Industrial, Outreach Laboratory

AIPT Industrial Outreach Laboratory (IOL) has a focus on engagement with regional, national and international industry and business. The IOL goal is to ensure that AIPT research, innovation and enterprise activities will enhance the UK economy and will contribute to improving quality of life in the West Midlands, UK and beyond.  We aim to provide regional industry with our world-known expertise in the emerging technologies and tailor our industrial outreach based on our excellence in research to local and national needs.Industries typically prefer development technologies of high readiness level (TRL>6) for which the risk for investment is low. Aiming at bridging the more fundamental academic research with the industrial environment, the AIPT IOL conducts research closely with industry, following demands of industrial partners across sectors. Equipped with the state-of-the-art technologies and backed up by the world leading experts the IOL assists the regional, national and international industrial partners to solve technical issues, enlarge technology network and approach available funding opportunities. The research activities range from technology ready level (TRL) 1-6, fully supporting a new technology passing the Death Valley to market.

The expertise hosted at AIPT IOL team include a range of technologies, including optical sensing, laser technology, telecommunications technology, fibre-optic systems for various applications, machine learning in industrial applications, wireless and 5G, healthcare and bio-medical technology, nano-materials, laser material processing, instrumentation and measurements.

Facilities and Equipment

Facilities and Equipment

Business support & Industrial Application

Business support & Industrial Application

A feature of the research within AIPT – even the most fundamental – is the strong linkage with companies, either directly collaborating on a particular project or providing advice on the route to exploitation. Much of AIPT’s research is carried out in collaboration with industrial partners ranging from large companies to SMEs, covering industrial sectors including food, agriculture, healthcare, automotive and avionic.  We offer industrial a wide spectrum of support ranging from consultancy, student placements and projects, solving immediate problems, to large scale national and international collaborative projects on development of new products and solutions and tailored educational programmes

Key research and technology areas:

  • Photonic devices
  • Laser micromachining 
  • Optical sensing, including gas sensing and medical sensors
  • Instrumentation
  • Lasers
  • Near and mid infrared spectroscopy
  • Li-fi and spatial optical communication


  • Food 
  • Agriculture
  • Avionic 
  • Healthcare and medical
  • Defence
  • Telecommunications

Members: Dr. Kaiming Zhou (Head of AIPT Industrial Outreach Laboratory), Dr. Gordon, Dr.David Benton, Dr. Vladimir Osipov, Dr. Amit Yadav, Dr. Adnowo Gbadebo, Prof. Sergei Turitsyn, Prof. David Webb, Prof. Lin Zhang, Dr. Mariia Sorokina, Dr.Auro Perego

The team has received funding around £3m from EU and UK, including ERDF and InnovateUK.

Key project initiated and involved by industrial outreach group includes:

  • Fibre laser and sensor, phase I ( ERDF 2009-1012) €1.1m,
  • Fibre laser and sensor, phase II ( ERDF 2012-1015) €1.2m,
  • Innovative product support service (IPSS) ERDF 2016-2019)£300K
  • Collaborative research and development with Airbus (InnovateUK, 2015-2017) £220K
  • Collaborative research and development with Branscan, Warburton and Ardenphotonic (InnovateUK, 2014-2016) £180K
  • Collaborative research and development with Branscan, Warburton (InnovateUK, 2017-2019) £195K
  • Knowledge Transfer partnership with Optimec (InnovateUK, 2014-2016) £120K(£104518, 2 years)
  • Knowledge Transfer partnership with Gasdata (InnovateUK, 2013-2015) £156K (£81534, 1.5years)

A series of ERDF project has been funded to AIPT and a quite significant number of companies have received technical support from industrial outreach team, from the earlier fibre optical sensor and laser project to the recent IPSS .

Key people: Prof Sergei Turitsyn, Dr Kaiming Zhou

Gas Data Ltd embarked on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with academics from the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) to help develop and implement state of the art sustainable gas monitoring solutions. The project help Gasdata to introduce Laser technology to the company and develop new products which allow detection of gases either new to the company or with a limit used to be unachievable. As a result of the project, Gas data has seen an enlarged market and much increased revenue income.

Knowledge Transfer partnership with Optimec (InnovateUK, 2013-2015)

Key person: Prof David Webb

Optimec has over 30 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of soft contact lens measuring instruments, and has a strong presence in the market. However new trend of contact lens, such as irregular shape, multiple focus,  begin to invade the company’s existing market. To this end, the industrial outreach team introduced the company a new technology , Optical coherence tomography  (OCT) which has recently been developed for ophthalmologist to examine eyes and a  KTP project was secured for developing a new generation of innovative soft contact lens measuring equipment.  currently called the Optimec is830.

AIPT_Industrial Outreach Laboratory

Development of fibre laser based spectroscopy technologies at near infrared (NIR) and Mid-infrared (MIR) for measurement chemicals in food stuff. Not only nutrition such as protein and moisture, contaminations are also within the scope being monitored. The technology relies on the integration of several in-house expertise including fibre optical sensing, fibre laser  , software and instrumentation.

Funded project:

  • Collaborative research and development with Branscan, Warburton and Ardenphotonic (InnovateUK, 2014-2016) £180K
  • Collaborative research and development with Branscan, Warburton (InnovateUK, 2017-2019) £195K

Key people:Dr Kaiming Zhou, Dr Vladislav Dovyrin, Prof Lin Zhang, Prof Sergei Turitsyn


In collaboration with Airbus Ltd, new photonic technologies were examined for measurement of parameters of fuel in resonance of new development of airplanes featured with composite materials.  The project proposed OCT , LIDAR, and fibre grating for measurement of level, layer and contamination in fuel.
Collaborative research and development with Airbus (InnovateUK, 2015-2017) £220K

Key people: Dr Neil Gordon, Dr Kaiming Zhou, Prof. David Webb