The Photon Science Institute brings together experts from a range of fields including physics, chemistry, medical sciences, pharmacy, earth sciences, life sciences and engineering to collaboratively work on projects and to solve problems using their vast knowledge base and the PSI's world-leading facilities.

Staff spotlight

Dr Mark Dickinson

Dr Mark Dickinson graduated in Physics from the University of Manchester in 1981 and carried on to research into multi-oscillator ring laser gyroscopes for his PhD in 1984. He was appointed as lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy in 1989 and is currently a Reader. His research covers a number of areas, with a background in Laser Physics, he now specialises in medical and biological applications of lasers and optics. Recent projects include laser tweezing, blood flow measurements in the microcirculation, laser nerve stimulation for human pain studies, optical coherence tomography, a range of dental applications for lasers and spectral imaging of neotropical tree frogs.

He has worked in collaboration with a number of medical/dental/biological groups and has been involved with industrial partners, including University spin-off companies. Dr Dickinson is an author, member and one of the key organisers of the Photon Science Institute. He is currently the Deputy Director of the Photon Science Institute and also the Faculty Assistant Vice Dean for Research (Impact).

Dr David Binks

Headshot of David Binks

Dr David Binks obtained a BSc in Physics in 1992 and, after a time in industry, a PhD in Laser Physics in 1998, both at the School of Physics and Astronomy in Manchester. He was appointed as a lecturer there in 2004 and is currently a Reader, as well as the Director of Undergraduate Recruitment. His research aims to understand carrier dynamics and interactions in quantum-confined semiconductor nanostructures studied using steady-state and time-resolved laser spectroscopy techniques, and thereby inform the improvement of their properties for a number of important applications, such as solar cells, LED's, and chemical sensors. Currently, these nanostructures include InGaN/GaN quantum wells, colloidal quantum dots, and dispersions of 2D materials such as MoS2 and graphene oxide.

Dr Nick Lockyer

Dr Nick Lockyer gained his PhD in 1996 from UMIST, on laser ionisation mass spectrometry of biomolecules, in the Vickerman group. After a period of post-doctoral work and a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship developing imaging time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) instrumentation he was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at UMIST in 2002.  His current position is a Reader in the School of Chemistry.  His research interests focus on the development of imaging mass spectrometry methods and instrumentation, including SIMS and laser desorption/ionisation techniques.  Current work includes the development of new cluster ion projectiles for sample desorption and strong-field laser post-ionisation.  His group also explores new applications of surface analysis/imaging techniques through collaboration with clinical and biomedical partners.  Research highlights include the development of the world’s first C60 ion beam [Anal. Chem. 75, 1754] and the first 3D molecular mass spectrometry image of a biological cell [Anal. Chem. 79, 2199].

Dr Kieran Flanagan

Dr Kieran Flanagan

Dr Kieran Flanagan is a Reader of Physics within the Nuclear Physics Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester, where he the Director of Business Engagement. After graduating from The University of Manchester he undertook his PhD studies with Prof. Jon Billowes and carried out experiments in laser spectroscopy at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.  After his PhD he moved to CERN and worked for KU Leuven on laser spectroscopy and beta-NMR and then moved to Paris to work at IPN-Orsay. He was awarded an STFC Advanced Fellowship in 2009 and re-joined The University of Manchester. The programme of research at CERN uses resonance ionization spectroscopy to measure nuclear moments and charge radii in short-lived nuclei.  In 2015 he was awarded an ERC consolidator grant on the subject of fundamental nuclear properties measured with laser spectroscopy. His research has focused on size and shapes of nuclei and the underlying forces that bind the nucleus together. His research group in Manchester are developing the method of collinear resonance ionization spectroscopy for the purpose of trace isotope detection and isotope ratio analysis. The team are currently working on the development of a prototype enhanced-sensitivity mass spectrometer for the detection of 14C from environmental samples and ancient artefacts.

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