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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X016633/1
Title: Towards LED-pumped Masers: a new class of room-temperature masers
Principal Investigator: Sathian, Dr J
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Crytur Imperial College London UCL
Université Paris-Saclay University of Warwick
Department: Fac of Engineering and Environment
Organisation: Northumbria, University of
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 November 2023 Ends: 31 October 2026 Value (£): 398,153
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Light-Matter Interactions Materials Characterisation
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 May 2023 EPSRC Physical Sciences Prioritisation Panel - May 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
"MASERs" (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) are devices that can amplify and detect extremely weak electromagnetic signals. Potential applications include more sensitive variants of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, magnetic resonance body scanners, deep-space telecommunications, read-out schemes for spin-based quantum computers, and embodiments of "quantum optics" at microwave and radio frequencies. Our previous research on masers demonstrates room-temperature operation in pulsed and continuous wave (CW) using solid-state materials and laser/lamp pumping. A key research challenge is to replace the pump laser with a more rugged and low-cost system. in many applications laser sources have been chosen for lack of better. Due to their low brightness, LEDs are not adapted easily to pump masers. However, LED-pumped luminescent concentrators (LED-LC) are perfect for this purpose, especially the powerful rare-earth-based LED-LCs, offering new ways of high brightness technology. LED-LCs are new sources whose brightness fills the gap between the classical incoherent sources and the laser sources.

This proposal focuses on developing LED-pumped masers working at room temperature using luminescent concentrator light technology- such a maser has not been realised to date. These masers will be low-cost, safe, low maintenance and allow simple fabrication. The research will develop the world's first LED-LC pumped masers. A significant asset of LED-pumped LCs is energy scaling and massive collective operation, assuring a long lifetime, stability, and robustness. The LED-based brightness-enhanced light source would also be a profoundly enabling new tool for basic science (understanding luminance, brightness, light concentration, etc) and other bright illumination and excitation applications in scientific, medicine/healthcare (medical endoscopy, dermatology) and industry (RGB projection, 3D inspection).

Because of their complexity in implementation, the masers are used in only a few specialised applications, notably atomic clocks and low-noise amplifiers for radio astronomy and space communications. This new approach and research will enable masers to become more widely available for use and open new application areas such as airport security scanning, quantum computers, medical imaging and potentially in a key role of improving sensors to remote-detect bombs. This work will help the UK become internationally competitive in low-cost room-temperature masers and luminescent concentrator light technology, impacting world-leading groups. In addition, the research will lead to new ideas (i.e., intellectual properties), which will provide economic and societal benefits within a few years in the UK as well as worldwide.

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