Dr Jonathan Shephard


Dr Jonathan Shephard is a Lecturer in the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences (Applied Optics and Photonics Group) at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, focussing on High Power Laser Applications (HPLA).

He received the BA degree in Engineering at St John’s College, Cambridge University in 1994 and then joined Pilkington Plc, 1994-1995, working within R&D. He was awarded an MSc (Eng) with Distinction, 1996, and obtained his PhD in 2000 within the Department of Engineering Materials, University of Sheffield. Since 2003 he has been an integral member of the Applied Optics and Photonics Group at Heriot-Watt University.

High power lasers are being increasingly used in industry and healthcare, in a wide variety of manufacturing and clinical applications.  They provide a highly controllable and localised source of energy which can be tailored to the particular materials and application of interest. The scope of the HPLA research at Heriot-Watt (jointly managed with Prof Duncan Hand and consisting of a mixture of postdoctoral RAs, PhD and EngD students) covers the manipulation and delivery of high power laser light, the study of laser-matter interactions, the optimisation, monitoring and control of high power laser-driven processes, and their exploitation to provide new capabilities in manufacturing and medicine.  There is an emphasis on developing multidisciplinary links with academic and industrial partners; also medical end users such as surgeons and dentists.   We exploit our team’s knowledge and experience in adaptive optics, laser physics, high-power-laser fibre delivery and material sciences to:

  • contribute to the fundamental understanding of laser precision machining of engineering and bio materials
  • offer new capabilities and practical solutions to the engineering and technical challenges of our industrial and medical collaborators

A number of research areas are targeted: Developing novel optical fibres for high power laser delivery; Technologies for integrating lasers into manufacturing processes; Adaptive optics to tailor light to specific applications; Optical non-destructive testing; and Novel laser processes for medicine, and for manufacturing.

Our laboratories are well-equipped, including various high average power lasers (nanosecond and picosecond pulsed systems at 1064, 532 and 355nm; millisecond pulsed systems at 1064nm; pulsed and cw lasers at 2940 nm; cw diode laser systems), together with appropriate laser beam manipulation; diagnostic equipment including optical microscopes, sectioning and polishing equipment, and good access to scanning electron and Raman microscopes.

Dr Shephard specifically leads projects in robotic manipulation, mid-IR fibres and medical applications.  Activity includes the integration of high powered lasers into novel robotic motion systems using fibre technologies (joint programme with Renishaw plc), development of non-destructive optical inspection for dental parts (funded through the Heriot-Watt/Renishaw Strategic Alliance), and the development of novel fibre optics for mid-IR medical lasers to replace articulated arms (funded via EPSRC). Medical applications involve collaborations with: the Eastman Dental School (University College London) to develop novel application of CO2 lasers in dental procedures, orthopaedic surgeons (Prof Hamish Simpson, University of Edinburgh) and eye surgeons (Prof Bal Dhillon, University of Edinburgh) aiming to exploit the group’s novel photonic technologies in the field of medicine.

Selected Publications

Flexible delivery of Er:YAG radiation at 2.94 µm with negative curvature silica glass fibers: a new solution for minimally invasive surgical procedures. Urich, A., Maier, R. R. J., Yu, F., Knight, J. C., Hand, D. P. & Shephard, J. D. Biomedical Optics Express. 4, 2, p. 193-205 (2013)

Delivery of high energy Er:YAG pulsed laser light at 2.94µm through a silica hollow core photonic crystal fibre. Urich, A., Maier, R. R. J., Mangan, B. J., Renshaw, S., Knight, J. C., Hand, D. P. & Shephard, J. D. Optics Express. 20, 6, p. 6677-6684 (2012)

Infrared confocal imaging for inspection of flaws in yttria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia polycrystal (Y-TZP). Matysiak, M., Parry, J. P., Albri, F., Crowder, J. G., Jones, N., Jonas, K., Weston, N., Hand, D. P. & Shephard, J. D. Measurement Science and Technology. 22, 12, 10 p., 125502 (2011)

Application of cooled spatial light modulator for high power nanosecond laser micromachining. Beck, R. J., Parry, J. P., MacPherson, W. N., Waddie, A., Weston, N. J., Shephard, J. D. & Hand, D. P. Optics Express. 18, 16, p. 17059-17065, (2010)

Dr Jonathan D Shephard
Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences
Applied Optics and Photonics Group
School of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
+44 (0)131 451 4343

Contact Dr Jonathan Shephard

Cohort 1 (36 months)