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Dr Ian Lindsay

Ian has been awarded a Marie Curie European Reintegration Grant to support his research into localised infrared spectroscopy of nanostructured materials. These grants are awarded to researchers who have previously carried out a Marie Curie fellowship in another EU member state and the award will provide additional support to the EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship that brought Ian to Bristol in October 2007.

While infrared spectroscopy is a well established method for determining parameters such as chemical composition and molecular structure, it cannot be readily applied to individual nanostructures as the diffraction-limited spatial resolution with infrared light is typically several microns. This limit can be overcome by using a the metallised probe tip of an atomic force microscope to act as a "nano-antenna" allowing the near-field around individual nanostructures to be probed with a spatial resolution of 10nm or less. Such techniques, however, have been limited in their application to true spectroscopy by the lack of infrared lasers capable of tuning over wide spectral ranges.

Ian's research aims to address this problem through the application of optical parametric oscillators, laser-like sources based on nonlinear optical interactions, to existing near-field optical techniques. Such an approach will, it is intended, provide techniques which allow the interplay between nanostructuring of materials and localised chemical properties to be investigated in unprecedented detail offering new insights into the properties of materials such as block-copolymers and self-assembling protein fibrils.