Research at Swansea University on light therapy has contributed to an
extensive market in laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) products for the
therapeutic and cosmetic treatment of skin conditions. Impacts include:
globally registered intellectual property; local manufacturing of a wide
range of laser and IPL products; their distribution to over 40 countries;
and resulting benefits to health in treating acne, rejuvenating skin and
removing hair. The research undertaken by Swansea University and its
companies pioneered this market in partnership with Procter & Gamble
and Unilever; and established a joint venture with Sony UK to manufacture
these laser and IPL products in South Wales. The Welsh government views
this collaboration as an exemplar for the resurgence of UK specialist
Circadian rhythms impact upon a large proportion of human biology.
Disruption due to genetic or environmental (e.g. altered sleep patterns in
shift workers) cues results in reduced quality of life and increased
morbidity for millions of people every year.
Researchers at Surrey first demonstrated blue light sensitivity of the
human circadian system, resulting in increased alertness and mood. This
led to changes in international lighting standards and the development and
use of novel lighting systems, such as blue-enriched polychromatic
lighting. These systems have been employed in homes for older people,
factories, offices, hospitals and schools, increasing health and
Impact: Health and Economic Gains:
Research has led to a wearable light source that provides a new way of
treating many skin cancers and acne. The treatment is safe, convenient,
and easy to use bringing benefits to patients and healthcare providers. In
addition it brings economic benefits to Ambicare Health Ltd, the company
For skin cancer treatment, the device gives effective treatment with much
reduced pain. The simplified treatment procedure allows more patients to
be treated in a clinic session. For acne, the device provides a convenient
at-home treatment without the application of drugs or chemicals.
Skin cancer and acne sufferers, the clinics that treat them and Ambicare
The work was led by Professor Ifor Samuel (PHYESTA) working with
Professor James Ferguson (Ninewells Hospital, Dundee).
The wearable light source has changed treatment in the UK and the
Netherlands. The skin cancer treatment is in regular use at more than 25
clinics, and the acne treatment at more than 250 clinics.
Research by Raynham et al has led to the adoption of white light in
residential roads and city centres throughout the UK, enabling an energy
saving of 30-40% while providing better quality of street lighting. As a
result, today there are now c.1,200,000 conventional street lights with
white light sources and a further c.220,000 LED lanterns that emit white
light. Conservative estimates suggest that this changeover to white light
saved 113 GWh of electricity in 2012, and thus reduced the UK emissions of
CO2 by 45.5 megatons.
Regulation of our sleep-wake cycle is crucial to health and well-being.
The quality (intensity and
spectral distribution) of artificial light is currently described
according to its ability to activate rod
and cone photoreceptors in the human eye. This approach ignores the
discovery of a third
photoreceptor that Lucas and his group have shown to be responsible for a
range of sub-conscious
neurophysiological and neurobehavioural responses to light, which together
strongly contribute to
health, productivity and well-being. Their research has established ways
of measuring light that
predict its effect on these newly discovered photoreceptors. They have
partnered with industrial
[text removed for publication] and public policy (various) organisations
to translate this knowledge
into improved artificial light sources and updated international standards
for architectural lighting,
for use in a wide range of domestic, public and industrial settings.
Novel bioluminescent bacterial biosensors developed at UWE, Bristol, and
commercialised by Randox, have been used by a range of companies to
demonstrate effectiveness of drugs and decontamination procedures. This
has improved development processes at companies including Clavis Pharma,
Purest Solutions and Dycem, leading to new manufacturing processes and
quality control test methods. The biosensors are used in novel
applications to give pharmacodynamic data on effectiveness of drugs and
real time in-situ demonstration of effectiveness of
decontamination processes. These biosensors, pioneered and developed by
Vyv Salisbury's group, have been commercially adopted and used for
evaluation by at least six collaborating companies.
Implementation of photonic quasi-crystals on light emitting diodes (LEDs)
can produce more light using less energy. This technology was brought to
the global market via the successful commercialisation of laboratory
devices derived from research in nanophotonics and the subsequent
development of photonic quasi-crystals by a multi-disciplinary team from
the University of Southampton. The intellectual property of the technology
was acquired and adopted in 2008 by Luxtaltek Corporation, a global
manufacturer of LEDs. In the period 2008-2012 Luxtaltek Corporation, made
total profits of £35 million utilising the photonic quasi-crystal LED
technology, employing more than 300 people in its production facilities.
The light-emittingdendrimers are a new class of materials for organic
light-emitting diodes, a major display technology. They have been
commercialised by Cambridge Display Technology (CDT), the leading
developer of polymer light-emitting diodes.
Light-emitting dendrimers provided a breakthrough in the efficiency of
organic light emitting diode (OLED) materials deposited from solution.
This enabled the convenience of solution-processing to be combined with
high efficiency, and enabled solution-processed materials to compete with
CDT, display manufacturers around the world and display users.
The research was performed by Professor Samuel in collaboration with
Professor Burn of the University of Oxford.
Materials based on light-emitting dendrimers are manufactured by Sumitomo
Chemical in Japan and supplied to global displays manufacturers.
Interdisciplinary research on a new class of organo-metallic light
emitting polymers showed that they could produce white light very
efficiently. A consortium of the University and Industry (predominantly
Thorn Lighting, the largest lighting manufacturing employer in the North
East) developed and patented these into a viable alternative to mercury
vapour fluorescent lights with a £4.3M grant from the DTI with matched
funding from industry. The companies are investing in scaling this up to a
full commercial supply chain, supported by a £4M grant from the Technology
Strategy Board. The success of the project helped BIS secure £20.5M to
support Plastic Electronics in the UK, creating 26 jobs, and was cited as
a factor in the Thorn decision not to close down its North East site,
safeguarding 600 jobs.
Natural photonics research by Professor Pete Vukusic at the University of
Exeter was responsible for shaping the successful global communications
strategy of Bausch & Lomb, a world-leading supplier of eye health
products. Drawing on Vukusic's studies into bio-inspiration, Bausch &
Lomb built its core brand messaging for a major new lens product around
the ability of nature to inspire technological breakthroughs. Outreach
campaigns targeting media and optometry professionals took Vukusic's
research to an international audience, raising wider public awareness of
the concept of bio-inspiration. Bausch & Lomb attributed their
subsequent rapid sales growth to Vukusic's work.