Innovation in the spotlight

29 July 2020

The Department of Physics was recognised in the Vice-Chancellor's Innovation Awards this year coming highly commended in both the ‘team work’ and ‘building capacity’ categories.


Professor Armin Reichold and his group were recognised in the team work category for its absolute distance interferometry work. Since 2005, Professor Reichold has led a sequence of four research teams in the Department of Physics to develop the next generation of linear particle accelerators. He initiated a collaboration with Etalon GmbH to translate the underpinning distance measurement technology for commercial use to the benefit of wider society. The patented technique is capable of measuring large absolute distances to half a micron per metre – equivalent to the width of a human hair over a kilometre – and manufactured under licence by Etalon as Absolute Multiline.


Professor Achillefs Kapanidis and his group were recognised in the building capacity category for its development of the nanoimager, a highly miniaturised yet extremely powerful high-resolution optical microscope that detects single fluorescent molecules. The nanoimager is able to deliver much sharper images of living biological cells. Oxford Nanoimaging was founded in 2016 and now sells the microscopes around the world.

‘Harnessing the transformative power of physics to positively impact the way we live is a big part of what physics is all about and I am delighted that our department featured twice in this year’s awards,’ comments Professor Ian Shipsey, Head of Department. ‘The work of both Armin and Achillefs, as well as their groups, is fantastic and well deserving of this recognition.’

Meet Professor Armin Reichold
Meet Professor Achillefs Kapanidis