance of novel laser sources developed by a well established consortium of academics and industrial partners.


Ultrafast machining of high temperature superconductor nanostructures for novel mesoscale physics - Katjana Lange

High temperature superconductors (HTS) are novel materials that exhibit zero electrical resistance and exclusion of magnetic fields at temperatures over 77 K. The main aim of this project is to enhance the critical current density (Jc) of thin-film HTS bridges by creating edge-barrier pinning. Assuming a perfect edge, edge-barrier pinning effects bridges as large as 200 μm. This limit becomes smaller as edge quality degrades. Unlike photolithography, laser machining is a chemical free, flexible process; the use of an ultrafast laser gives minimal edge damage.


Ultra precision hybrid laser-FIB platform

The integration of ultrafast lasers with metrology systems allows for closed-loop machining to occur. This allows for a sample of unknown properties to be taken inspected, machined, evaluated, and corrected in a single process which increase precision and reduces manufacturing time.


Wire Feed Metal Deposition

Wire Feed Metal Deposition (WFMD) is a novel Rapid Manufacturing process being developed for the production of metal parts by layered manufacturing. Current commercial metal based Rapid Manufacturing (RM) technology uses expensive energy conversion systems, such as Laser and EBM to heat small areas. The majority of items produced have to be further machined to give the desired tolerance, so that speed and not resolution becomes of prime importance. The WFMD project aims to produce a low cost, high speed alternative to the existing technologies.

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