1) superlens-powered super-resolution imaging
James and his ‘Bangor Superlens Team’ is well-known for their pioneering works on microsphere and nanoparticle-based superlens technologies, including ‘microsphere superlens’ and ‘microsphere nanoscope’ (2011, published in Nature Communications), ’spider silk superlens’ (2016, Nano Letters) and ’nanoparticle superlens’ (2016, Science Advances). All these works were widely publicised and appeared in major media including BBC, New York Times, Daily Mail, Independent, Australian BC, China Xinhua and a huge number of science and engineering websites, as well as in RCUK’s ’50 big ideas for the future’. James is the 2016 finalist for ‘Research Excellence Award’ and ‘Dissertation/thesis supervisor of the year’ of Bangor University. He was also selected as a member of 2015 Welsh Crucible cohort (group of young Wales-based leaders in academia, industry and business). He received Most Outstanding R&D Staff Merit Award in 2005 for his contribution in laser cleaning at DSI Singapore.
The latest nanoparticle superlens developed by James and his team is one of the most powerful superlens in the field at present. Compared to other superlenses, Bangor’s superlens produces shaper and better-quality images of super-resolved nanoscale features, including for example 50-nm standard polystyrene nanoparticles, 45-nm gaps in semiconductor chips and 90-100 nm adenoviruses. The team is currently developing a superlens-integrated biochip device and a superlens-based nano-imaging & fabrication system.
2) Laser-based advanced manufacturing, material processing for industry
The team perform research into laser cutting, welding, drilling, texturing, marking, cleaning, polishing, and others (e.g. laser improvement of seed germination and yield) for various industrial applications. The school host a wide range of laser facilities at Bangor, including nanosecond fibre and UV lasers, femtosecond laser and CO2 lasers. Various characterisation tools including advanced 3D laser scanning microscopes (Olympus OLS5000 and DSX1000) are also available for the precise measurement and characterisation of laser-processed samples. The research is currently supported by major pan-wales project “Centre for Photonics Expertise (CPE)” which supports welsh industry (all sectors including electronics, optics, aerospace, automotive, energy, nuclear, etc.) in developing new products, process and services. We have been working with companies including Qioptiq, TataSteel, Welsh Slates, Trascend Packaging, among others. The team has developed very unique capability in direct laser nano marking using specially developed superlens with sub-100 nm resolution.
3) Shift-free metamaterial filters:
The team are among the few groups who have successfully developed new metamaterial-based, shift-free, wide-angle, narrowband filters for anti laser striking application and working towards new application in underwater optical communications.
4) Solar cell (SPARCII project)
- Novel laser trapping nanostrucuters and metasurface for high efficiency solar cell;
- solar-driven water splitting
- Nanophotonics and plasmonics in perovskite solar cells
- Advanced laser manufacturing technology for solar cell
5) Data-driven intelligent Manufacturing and nano-imaging
- AI and ML driven advanced manufacturing
- Advanced imaging with AI and ML
- Intelligent robotic manufacturing
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James received BSc and MSc degrees in physics from Xiamen University, P.R. China, in 1997 and 2001 respectively, and a PhD in 2005 in Electrical and Computer Engineering from National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore. He is currently a reader at Bangor University.
His research expertise lies in the fields of nanophotonics, metamaterial and laser processing, with special focuses on super-resolution microscopy, imaging, sensing, laser cleaning and processing for industry. He has published more than 150 papers and delivered more than 40 invited talks, with an H-index 35 (Jun 2020).