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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H046658/1
Title: COSMOS Technology Translation Proposal
Principal Investigator: Coles, Professor HJ
Other Investigators:
White, Professor I Friend, Professor Sir R Wilkinson, Professor T
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 December 2010 Ends: 31 May 2013 Value (£): 864,033
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Synthesis & Growth Optical Devices & Subsystems
Optoelect. Devices & Circuits
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Feb 2010 Basic Tech Translation Grants Call 5 Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The primary aim of the original COSMOS Basic Technology Grant was to develop a new generation of compact laser light sources that were either continuously tunable or consisted of multiple wavelengths, and were based on soft materials such a polymers and liquid crystals. The emergence of such a technology will provide a light source that combines key features that do not exist in any present-day laser device namely, compact size, high quality output and a wide range of colour tunability. These lasers consist of two essential features: a light harvester that can be either excited optically or electrically and acts as a gain medium, and a colour selective structure (such as a photonic bandgap) that provides optical feedback. The COSMOS project involved the chemistry, physics and engineering of both the materials and the devices used as these laser sources. Over its duration the project synthesised new materials for light generation as well as characterised different devices for both laser and light emitting diode (LED) structures in the context of applications such as flat panel and projection displays, telecommunications and biomedical systems.This translational grant is designed to expand some of the key results from COSMOS and develop them further both in terms of their chemical components, physical structure and their overall implementation into different applications. One such thread is the further development of multi wavelength sources for holographic projection. The use of holograms to generate 2D and 3D images is a recently developed disruptive technology, with many advantages but with a major drawback of having to use 3 laser light sources to provide the 3 colour components in the image. The use of lasers sources improves the colour quality immensely but current semiconductor lasers are limited, expensive and difficult to mass produce. The lasers developed on COSMOS are ideal for this application as they can produce 3 simultaneous laser colours from the same single device cheaply, efficiently and also in a way that could well provide a solution to a further problem with these projectors; the image degradation due to laser induced speckle.The progress made by COSMOS into the materials suitable for infra-red (IR) lasing devices is also another area being expanded upon by this proposal. The ability to produce cheap tuneable IR sources is of great interest to many different biomedical applications as both human blood and tissue have unique signatory responses to different colours of light in the IR spectrum. One such biomedical system is optical coherence tomography (OCT) which allows a tissue sample to be imaged not only in cross section but also in depth (ie through the different layers of the sample). This is a very powerful tool in many medical areas such as retinal imaging where OCT can be used to diagnose pathologies such as diabetes and glaucoma. In the case of OCT, not only is the tuneable colour in the IR an important feature but also the coherence of the IR laser source is a vital parameter in the performance of the system. A key advantage of the soft materials used in the COSMOS laser sources is that the coherence properties can be optimised through both the choice of chemical components as well as the overall device structure. This adds another level of versatility into the already powerful diagnostics capabilities of an OCT system. Finally, the soft nature of these IR lasers also makes them an ideal candidate for embedding into polymer waveguide based systems such as those being developed for telecommunication network components. The ability to integrate the laser into the waveguides is an exciting new development which will be further explored by the translational grant proposed.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk