St Andrews will be taking part in a £4.5 million project to produce bubble-sized ‘laboratories’ that could boost cancer treatment, medical imaging and industrial processes.
Researchers aim to use high-powered lasers to conduct experiments in plasma bubbles so small that their diameters are equivalent to one tenth of a cross-section of a human hair.
Professor Dino Jaroszynski, of Strathclyde’s Department of Physics, who will be leading the project, said: “We have a clear focus on fundamental physics but strive to apply the knowledge we gain. Important applications are medical, which could have a profound impact on society and quality of life.
“There is, of course, a large demand for improved cancer therapy in the UK. Particle therapy is currently seen as a possible route for improving treatment of certain types of cancer and the quality of life of patients – particularly young children.
“The benefits of the project will be wide-ranging, from pure academic research to numerous new applications in medicine and industry.
Professor Jaroszynski told of his excitement at receiving the £4.5 million EPSRC funding. He added: “I’m incredibly honoured to be given this support and it’s an acknowledgement of the fantastic work carried out by my research team.
“I’m passionate about the basic physics but the really important part of this project is that it will benefit people’s lives – and, ultimately, help save them too through improved diagnosis and treatment.”