14 Photonics Projects Get $5.9m of Funding in UK
14 January 2014
Fourteen projects intended to examine the potential application of photonics in new manufacturing processes have been awarded £3.6 million ($5.9 million) by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the agency has revealed.
The money will support the execution of several feasibility studies, each lasting 18 months, that will be aimed at revealing how light technology can be used in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronics and security.
All the projects backed by EPSRC will be headed by a university-based researcher, with eight of the programs also involving commercial partners. Among the fields to be explored as part of the projects are the potential application of laser-guided positioning of living cells in pharmaceutical sensing and the use of photochemistry in chemical processes for the purpose of moving them from the laboratory to commercial plants. The researchers will also look into the capacity of light patterns to control electric forces as part of the assembly of electronic components into circuits and the use of lasers themselves for creating high-power laser devices that can be deployed by local manufacturers.
The funding was announced by Vince Cable, business secretary to the UK government, while touring laser development company M Squared in Glasgow. According to Cable, the support will give companies the opportunity to develop new technologies that can make manufacturing processes more effective and efficient.
The funding for the projects is a testament to the key role of optics research for the manufacturing industry and also shows how scientists and engineers can work together to enable the UK to benefit from fundamental discoveries, EPSRC chief executive David Delpy commented.