Personal profile

Research interests

My research centres around two main themes, waveguide circuits and microscopy. I aim to create reconfigurable waveguide circuits to enable telecoms and quantum optics at higher bandwidth, and using less power than current schemes.

Optical microscopy is a staple technique of the physical and life sciences, and is often combined with other techniques such as spectroscopy, micromanipulation, or electrical probing to characterize everything from biological tissue to microelectronic devices. I have developed and automated instruments including optical tweezers, micromanipulators, and microspectroscopy systems to investigate problems ranging from nematode worm physiology to nanostructure self-assembly. Collaboration with scientists from other disciplines is key to instrumentation research, and I am always interested to hear from potential collaborators within and beyond the University of Bath with new microscopy challenges.

I also have an ongoing interest in low cost instrumentation, as part of the growing global movement towards open hardware for science (see the GOSH manifesto). I have developed a 3D printed microscope complete with translation stage, demonstrating high-quality mechanics for a tiny fraction of the cost of traditional instruments.

The major research challenge here is how to achieve repeatable, precise positioning using roughly manufactured plastic parts. This work has a great deal of immediate application, and I am working with partners in Tanzania to enable local production of microscopes, which can be used for education, medical diagnostics, and scientific research. This work is done in collaboration with a not-for-profit spin out company, WaterScope, which I co-founded.

Willing to supervise PhD

I would welcome interested potential PhD students with an interest in optics, instrumentation, and lab automation - particularly if you are interested in learning and applying these techniques to a novel problem in the physical or life sciences.  I will have one funded place to start in October 2018 for a UK or EU student, but am also very interested to hear from international students who have identified competitive sources of funding for which we might apply together.  Currently, my lab hosts a range of projects, from 3D printed optomechanics to cutting-edge hyperspectral microscopy and beam forming with SLMs.  Currently the biggest project in the lab is in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and a maker space in Tanzania, so there is an opportunity for international travel and a PhD project that really makes a difference.

NB if you intend to apply for a scholarship, please bear in mind that you will most likely need to start the process in late 2017 as there are University deadlines in addition to those of your funder.

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

Optical tweezers Engineering & Materials Science
light modulators Physics & Astronomy
traps Physics & Astronomy
pixels Physics & Astronomy
stiffness Physics & Astronomy
trapping Physics & Astronomy
microscopy Physics & Astronomy
microscopes Physics & Astronomy

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2017 2021

Brightening the Dim Modes of Plasmonic Nanostructures

Bowman, R.


Project: Research council

Detailed Malaria Diagnostics with Intelligent Microscopy

Bowman, R.


Project: Research council

GCRF - Open Lab Instrumentation

Bowman, R.


Project: Research council

3D printers

Research Output 2007 2017

Plasmonic nanohole electrodes for active color tunable liquid crystal transmissive pixels

Bartholomew, R., Williams, C., Khan, A., Bowman, R. & Wilkinson, T. 15 Jul 2017 In : Optics Letters. 42, 14, p. 2810-2813 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
liquid crystals
visible spectrum
4 Citations

A one-piece 3D printed flexure translation stage for open-source microscopy

Sharkey, J. P., Foo, D. C. W., Kabla, A., Baumberg, J. J. & Bowman, R. W. Feb 2016 In : Review of Scientific Instruments. 87, 2, 7 p., 025104

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Microscopic examination

Chapter 10 Optical Tweezers Outwith Microrheology

Bowman, R. W. 1 Jul 2016 Microrheology with Optical Tweezers: Principles and Applications. Tassieri, M. (ed.). Singapore: Pan Stanford, p. 259-274 16 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

1 Citations

Holographic tracking and sizing of optically trapped microprobes in diamond anvil cells

Saglimbeni, F., Bianchi, S., Gibson, G., Bowman, R., Padgett, M. & Leonardo, R. D. 1 Nov 2016 In : Optics Express. 24, 23, p. 27009-27015 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
1 Citations

Polarisation-selective hotspots in metallic ring stack arrays

Brooks, L. J., Mertens, J., Bowman, R. W., Chikkaraddy, R., Sanders, A. & Baumberg, J. J. 22 Feb 2016 In : Optics Express. 24, 4, p. 3663-3671 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
active control