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Professor James Wilkinson BSc(Eng), PhD, CEng, FIET, SMIEEE

Deputy Head of School, Optoelectronic Research Centre

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Professor James Wilkinson is part of the Institute for Life Sciences at the University of Southampton.

James S. Wilkinson obtained his BSc and PhD from University College London in 1979 and 1985, respectively, spending 2 years researching optical communications systems at the GEC Hirst Research Centre in between. He joined the Electronics Department at Southampton University as lecturer in 1985, having spent 2 years studying sensing and control in haemodialysis procedures at St Bartholomew′s Hospital, London. He established the Integrated Photonic Devices Group in the Optoelectronics Research Centre in 1990, and was made Professor of Optoelectronics in 2000.
Professor Wilkinson is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He was a founder of UoS spin-out Mesophotonics Ltd, served as a member of the Royal Society Working Group on the Detection and Decontamination of Chemical Weapons (2003/4) and has recently been awarded an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Investigator Grant on “Wideband Integrated Photonics For Accessible Biomedical Diagnostics”.

Research income to date: £5.1M as PI, £30M as Co-Investigator

Research interests

James's research combines guided-wave optics with microelectronic fabrication technologies, and he has particular interests in lasers, optical amplifiers, chemical and biochemical sensors, and lab-on-a-chip technology. James has made advances in many materials systems for optical waveguide devices including the first monomode planar waveguide laser, glass waveguide laser with integrated Q-switch, high-gain amplifiers in Er/Yb doped borosilicate glass waveguides, Nd-, Er-, Tm- and Yb-diffused LiNbO3 waveguide lasers, tunable coupled cavity waveguide lasers in Nd-diffused LiNbO3, frequency doubling in periodically poled LiNbO3 and in poled glass waveguides, Ti:sapphire waveguide lasers in Ti-diffused sapphire and UV laser written gratings in glass waveguides. Highlights of recent work include water pollution sensor arrays with detection limits as low as 0.001μg/l, evanescent trapping and manipulation of colloidal gold nanoparticles on waveguide surfaces, combined electrochemical and optical sensing of ultrathin surface layers, lasers and amplifiers in Er-doped tantalum pentoxide and waveguide integrated microsphere lasers. Ongoing work includes mid-IR waveguides for biochemical spectroscopy, optical sorting of cells, highly parallel fluorescence based multisensors, waveguide optics for microfluidic systems and integrated modelocked lasers.


Research interests:

  • Integrated optics
  • chemical sensing
  • biosensing
  • lasers
  • optical amplifiers
  • optical materials
  • lab-on-a-chip
  • plasmonics
  • microresonators
  • all-optical logic
  • surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy
  • mid-IR waveguides
  • point-of-care diagnostics


Current research projects:

  • Integrated microsphere planar lightwave circuits
  • Upconversion waveguide lasers
  • Ultrasonic manipulation of DNA molecules in evanescent light fields
  • Erbium-doped nanowire lasers and amplifiers
  • Integrated optofluidics

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Professor James Wilkinson
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 53/3041

Facsimile: (023) 8059 3149


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