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 (Photo: JAN MARCHAL/AFP/Getty Images).


LASER scientists and engineers from the UK and India will collaborate under a new innovation programme launched to develop fresh laser technologies that will have the potential to boost the economies of both countries.

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 Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Southern Indian city of Hyderabad.

The project will focus on developing and exploiting laser techniques for economic and societal impact.

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 EPIC project is one of 13 new research projects announced by the British Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom on Friday (10).

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.

The investment in the EPIC project comes as part of the second wave of the Government’s Fund for International Collaboration, overseen by UKRI – the government’s research and development agency.

The UKRI will support EPIC and these other projects over a five-year period, helping to maintain the aim of promoting the UK as a world-class destination to generate and access research and innovation.

Professor V Chandrasekhar, Centre Director, TIFR Hyderabad said: “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.”

Speaking about EPIC the Central Laser Facility Director Professor John Collier said: “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.”

“CLF is a world-leader in exploiting these novel accelerators and we’ll build on our long-standing collaboration with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) whose expertise in this area will help us develop this work further.”

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,” he added.