UK-India laser programme to target global challenges

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Laser scientists and engineers from the UK and India will collaborate under a new programme to develop laser technologies for economic and societal impact.

Funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), with the UK lead being the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Central Laser Facility (CLF), the £4 million Extreme Photonics Innovation Centre (EPIC) will be housed in laboratories set up at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Hyderabad. The joint UK and India scheme will use particle and x-ray beams with the aim of revolutionising a range of areas of healthcare, such as high-resolution imaging, therapeutic and biomedical applications to tackle health problems.

The funding for the projects will be matched by international collaborators from countries including India, China, the USA and Japan. It brings the total UK investment in international scientific collaborations to more than £2 billion.

'These new accelerators can deliver very bright particle and x-ray beams that could be used for high-resolution industrial and biomedical imaging, and for therapeutic applications,' said Central Laser Facility director Professor John Collier. 

'TIFR has a long tradition of research on lasers and plans to initiate new activities based on intense petawatt lasers at its Hyderabad campus. With this background TIFR is collaborating with the CLF team to develop state-of-the-art technologies that will be of great benefit to both India and UK,' Professor Chandrasekhar, centre director, TIFR Hyderabad said of the new collaboration.

EPIC’s UK lead, Dr Rajeev Pattathil, said experiments using CLF’s existing high power laser systems had already demonstrated the potential application of the new accelerators in industry, engineering, science, medicine, and advanced materials.

'Working with India on developing further the technologies that transform novel accelerators to real world applications will be mutually beneficial as India aspires to have a strong research programme in this area through the recently announced expansion of the TIFR centre in Hyderabad that will house EPIC.'