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$70 million science institute opens its doors

20 Jan 2006

Leaders from academia, industry and government celebrate the launch of the University of Manchester's Photon Science Institute in the UK.

The £40 million ($70 million) Photon Science Institute (PSI) was launched today in Manchester, UK, with support from the Northwest Regional Development Agency. Said to be the largest research and teaching center of its kind in the UK, and with a projected annual income of £5 million, the PSI boasts over £15 million worth of state of the art laser equipment.

The center's 30 full-time academic staff will have access to tunable Ti:Sapphire sources and ultrafast picosecond and femtosecond lasers based on nonlinear crystals, along with multi-photon imaging microscopy facilities and a range of optical calibration and diagnostics resources. A full-time postgraduate MSc in photon science will be offered by the centre from October 2006.

"Our vision is to position the Photon Science Institute as a world leading center for photon science research and development with an emphasis on knowledge transfer and innovation within industry," said Klaus Müller-Dethlefs, director of the PSI. "It is about using state of the art lasers and state of the art concepts and methods to find answers to some of the most challenging problems in science."

Prior to joining the University of Manchester, Müller-Dethlefs established and managed the York Centre for Laser Spectroscopy and Photochemistry, UK. He is recognized internationally for inventing ZEKE photoelectron spectroscopy.

"One of the key projects that we are initiating at the PSI is the use of a fluorescent single molecule method for monitoring drug delivery, which is crucial for the development of new drugs," Müller-Dethlefs told Optics.org. "Another method that we are pioneering is optical coherence tomography for imaging tissue and a Raman technique for non-invasive characterization of materials."

James Tyrrell is news editor on Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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