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Professor Martin Booth appointed as Department’s new Chair of Electrical Engineering

The appointment is a key part of the strategic plan of the Department and University to strengthen research and teaching in Optical and Photonics Engineering at Oxford

Martin Booth

Professor Martin Booth has been appointed as the Department’s new Chair of Electrical Engineering, with a Fellowship at St Hugh’s College. The post was previously held by Professor Jong Min Kim, from 2012-2015.

The appointment is a key part of the strategic plan of the Department and University, to strengthen research and teaching in Optical and Photonics Engineering at Oxford as a key component of our portfolio in Engineering Science. As the new Chair of Electrical Engineering, Professor Booth will continue research at the forefront of this area, shaping the direction of photonics at Oxford, as well as providing leadership to colleagues working in the field.

He says, “Oxford has a long history of world-leading activity in Optics and Photonics, not only in the Department of Engineering Science, but across the wider University and through commercialisation of our technology. It will be an honour to support the future of teaching and research in this area through my appointment to this chair.”

Professor Booth is currently Deputy Head of the Engineering Science Department and Chair of Faculty. He is a fellow of Jesus College and holds a lecturership at Lincoln College. He is an alumnus of the Engineering Science department, having read for his M.Eng. degree at Hertford College and then his doctorate (D.Phil.) at Jesus College. He was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at Christ Church in 2001 and in 2003 was appointed a Royal Academy of Engineering/EPSRC Research Fellow. In 2007 he was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship and was elected to a Hugh Price Fellowship at Jesus College. He became Professor of Engineering Science and Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College in 2014.

He has been elected to fellowship of Optica (the Optical Society), the SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics) and the Institute of Physics. He has received prestigious international prizes, including the 2012 Young Researcher Award from the School of Advanced Optical Technologies, Erlangen, Germany, and the 2014 International Commission for Optics Prize. In 2016 he won an ERC Advanced Grant to develop novel approaches to adaptive optics across microscopy.

He leads Oxford’s Dynamic Optics and Photonics research group which has developed adaptive optical techniques to overcome problems caused by aberrations in high resolution optics and microscope specimens, which distort the focus and reduce image resolution. The Dynamic Optics and Photonics group has connections to many other research groups in Oxford and further afield, as well as being closely linked to industry, and has resulted in two spin-off companies – Aurox Ltd, and Opsydia Ltd.

Professor Booth’s current projects include adaptive optics for microscopy, biomedical microscopy, superresolution microscopy, ophthalmic imaging, adaptive laser fabrication, dynamic parallel laser machining and diamond photonics. The applications of this technology range from neuroscience to quantum physics. In the field of adaptive optics, his team has introduced a universal framework for image based aberration measurement and extension of adaptive optics concepts to the vectorial domain, by combining polarisation and phase compensation. In application projects, their research covers new optical microscopic methods for probing brain function, and novel technology for high resolution imaging of the retina. They are developing adaptive optical devices in conjunction with the Soft Matter Photonics Group and as part of the EPSRC New Horizons Initiative, looking at a new 3D technology providing the prospect of powerful, reprogrammable optical processors with wide applicability. Their adaptive laser fabrication is enabling novel optical fibre sensing methods and diamond based technologies.

Head of Department Professor Ron Roy says of the appointment, "Professor Booth's proven track record for groundbreaking photonics research and executive leadership in the department makes him the perfect choice for this post. Statutory professors serve as intellectual guiding lights for their academic cohorts, and the Engineering Science Department and St Hugh's College stand to benefit greatly from Martin's knowledge and leadership."