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Prof Angus Bain
Prof Angus Bain profile picture
  • Professor of Physics
  • Dept of Physics & Astronomy
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

I was an undergraduate at King's College London where I gained a B.Sc. in Chemistry in 1979. My D.Phil research with Tony McCaffery at the University of Sussex concentrated on high resolution laser induced fluorescence spectroscopy of molecular collision dynamics and the theory of polarised laser interactions with aligned molecules (Thesis: Polarised Laser Fluorescence Studies of Ground and Excited State Dynamics (1984)).

From 1984-1988 I was a postdoctoral fellow at the NSF-NIH Regional Laser and Biotechnology Laboratories at University of Pennsylvania with Robin Hochstrasser where I developed a UV-visible picosecond time resolved polarised four wave mixing experiment to study activated barrier crossing processes in solution, this work has been cited in 144 subsequent journal articles. In collaboration with Charles Shank's laboratory at AT&T's Holmdel laboratories I built the Hochstrasser Group's first colliding pulse modelocked (CPM) femtosecond (27 fs) dye laser and a “bow tie” copper vapour pumped CPM amplifier. 

In 1988 I returned to the UK and set about constructing an ultrafast laser laboratory at the University of Essex, during this time we developed ultrafast spectroscopic techniques based on the (femtosecond and picosecond) noise properties of incoherent laser pulses and TCSPC techniques (initially at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) to study aligned molecular systems. 

In 1999 I moved to UCL and established the Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy Group. Our research involves picosecond and femtosecond lasers to study single and multi-photon induced fluorescence as a means of investigating molecular probe dynamics in materials (liquid crystals) and biological systems. We have developed the technique of time resolved stimulated emission depletion (STED) from two-photon excited states. This novel technique circumvents single photon electric dipole selection rules allowing the measurement of previously 'hidden' molecular properties. We have also developed novel time resolved polarised fluorescence techniques to study Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) in biological systems. Research collaborations on time resolved spectroscopy, lifetime imaging and energy transfer include the groups of M Blanchard Desce (CNRS France), A Ferst (Cambridge), B Larijani (CRUK London Research Institute), L Ying (Molecular Medicine Imperial College), M Guinea (Tampere University of Technology Finland) and M Duchen (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology)  Recent high impact publications in these areas include PNAS, Science Signalling, JACS, The Journal of Physical Chemistry, The Journal of Chemical Physics, Optics Express and Nature Communications. 

We have recently developed a new method for obtaining super resolution in fluorescence microscopy via fluorescence lifetime image reconstruction with low power continuous wave stimulated emission depletion (CW STED). This work is currently supported by BBSRC and has been patented through UCL Business (2013). 

I have been a member of CoMPLEX (Centre for Mathematics and Physics in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology) since 2000 and I contribute to Doctoral Training Centre MRes/PhD programme in CoMPLEX since its inception in 2003. I also participate in the EPSRC funded UCL-Cambridge Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems. 


I am a member of SPIE and in addition to serving on a number of Programme Committees I co-Chair the biennial Nanophotonics conference.

Teaching Summary

I have lectured at the final year undergraduate level on Laser Physics, Laser Applications, Nonlinear Optics, Spectroscopy and Quantum Mechanics. I have given MSc/MSci courses on Lasers, Nonlinear Optics and Molecular Physics. I was Director of the First Year Laboratory from 2000-2002. I organise the CoMPLEX MRes and MSc Nanotechnology lecture and practical courses on Instrumentation Techniques at the Life Sciences Interface, I currently lecture  PHAS 3443 "Lasers and Modern Optics".

Academic Background
1984   Doctor of Philosophy University of Sussex
1979   Bachelor of Science King's College London
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