Transfer of laser research and development to spin-out companies, Lynton Lasers Ltd and Laser Quantum Ltd.
Submitting InstitutionUniversity of Manchester
Unit of AssessmentPhysics
Summary Impact TypeTechnological
Research Subject Area(s)
Physical Sciences: Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics, Other Physical Sciences
Engineering: Biomedical Engineering
Summary of the impact
Research in the laser photonics area has led to the formation and
continuing development of two spin-out companies, Lynton Lasers Ltd and
Laser Quantum Ltd, with annual turnover of £5.3m and >£12m
respectively, and direct economic impact of [text removed for publication]
over the REF period. Laser Quantum Ltd manufacture and market OEM diode
pumped solid state lasers and Ti:sapphire lasers, which are incorporated
in the products of major international companies in the scientific and
entertainment sectors. Lynton Lasers Ltd manufacture and market medical
devices for the cosmetic and aesthetic surgery market. Their products and
services have underpinned the business of [text removed for publication]
over the REF period. With an average cost of between [text removed for
publication] over the REF period.
The impact is based directly on research that took place in Manchester
from 1993 to the present day with publications throughout this period. The
key researchers were: Professor Terry King, Dr Mark Dickinson, Dr Jon
Exley, Dr Andrew Charlton, Dr Andrew Berry, Dr Lawrie Gloster, Dr Alan
Cox, Dr Steve Lane and Dr Dan Coleman. A timeline showing their
involvement with the research and subsequent spin-out companies is shown
There are two main areas of research involved with this case. The first
is in the field of Laser Photomedicine where the researchers were looking
into ways of using light to treat vascular lesions and other skin
conditions. The main research findings were:
- That a filtered flashlamp (now known as an Intense Pulsed Lightsource
(IPL)) was successful in treating a range of skin lesions ;
- That by varying the pulse length of the flashlamp, different types of
lesions at varying depths within the tissue could be targeted ;
- That by pre-cooling the tissue with a cryogen spray, deep lesions
could be treated without causing damage to the surface tissue .
Since this initial work, the group in Manchester has worked on a range of
other sources, including fibre lasers , and has also used these for
tissue interaction studies, which has informed the development of new
laser devices by Lynton Lasers Ltd (used for hair and tattoo removal).
The second area is in the field of compact, efficient, diode-pumped laser
sources. This resulted in techniques for spectrally matching sources with
pump bands to improve efficiency and power output in Diode-Pumped Solid
State (DPSS) lasers. The main research findings were:
- That Yb doped S-FAP (strontium flourapatite, Sr5(PO4)3F)
could be efficiently pumped by diode lasers ;
- That Yb doped S-FAP was an efficient 1-µm source that could be
Q-switched easily .
- That high efficiency lasers can be made using Er and Pr doped glasses
- That a Tm laser can be efficiently pumped by an Yb silica laser .
References to the research
The research was published in leading journals and presented at
international conferences. The SPIE series of conferences is recognised as
one the world leading conferences for topical research in Optical
Engineering. Optics Communications has an impact factor of around 1.5, and
papers , ,  and  have 22, 17, 16 and 32 citations respectively
(source: Web of Science). The starred (*) papers best illustrate the
quality of the research. Publications:
 J. Exley, M. R. Dickinson, T. A. King, A. J. Berry, and S. Jamieson,
"The development of a broad band light source with variable pulse length
and energy for the treatment of vascular lesions," Lasers in Surgery:
Advanced Characterization, Therapeutics, and Systems VII, Proceedings of
the SPIE — The International Society for Optical Engineering, vol.
2970, pp. 327-334, 1997.
 J. Exley, M. R. Dickinson, T. A. King, A. Charlton, S. Falder, and J.
Kenealy, "Comparison of cooling criteria with a cryogen spray and water
air spray," Laser Tissue Interaction X: Photochemical, Photothermal,
and Photomechanical, Proceedings of the SPIE — The International Society
for Optical Engineering, vol. 3601, pp. 130-140, 1999.
 *M. R. Dickinson, L. A. W. Gloster, N. W. Hopps, and T. A. King,
"Continuous-wave diode-pumped Yb3+:S-FAP laser," Optics
Communications, vol. 132, pp. 275-278, 1996. DOI: 10.1016/0030-4018(96)00367-7.
 *L. A. W. Gloster, P. Cormont, A. M. Cox, T. A. King, and B. H. T.
Chai, "Diode-pumped Q-switched Yb:S-FAP laser", Optics Communications,
146(1-6), pp. 177-180, 1998. DOI: 10.1016/S0030-4018(97)00543-9.
 D. J. Coleman, P. Golding, T. A. King, S. Jackson, "Spectroscopic and
energy-transfer parameters for Er3+-doped and Er3+,
Pr3+-codoped GeGaS glasses", JOSA B, 19(9), pp. 1982-1989,
2002. DOI: 10.1364/JOSAB.19.001982.
 *Y. H. Tsang, D. J. Coleman, T. A. King, "High power 1.9 µm Tm3+-silica
fibre laser pumped at 1.09 µm by a Yb3+-silica fibre laser", Optics
Communications, 231, pp. 357-364, 2004. DOI: 10.1016:j.optcom.2003.11.072.
Details of the impact
Lynton Lasers Ltd and Laser Quantum Ltd are both spin-out companies from
the University of Manchester and were formed in each case by former
members of the School of Physics and Astronomy.
Lynton Lasers Ltd (formed in 1994) has a core business in aesthetic and
cosmetic surgery using light, that builds directly on the research at
Manchester. They currently manufacture and market sources for applications
such as tattoo and hair removal, and for the treatment of vascular
lesions. They operate a clinic in Manchester and also provide regular
training courses for users of their treatment systems. Staff from the
photon physics area at the University of Manchester teach on these
courses, maintaining regular updates of current research into the market
place (such as a better understanding of laser tissue interactions accrued
from using new sources such as fibre lasers). The core of the
company business is underpinned by the study and application of
light/tissue interactions and uses intense pulsed light (IPL) systems, one
of their main product lines. Lynton Lasers Ltd now employs [text removed
for publication]. The direct economic impact over the REF period is around
[text removed for publication] but there is also a secondary impact in
that their products and services have helped improve the quality of life
of up to [text removed for publication] clients/patients since 2008 and
over [text removed for publication] people have been trained in the use of
the systems (with Dickinson and Binks contributing to the training courses
since 2008). With around [text removed for publication] systems in the
field, and 2 treatments per week, there would have been over [text removed
for publication] treatments over the REF period, and at between [text
removed for publication] per treatment that amounts to a monetary value of
up to [text removed for publication]. Lynton Lasers now has a market share
of around [text removed for publication] for IPL sources. Without the
background research in Manchester on IPLs, this product range would not
exist [text removed for publication].
Lynton Lasers keeps records of testimonials from users of their products,
but one example sums the service up with: `Lynton Lasers provide the
highest standards of customer care, backed by years of research, design
technology and on-going clinical studies........... My Lynton system has
enabled me to deliver 100% satisfaction and results to my patients for
vascular lesions / red veins, sun damage and excess hair removal. The
client word-of-mouth recommendation has increased my business turnover
by another 55%.'
There are many companies and organisations that can corroborate the
impact that Lynton Laser's products and services have had for them —
contacts details for three that have provided corroboration are listed in
Section 5 below [text removed for publication].
Laser Quantum Ltd spun-out of Manchester University in 1994 and [text
removed for publication]. Manufacturing DPSS lasers in the UK, Laser
Quantum delivers over [text removed for publication] lasers a year to over
30 countries covering 13 product ranges from UV through to infrared. The
monetary impact of the research is around [text removed for publication]
over the REF period. Laser Quantum now has a subsidiary in the US, Laser
Quantum Inc, and a service centre in Japan as well as distributors and
representatives worldwide. The research carried out in Manchester on
optical coupling and spectral matching of pump emission to gain material
absorption bands has been instrumental in the design and production of
their current product range [text removed for publication].
Laser Quantum's clients range from academic institutes through to
multi-national OEM companies and include major defence companies both in
the UK and around the world, several measurement instrumentation
manufacturers as well as medical diagnostics and instrumentation. They are
also amongst the world's largest pump-source suppliers for Ti:sapphire and
dye lasers. [text removed for publication]
Sources to corroborate the impact
Letters supporting the statements made have been supplied by:
[text removed for publication]