This is the home of the University of Chester Laser Laboratory. We are a group, primarily based between the Mechanical Engineering and Natural Sciences departments within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, focused on developing laser-materials processing technologies for both commercial and academic research. For more information about who we are, the lasers we use, and where to find us please click the relevant tabs within the about section. Please select the relevant section for more information on our research interests, what we can offer on a commercial basis, or for information on our role assisting with the Faculty’s teaching. Lastly for our latest news and updates please see either the front page or our news archive.


Interested in working with us? E-mail: s.hodgson@chester.ac.uk

We are based in building 304 of the Thornton Science Park. Thornton, based just outside of Chester near Ellesemere Port and the well known Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, is the home of University of Chester’s Faculty of Science and Engineering which was established only recently in 2014.

Listed below are the current staff, associated academics and project students of the laser Laboratory along with their current research interests. Clicking on each individual’s name will take you to their staff page, and on their areas of expertise to their Google Scholar page (where applicable).

Dedicated Academic & Research Staff

Alice Gillett (Microbiological Attachment, Wettability)

Dr. Simon Hodgson (Surface Structuring, 3G Photovoltaics)

 
 

Associated Academic & Research Staff

Prof. Graham Smith (Surface Micro-analysis, Materials Imaging)

Dr. Gerard Edwards (Simulation & Modelling, Theoretical Semiconductor Physics, Solid State Electronics & Nanoelectronics)

Dr. Paul Folan (Cloud Based Manufacturing, Industry 4.0)

Dr. Gavin Hazell (Functional Nanomaterials, Antimicrobial Surfaces)

Dr. Yu Jia (MEMS, Vibrational Energy Harvesting)

Bobby Manesh (Automotive Engineering, Finite Element Analysis)

Dr. Yu Shi (Composites, Finite Element Analysis)

 

Current Students

Alice Gillett (PhD – Microbiological Attachment, Wettability)

Hannah Eccleston (MRes – Coatings, Microbiological Attachment)

Christian Mamwell (Dissertation – Light Scattering, Photovoltaics)

Neil Wilks (Dissertation – Surface Structuring, Wetting)

 
 
Past Project Students

Postgraduate Research Students

2018

Chi-Ho Ng – MPhilLaser Surface Modification of NiTi for Medical Applications

Final Year Project Students

2017

Saleh Al-Marri – Enhancing the Wettability of Polyethylene (PE) by Laser Processing

Abdulla Alsuwaidi – Investigation in improvements of surface properties of Aluminum composite material subjected to laser shock peening

Chris Packer – Laser Surface Engineering for the Manipulation of Wettability Characteristics in PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

Gregario Romairone – CO2 Laser surface modification of Nylon 6,6 and the influence surface wettability, roughness and energy have on the adhesive properties

Yousef Shamiyeh – Laser Processing to Enhance the Hydrophobicity of PTFE

Placement Students

2018

Callum Barnes – Development of a mask projection process

Caolan Brazier – CO2 laser modification of PEEK

Errol Brooks – CO2 laser modification of mild steel for improved corrosion resistance

Richard Clarke – Composite machining with a picosecond laser

Jared Cornish – Development of liquid based production of nanoparticles with an picosecond laser

Emmanuel Fatimehin – Control of motorized stages for laser applications

Ryan Gunning – Design and manufacture of a flow cell

Oliver Hutchinson – Development of a mask projection process

Jakub Korejwo – Surface Structuring of Phosphor Bronze with a picosecond laser

Ye Ma – Polishing of Titanium for laser processing

We have an extensive suite of laser equipment on site suited to a huge range of materials processing applications.

CO2 Laser Markers & Cutters (50 & 60 W)

Here at the Laser Laboratory we are fortunate to have two versatile CO2 laser systems. These are the 60 W Synrad Firestar series marker, powered by WinMark software, and the 50 W Epilog Zing series engraver/cutter that is compatible with most graphic software (Corel Draw, Photoshop etc.).

The Synrad Firestar series laser marker has an FH Flyer galvanometric scanning head that enables complex shapes and patterns to be drawn on a variety of materials all controlled by the WinMark software. The laser has an adjustable spot size that ranges from a minimum of ~171 μm (FWHM, ~290 μm 1/e2) and can be operated in both continuous wave (cw) and pulsed modes.

Laser Wavelength: ~10.6 μm


The Epilog Zing uses high-speed stepper motors to produce high resolution cutting and engraving. With an air-assist curtain for cleaner cutting, a rotary stage for engraving rounded surfaces and compatibility with standard graphical software the Zing is excellent at producing high quality engraved images.

Laser Wavelength: ~10.6 μm

Fibre Laser (300 W)

The JK300FL from JK lasers (now SPI), is a 300 W fibre laser with a specialised cutting and welding head. The cutting head, in addition to producing small spot sizes ideal for cutting and welding applications, uses compressed air as an assist gas and has a ‘through the lens’ CCTV viewing system to assist with alignment and process control when high accuracy is required. The laser can be operated in three modes: continuous wave (cw), modulated and pulsed.

Laser Wavelength: 1070 nm

Picosecond Laser (<5 ps, ~10 μJ)

The Fianium HE-1060-10μJ-SP is an ultra-short pulse laser used primarily for micro- and nanostructuring of materials. This laser operates in pulsed mode only with a pulse width of under 5 ps, and a frequency of up to 0.5 MHz. This means that whilst each individual pulse is very low in energy, that energy can be transferred to the material over a shorter time period than it takes any heat to transfer . This results in surface ablation as electrons typically require >10 ps to transfer heat to the lattice structure (although this is material dependent). This is often referred to as ‘cold processing’ and leads to reduced melt and much cleaner etching. The low energy per pulse is compensated for by the high pulse frequency, whilst still maintaining comparatively low wattage.

Laser Wavelength: 1064 nm

High Energy Nd:YAG Laser (0.85 J)

The Quantel Q-Smart 850 is a high-energy Q-switched Nd:YAG laser with frequency doubling and tripling options available. The laser operates in pulsed mode with a frequency of 10 Hz and a pulse width of 6 ns. Nd:YAG lasers have been used in applications ranging from surface processing/texturing, cutting/welding, laser shock peening (LSP), and additive manufacturing.

Laser Wavelength: 1064, 532 & 355 nm

Interested in working with us? We are always eager to collaborate with companies or academic colleagues. This could be on a strictly commercial basis, via development of a grant proposal (Innovate UK, EPSRC etc.), or simply experimentation towards a journal paper. Our extensive capabilities are highlighted in the commercial and research sections, please look there for details on what we can do for you.


For more information, to collaborate, or for a quote please e-mail: s.hodgson@chester.ac.uk