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Imaging, Materials and Engineering Centre (IMEC)

Unit(s) of assessment: General Engineering

School: School of Science and Technology


IMEC is built around four Research Areas (Imaging, Advanced Materials, Smart Technologies, Medical Technologies), under whose umbrella smaller labs or teams are encouraged to develop as bottom-up collaborations.


Encompasses cutting-edge non-invasive imaging techniques and their applications.  (Lead: Professor Paul Evans)

  • Imaging Science Lab
    Pioneering x-ray technology is capable of rapidly scanning for the presence of illicit materials, with impact in airport security via spinout HALO X-ray
  • Advanced Optical Imaging and ISAAC Lab
    Cutting-edge non-invasive 3D sub-surface imaging, spectral imaging and remote sensing instruments and methods are applied to cultural heritage assets from institutions including the British Museum, the National Gallery and the Louvre
  • NMR/MRI Lab
    Specialises in non-traditional applications of these techniques, such as monitoring food processing or wastewater/wetlands

Advanced Materials

Advanced Materials describes our approach to the design of functional materials from the bottom up.  (Lead: Professor Carole Perry)

  • SOFT
    materials which are easily deformable by applied stresses. Our interests include squidgy materials (colloids, surfactants and gels), liquid crystals (LCDs, flexoelectricity, nematic microcargo transport), liquid drops and flows (droplet evaporation, wetting and spreading, de-wetting, flow through disordered porous media), complex fluids and solids (pattern formation, drying, fracturing).
  • Advanced Optics and Photonics and iSmart Lab
    focuses on the of light-matter interaction with high-precision nano-fabrication, cutting-edge optical characterisations and advanced modelling techniques via Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning; specialise in custom-modification of surfaces, such as the laser-induced self-assembly of nano-particle arrays with optical/photonic properties.
  • Biomolecular Materials Interface Research Group
    works at the boundary between biomolecules and other materials, including applications in health, agriculture and materials design
  • 3D molecular scaffolds
    3D molecular scaffolds with tuneable pore size and changeable functional groups for applications in catalysis and sensing with high-specificity

Smart Technologies

Smart Technologies is an approach for innovative engineering solutions that makes use of embedded sensors and control to produce truly responsive systems and materials.  (Lead: Professor Neil Mansfield)

  • Human Factors and Performance
    optimising the human experience, to understand our interaction with technology and enhancing human performance. The focus is on transport, healthcare, future factories, product development and sports.
  • Digital Innovation
    development of technologies in robotics, grippers, digital twins of industrial systems, cyber physical production systems, automated intelligent vehicles and drones, smart logistics and digital manufacturing.
  • Digital Human and Brain Computer Interface
    developing 'digital humans' by modelling human systems to predict levels of health and performance for a range of applications, specialising in brain computer interfacing and neuroimaging.
  • Smart wearables and sensors
    Smart wearables which unobtrusively collect data for healthcare and competitive sport applications; arrays of vibration-sensors deployed in honeybee colonies to monitor swarm health and inform decision-making

Medical Technologies

Medical Technologies describes the application of modern engineering and materials design to medical science. (Lead: Professor John Hunt)

  • Medical Engineering and Devices
    breakthrough therapies, devices and technology to repair, replace, augment and in the future regenerate diseased, infected and damaged tissues in humans and other mammals using material interventions.
  • Smart materials and Biomedical implants
    tissue engineering for biomedical implants and regenerative medicine; bespoke 3D printing of composite bio-compatible materials for bone replacement; electrospinning nanofiber materials for wound dressing and prosthesis.

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