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Dr Richard Bowman

Dr Richard Bowman

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellow

Nanophotonics Centre
Cavendish Laboratory
JJ Thomson Avenue

Cambridge CB3 0HE
Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 337446


2015-8: Royal Commission 1851 Research Fellow, Nanophotonics Centre, Cavendish Laboratory

2015-6: Queens' College Postdoctoral Research Associate

2012-5: Queens' College Junior Research Fellow (Melsome Research Scholar), Cavendish Laboratory

2008-12: PhD in Optical Tweezers, University of Glasgow

2004-8: BA & M.Sci in Experimental and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge (Churchill College)

Research groups


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.  This project is joint between the Nanophotonics Centre and the CMMPE group in CAPE.


Microscopy is a staple technique of the Nanophotonics Centre, particularly when combined with spectroscopy.  I am particularly interested in experimental automation, and have set up several automated microspectroscopy systems in the group, able to acquire spectra of thousands of particles per day.  This means we can generate large enough datasets to analyse populations of nanostructures and start to understand the variables in our self-assembled materials - including faceting of nominally spherical nanoparticles, and sub-nanometre variability in spacer layer thicknesses. 


I also have an onging interest in low cost instrumentation, as part of the growing global movement towards open hardware for science (see, for example, 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.

Key Publications

Stereoscopic particle tracking for 3D touch, vision and closed-loop control in optical tweezers, R Bowman, D Preece, G Gibson, M Padgett, Journal of optics 13 (4), 044003

Optimisation of a low cost SLM for diffraction efficiency and ghost order suppression, R Bowman, V D’Ambrosio, E Rubino, O Jedrkiewicz, P Di Trapani, et al, The European Physical Journal Special Topics 199 (1), 149-158

Unfolding the contents of sub-nm plasmonic gaps using normalising plasmon resonance spectroscopy, B de Nijs, RW Bowman, LO Herrmann, F Benz, SJ Barrow, J Mertens, et al Faraday discussions 178, 185-193

A one-piece 3D printed flexure translation stage for open-source microscopy, JP Sharkey, DCW Foo, A Kabla, JJ Baumberg, RW Bowman, Review of Scientific Instruments 87 (2), 025104

A full publication list can be found on Google Scholar: