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
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.
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.
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 Lighting Group has been involved in the formulation of national and
international design guidance, with impacts on the practices of the UK and
international lighting industry.
This guidance offers designers the tools to create optimum visual
conditions in energy efficient buildings while reducing electric lighting
usage. This involves three areas:
The main impact of the work is its influence on the body of professional
practice relating to interior lighting design. This guidance advocates the
creation of user friendly visual conditions, low electricity usage and
natural light in areas remote from windows.
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.
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.
Periodontitis is a significant public health concern affecting more than
half of those over 30 years of age. Our research on light-activated
antimicrobial agents (LAAAs) has resulted in the development of a novel,
non-invasive therapy that quickly and safely treats periodontitis, thereby
reducing antibiotic usage. This technology was developed for commercial
use through a licence agreement with Ondine Biomedical and their
subsidiary company PDT Inc., as a system called Periowave. Periowave is
available in Canada, Mexico and South East Asia, has been granted CE
marking and FDA approval is currently being sought. To date an estimated
92,000 treatment kits have been sold and 313,000 patients treated. The
system has now also been adapted for use in hospitals to eradicate MRSA
from the anterior nares thereby preventing post-surgical infections.
University of Nottingham research into the use of natural lighting and
ventilation in building design has resulted in the development, marketing
and application of two new sister products (SunCatcher and Sola-Vent) by a
leading supplier of low-carbon, low-energy solutions. Since 2008, 745
installations of Sola-Vent units have been carried out by Monodraught Ltd.
Homes and commercial premises, both in the UK and overseas, have
benefitted from the low energy demands of the system. As well as
delivering economic benefits for the company, this work has had a positive
impact on building owners and occupiers and the wider environment.