The Lord Porter Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy Laboratory

An EPSRC Capital Equipment Award

We are interested in all aspects of light-matter interaction in condensed phase. ​

Examples of some of our research directions include:

  • ​charge and energy transport in molecules and materials
  • ultrafast electronic, vibronic, and structural dynamics
  • ​organic optoelectronics​
  • ​solar cells​
  • ​artificial photosynthesis​
  • photocatalysis
  • photosynthetic, photoprotective and other natural and synthetic pigment-protein complexes ​
  • ​​organic polaritonics
  • materials for energy
  • photoswitchable materials and devices
  • synthetic biology
  • biological imaging
  • light-induced therapies in healthcare
  • thin films

We are members of​​ the EPSRC Grand Challenges Networks​:​

We are integrated into multiple University of Sheffield initiatives:

Laboratory Capabilities at a glance

Light sources:

Spectra Physics ~40 fs 10 KHz amplifier, a 5 KHz ps amplifier, and a 1 KHz, 100 fs amplifier.

Detection methods:

  • 10 KHz, ~100fs transient absorption spectroscopy with detection from ca. 360 nm to 1600 nm (HELIOS). Tuneable excitation across UV/visible range.
  • Time-resolved mid-IR spectroscopy (TRIR).
  • 2D-IR – PhaseTech pulse shaper, and a picosecond pump.
  • Femtosecond broadband fluorescence upconversion. Collaboration with Professor Niko Ernsting, Humboldt University of Berlin.
  • Transient absorption with <50 fs resolution.
  • Angle-dependent time-resolved photoluminescence.

The Opening Meeting on 14 March 2018 was attended by ~150 laser enthusiasts, with >100 from outside Sheffield

We are very grateful to our guests of honour, Lady Stella Porter and Dr Andrew Porter, who opened the laboratory!

Our speakers included:

Michael Wasielewski, Northwestern University, USA - The RSC Physical Organic Chemistry Award Lecture: "Self-assembling organic nanostructures for solar energy conversion"

David Phillips, Imperial College London: "Flash photolysis - a historical perspective"

Julia Weinstein, Dimitri Chekulaev, University of Sheffield - "Introduction to the Lab"

Majed Chergui, Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne, Switzerland: "Ultrafast electronic, spin and structural dynamics: X-ray and optical studies"

Jenny Clark, University of Sheffield "Spectroscopy of organic semiconductors from solar cells to polaritons"

Theo Keane, University of Sheffield "Vibrational control of electron transfer"

Adrien Chauvet, University of Sheffield "Quantum control: shaping light to probe and control chemistry"

Sheffield Ultrafast - short talks from the groups of Graham Leggett, Tim Craggs, Ashley Cadby, Tao Wang, and Alexander Tartakovskii

Andrew Orr-Ewing, University of Bristol: "Watching chemical reactions with ultrafast infrared spectroscopy"

Anthony Parker, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK: "Lasers for Science - from Chemistry to Medicine"

PHOTOGRAPHS: click here

Lord Porter Laser Laboratory
1st Annual Symposium
28 June 2019

Lecture Theatre 1, Dainton Building, S3 7HF

We aim to bring together UK researchers from across the disciplines to discuss what's new in the time-resolved world across Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, and Medicine.

Most of the talks will be from PhD students and postdocs with plenty of time allocated for poster sessions.

Register to join us

09.30 - 10.00: Arrival, coffee, lab tour

10.00 - 10.05: Welcome

10.05 - 10.20 (T1): Dimitri Chekulaev "About the Lab"

10.20 - 10.30 (ST1): Olivia Hill "Pushing the camera limits in modern microscopy"

10.31 - 10.41 (ST2) David Bossanyi "Photoluminescence from Triplet-Pair States"

10.42 - 10.53 (ST3) James Shipp "Photophysical studies of CO2 reduction catalysts by time-resolved and 2DIR spectroscopy"

10.54 - 11.14 (T2) Alexander Tartakovski  "Atomically thin van der Waals heterostructures"

11.15 - 11.40 (G12/G14) Coffee, posters up, quick lab tour

11.40 - 12.00 (T3) Jim Thomas "Metal complex phototherapeutics: better killing through (Photo)chemistry?"

12.00 - 12.10 (ST4) Alexander Auty "Vibrational control of electron transfer in a Pt(II) Donor-Bridge-Acceptor system" 

12.11 - 12.21 (ST5) Zohaib Ahmed Syed "Microstructured GaN photoelectrodes for solar-powered hydrogen generation with ultra-high efficiency"

12.22 - 12.32 (ST6) Aaron Cruz "Measuring the roughness of the energy landscape of proteins by laser photolysis "

12.33 - 13.03 (IL1) Olof Johansson, University of Edinburgh "Ultrafast Molecular Magnets"

13.05 - 14.30 (G14) Lunch, posters, lab tours (B-floor)

14.30 - 14.50 (T4) Tim Craggs "FRET"

14.50 - 15.10 (T5) Andrew Musser "Manipulating matter with strong coupling"

15.10 - 15.20 (ST7) Arthur Graf "Photodynamics of Metal Oxides films"

15.21 - 15.31 (ST8) Sandra Korychenska "Sub-nanosecond intersystem crossing in benzothieno[3,2-b]benzothiophenes derivatives"

15.32 - 15.42 (ST9) Luca Sortino "Enhanced light-matter interaction in an atomically-thin semiconductor coupled with dielectric nano-antennas"

15.45 - 15.55 (ST10) Natalia Martsinovich "Theoretical modelling of photocatalyst materials"

15.55 - 16.25 (IL2) Tom Penfold, University of Newcastle "Ultrafast X-ray Spectroscopy in Physical and Life Sciences"

16.25 - 16.30 Closing remarks

16.30 - 23.59 (G14) Coffee, posters

Join the team - get in touch!

Contact us to become a user, a collaborator, or both:

Dimitri Chekulaev, scientist-in-charge:

Julia Weinstein:, or anyone from the team

Interested in applying for a Marie-Curie, Newton, or other fellowship? Contact one of our team!

Eligible to apply to Alexander von Humboldt Foundation? Contact Dr Peter Portius,

Interested in PhD or postdoc positions? Get in touch!

Industrial collaborations welcome - get in touch.

Station 1 Station 2
Station 3 Laser room

The primary academic team

Professor Julia Weinstein – Department of Chemistry

Dr Adrien Chauvet – Department of Chemistry

Dr Jenny Clark – Department of Physics and Astronomy

Extended academic team

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering:
Dr Steven Ebbens

Department of Chemistry:
Dr Tim Craggs, Dr Ahmed Iraqi, Dr Peter Portius, Professor Tony Ryan, Professor James Thomas, Professor Graham Leggett

Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering:
Professor Tao Wang

Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology:
Professor Neil Hunter, Dr Matthew Johnson, Professor David Kelly

Department of Oncology and Metabolism:
Dr Helen Bryant

Department of Physics and Astronomy:
Dr Alastair Buckley, Dr Ashley Cadby, Professor David Lidzey, Dr Andrew Musser

School of Clinical Dentistry:
Dr Simon Whawell

Interested in joining us? Get in touch!