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Research group

Optical Fibre Sensors and Devices

Underwater tests using our portable optical fibre distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) unit.

Our group develops a variety of innovative optical fibre devices and sensors. We go from the study of fundamental physics to the development of ruggedised portable units which include electronics/data analysis and are field deployable.


There are seven central themes to our research:  

Sensors for the environment  

We develop photonic technologies for the next generation optical sensors of hydrocarbon and other pollutants in the ocean, with the vision to monitor organic and inorganic compounds at ppb concentrations. This project integrates photonics, electronics, surface chemical functionalization and plasmonics in a compact deployable sensor for monitoring the marine environment.  

With our collaborators, we also develop fiber-based sensors for monitoring landslides, floods, seismic activity and natural disasters.  

Nuclear sensors  

We develop fibre scintillators based on pure silica doped with small amounts of rare earths (to avoid quenching). Scintillating fibres are then connected to photomultipliers by large area conventional fibres. Multicore scintillating fibres doped with Li have been used to produce high resolution imaging of thermalised neutrons.   

Distributed fibre sensors 

We develop ruggedized portable distributed sensing units for the measurement of vibrations, temperature, strain and magnetic field, using Rayleigh, Brillouin and Raman scattering.

Visit the Distributed Optical Fibre Sensing group page

Laser assisted structuring of optical fibres  

We manufacture ultra-low loss waveguides, couplers, gratings, and diffractive optical elements. Our group has developed a range of optical components including: Km-long acoustically enhanced optical fibres for OTDR (optical time domain refractometry) and OFDR (optical frequency domain refractometry) systems; selective modification of fibres with complex geometry such as multicore or hollow-core fibres; optical multicore strain sensors for aerospace applications (with our collaborators at the University of the Basque Country).   

Scattering spectrometer  

Optical scattering spectrometers use scattering media to spatially decompose the spectral components of light. Each wavelength is turned by a scattering medium into a speckle pattern which serves as a unique fingerprint. With a comprehensive base of such light “fingerprints”, an unknown spectrum of light can be analysed. 

Extruded polymer fibres  

We have developed a novel micro-extrusion process where a conventional 3D printer is converted into an optical fibre extrusion system. The technology is used for making suspended and hollow-core optical fibres operating in mid-IR and THz frequency domains.  

Magnetic field sensors  

Faraday rotation in novel materials with enhanced response is investigated for application in small magnetic field and single pulse detection. This project investigates the enhanced response of glasses, preliminarily observed in rare-earth fibres which showed extraordinarily large Verdet constants. Targeted applications include bulk and fibre isolators, and a variety of current and magnetic field sensors. 

People, projects, publications and PhDs


Dr Ali Masoudi

Senior Research Fellow
Connect with Ali

Professor Gilberto Brambilla

Associate Dean International
Connect with Gilberto

Dr Ioannis Matthaiou

Research Fellow

Research interests

  • Deep learning
  • Bayesian machine learning and optimisation
  • Computer vision, image and signal processing
Connect with Ioannis

Dr Martynas Beresna

Principal Research Fellow

Accepting applications from PhD students

Connect with Martynas

Dr Rand Ismaeel

Senior Research Fellow
Connect with Rand

Dr Timothy Lee

Senior Research Fellow

Research interests

  • Distributed optical fiber sensors
  • Optical fibre
Connect with Timothy

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