Kent Specific

Building on Kent’s Strengths

Light for Life will evolve and broaden an already rich research environment. 

The process of developing the Light for Life theme has demonstrated the extent to which light is a key component in research conducted throughout the University, from conservationists tackling wildlife trading by iris scanning reptiles to forensic scientists identifying bodies by imaging tattoos.

Kent has many long-standing and well-recognised strengths in “Light”.

Optical Coherence Tomography

The link above takes you to the 1st paper published by the MIT group which coined the OCT acronym.

For example, the School of Physical Sciences is internationally known for its optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging.

The first en-face OCT image of the retina was demonstrated by the Applied Optics Group in the Physics Department by that time, in the University of Kent. The first combined instrument of OCT with scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (OCT/SLO) was developed here two years later, in 1998. This represented the first combination of the novel high resolution imaging technology for the eye, OCT, with the high resolution imaging technology known up to that moment, scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (SLO).

From that moment on, the OCT/SLO combination was embraced by many research groups and companies, all retina imaging instruments on the market delivering some sort of OCT combination with SLO.

A special feature was published by the Biomedical Express, Optical Society of America, to celebrate 20 years from our invention of the OCT/SLO, in the University of Kent: Progress in Multimodal En Face Imaging: feature introduction. The call received over 30 papers, the final issue contained a review paper and 23 other regular papers. You can read the Guest editorial at this link.

Number of Google hits of the new coined acronym, OCT/SLO

Results ≈ 9,590,000

Forensic Science

There are also specific areas of strengths in undergraduate teaching where light-based research can further enhance our appeal such as Forensic Science, which was recently ranked 4thnationally in the UK Complete University Guide.The theme will also build on strengths in the surrounding communities.

Turner Contemporary

Close to the University, the Gallery hosts unique representations of Art encompassing the Science of Light. The amalgamation of Optics and Forensic Sciences is a Kent-specific strength in the L4L theme, and a strong example is the Applied Optics Group’s work on document inspection using optical coherence tomography. The launch of the twenty pound note at the Turner Contemporary this year has ignited a discussion on the extent to which science and optics are incorporated into our day-to-day life and the products we use, often without us realising it. It is particularly fitting that text on this new note tells us that “Light is therefore colour”, a quote from that “Painter of Light” Turner himself, given that is the note’s holographic features that make it virtually unbeatable by any forgery attempt. The field of empowering our documents, passport, identity cards, and access cards with sophisticated features that cannot be forged is fuelling applications of optical coherence tomography in document inspection. This is another example where Optics (Light) and Art (in creating an attractive note) combine with the Science of security access.

Unique studies of reproduction

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Reproduction (CISoR) in the University comprises several like-minded academics dedicated to the study of reproduction in all its forms. Impactful, excellent research forms the basis of CISoRs activities including scientific advance, new products and processes, contribution to public policy, and public engagement. CISoR is a hub for multidisciplinary activity and excellence.

CISoR’s core philosophy is that the study of this fascinating field will advance further through a multidisciplinary approach.

CISoR has established an essential link with the Applied Optics Group (AOG) in the University. Recent microscopy and optical investigative methods are employed to evaluate the quality of embryos. Scientists in CISoR and AOG are jointly collaborating on a BBSRC grant to advance novel optical investigative tools that can advance our understanding of the intricate mechanisms of reproduction.