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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T02643X/1
Title: Next Generation Metrology Driven by Nanophotonics
Principal Investigator: Jiang, Professor Dame X
Other Investigators:
Martin, Dr HP Scott, Professor PJ Plum, Dr E
Zheludev, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr F Gao Dr A J Henning Professor KF MacDonald
Dr J Ou
Project Partners:
High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult Nanyang Technological University Photonics Leadership Group
QinetiQ Qioptiq Limited Renishaw
Taylor Hobson Ltd
Department: Sch of Computing and Engineering
Organisation: University of Huddersfield
Scheme: Programme Grants
Starts: 01 February 2021 Ends: 31 January 2026 Value (£): 5,539,716
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
Microsystems Optical Devices & Subsystems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Feb 2020 Programme Grant Interviews - 27 February 2020 (Element) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form

Optical metrology plays a vital role in an astonishing array of important research areas and applications, from basic science discovery to material processing, medicine, healthcare, energy, manufacturing and engineering. Optical metrology instruments are normally large, heavy structures that require a well-stabilised environment to maintain accuracy, stability and functionality. These physical and functional features prevent optical metrology from moving into future smart and autonomous applications across many sectors.

The proposed programme aims to challenge fundamental barriers to the use of optical measurement techniques in highly integrated, smart and autonomous 'Industry 4.0' metrology applications and emerging nanotechnologies, by establishing a unique, world-leading research collaboration in the UK that brings together advanced metrology and nanotechnology. It will translate the latest advances in nanophotonics, plasmonics and metamaterials research, in which the UK has played an internationally-leading role, into metrological applications. This will have a transformational impact on optical metrology by enabling cheaper, smarter and much more compact solutions. Research will be channelled through three complementary streams:

1. Nanophotonics-enabled components for metrology. This strand of the programme will draw on the wealth of recent fundamental developments in nanophotonics, for example, the fact that surfaces patterned with subwavelength-sized features can offer exquisite control over the wavefront of propagating light. Replacing one (or several) bulky element(s) with a single surface that carries out the same (combined) function offers hugely significant savings in size and weight, complexity and robustness (e.g. against misalignment), and opportunity to develop new measurement functionalities and instrumental configurations that are not otherwise possible.

2. Novel metrology concepts for nanotechnology. We will develop two ground-breaking ideas for metrological technologies: (1) The "optical ruler", which allows for non-contact displacement measurements with potentially sub-nm resolution using a sensor that could ultimately be manufactured on the tip of an optical fibre; (2) An approach to dynamic "nano-motion imaging" based upon the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) platform, to spatially map high-frequency nano- to picometre amplitude movement.

3. Novel metrology tools for manufacturing and nanotechnology. Using the nanophotonic components and concepts described above, we will develop novel metrology tools and measurement techniques to perform in real-world, as opposed to laboratory, conditions. Target applications will include, for example, surface/geometric metrologies compatible with manufacturing tools such as diamond turning machines and multi-axis (sub-) nanometric displacement encoding for translation stages.

This programme will bring together the expertise of world-leading research groups in metrology and nanophotonics, with key industrial project partners including Renishaw and Taylor Hobson. Together, we aim to address long-standing challenges for optical metrology and to develop new, disruptive metrological technologies. These advances will be vital to support the high-value manufacturing sector in the UK. The impact of this work, however, will be felt across a far broader range of disciplines, as size and weight are significant issues in, for example, instrumentation for space science, optical instrumentation for surgical applications, and robotic arm-mounted instruments.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.hud.ac.uk