Facilities available

The OMS lab in the Photon Science Institute hosts a number of experimental techniques. We have four areas of expertise:

  • Automated/robotic high-throughput microscopy – machine vision, fast photoluminescence
  • Non-linear and time-resolved spectroscopy – lasing, transient absorption microscopy
  • Scanning photo-current microscopy – SPCM
  • Single photon spectroscopy – iTCSPC

These techniques rely on our workhorse laser system – a PHAROS 20W, producing ultrashort pulses (200 femtoseconds) in the near infrared (1030nm) at 200,000 Hz. This is coupled with an ORPHEUS-HP optical parametric amplifier providing near gap-free tunability across 315nm to 16,000nm, with similar pulse characteristics.

Interferometeric time-correlated single photon counting

The interferometric time-correlated single photon counting system (iTCSPC) is a unique spectroscopy tool developed in the OMS lab. It combines optical interferometry – used to separate photons into one of two channels based on their wavelength – with single-photon counting – used to measure their time of arrival with picosecond (0.000000000001s) resolution.
This combination means that unlike a typical spectrometry system, every photon can be measured, towards a 100% throughput. By outputting a stream of data as the photons arrive, we can measure the arrival rate (giving brightness, or changes with time), the arrival time (giving fast delay dynamics), the variation with interferometer position (giving photon energy) and the arrival channel. The latter measure can also be used to provide quantum measurements, such as bunching/antibunching from lasers and single photon sources.

The tool is fibre coupled and can be combined with other techniques in the lab, such as microscopic spectroscopy.

Automated/robotic high throughput spectroscopy

Demonstration of automated microscopy – an image is taken, interpreted, and objects are sequentially visited and inspected

The automated high throughput spectroscopy tool is a bespoke optical microscope system built in-house in the OMS lab which utilises state of the art translation stages to facilitate precise movements as small as 100nm, over a large travel range of 0.1m. When combined with sophisticated machine vision imaging techniques, this enables the rapid identification, location and characterisation of a wide range of nano- and micro-structures. A typical experiment can study many 10,000’s of samples in around an hour!

The tool is modular and adaptable by design, making it easy to exchange optical components to optimise the system for studying different materials (eg. Polarisers, dichroic beamsplitters, excitation filters, front/back illumination). Optically pumped experiments can be performed by directing laser beams into the system.  Light collected from the samples is coupled into an optical fibre, which can then be fed into a multitude of instruments in the OMS lab for further experimental analysis (Photoluminescence, Raman, iTCSPC etc.).