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Photon Science Institute

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Advanced instrument development

The Photon Science Institute hosts a very wide range of state-of-the-art instrumentation and members of this theme are pioneering their applications and development.

Research in this theme is diverse and is conducted over a wide range of length and time scales, with photon energies spanning the far infrared X-ray regions.

Extending the frontier

By extending the frontier of precision measurements, researchers can manipulate single atoms and molecules to study fundamental properties of matter such as nuclear interactions that govern the evolution of stars and production of elements.

Techniques developed within the Photon Science Institute have been exported to facilities such as CERN to study exotic atoms at the limits of nuclear existence. These same methods are also used for probe excitation and ionisation processes and for spatial manipulation.

This spectroscopic research supports the development of photon characterisation techniques used in the nuclear industry with remote detection and robot platforms.

Laser spectroscopy 

There is a strong emphasis on the application of laser spectroscopy techniques within the theme, where it is used for trace gas analysis including isotope ratio detection and tomography, radiochemistry and optical materials characterisation through optical imaging and multiphoton spectroscopy.

A key capability of photon-matter interactions extends into the world of materials processing, with intense laser sources being increasingly exploited for precision patterning, cutting and drilling.

At the ultimate energy frontier, research is currently being undertaken to utilise lasers to develop new compact particle accelerators. These many activities run through the diverse research activity of the theme.

Surface science

Members of the theme are pioneering advances in surface characterisation techniques such as Near-Ambient Pressure XPS, Hard X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (HAXPES) NanoSIMS, ToF-SIMS and LIBS.

National facilities

The PSI houses parts of four national facilities which fall under the Advanced Instrument Development theme: the EPSRC Electron Paramagnetic resonance (EPR) facility, the National X-ray CT facility (NXCT), the National Nuclear User Facility and the EPSRC National Facility for X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy.