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Xianfeng Chen

Xianfeng Chen

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)
Physics and Mathematics


Xianfeng Chen is Associate Professor in Physics and Bio-nano-photonics at the School of Science & Technology, Nottingham Trent University, UK. He leads the multidisciplinary research in advanced biophotonics, nanomaterials, fibre optics, biosensors and biomedical areas. He has authored 3 book chapters, filed 2 patents and published 145 papers (h-index: 33), and has led over 20 research projects attracting funding from EU Horizon 2020, FP7, ERDF, Royal Society, WEFO.

He is the Module Leader for MRes Research Project (MRes/Medical Imaging, MRes/Physics), The Professional Physicist, Current Topics in Physics. His teaching contributions include Lab & Physics Skills, Medical Imaging, Professional Physicist, Current Topics in Physics, and supervisions of BSc, MSc, MRes and PhD projects.

Current PhD opportunities:

NTU Fully-funded PhD Studentships: Applications are now open. Deadline: Thursday 12 Jan 2023

Career overview


  • PhD in Photonics, Aston University (ORS Award, UK)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), UK
  • MEng in Quantum Optics
  • BSc in Physics

Academic Positions:

  • Associate Professor, Nottingham Trent University, Current
  • Senior Lecturer (2017-21), Lecturer (2012-16), Bangor University
  • Senior Research Associate, Aston University, 2006-2012

Research areas

Current research areas include:

  • Medical imaging & Biomedical engineering: To integrate laser sources, fibre optic technologies and biomedical devices for medical diagnosis and precision healthcare treatment.

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil/PhD exist in all the areas identified above, please send email (and CV) to Dr Chen for further inquiries. Further information may be obtained on the NTU Research Degrees website.

External activity

Sponsors and collaborators

Current and recent research is being conducted with the collaboration, funding and/or support of:

Research funding has included:

  • EU H2020-MSCA-RISE (872049, IPN-Bio), Integrated Photonic-Nano Technologies for Bio-medical Applications, 2020-2025, €1,002,800
  • ERDF/WEFO, Smart Efficient Energy Centre, 2019-2023, £4M
  • ERDF/WEFO, Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Centre of Excellence, 2019-2023, £3.5M
  • EU FP7-IRSES (iPhoto-Bio, 612267), International collaboration on integrated photonics technologies for advanced bioapplications, 2014-2018, €252,000
  • Sêr Cymru National Research Fund, Laser and microfluidic manufacture of novel bio-diagnostic platforms, 2014-2017, £150,755
  • Shenzhen Research Foundation, China, ‘Fast-scan Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy system for biomedical imaging, 2014-2016, £35K
  • Royal Society, Femtosecond laser micro-nanomachining for integrated microfluidic and photonic devices, 2012-2014, £14,950
  • HEFCW, Novel micro/nano fabrication for green photonics, 2012-2013
  • SCoRE Cymru Seed Grant, 2014
  • Santander Mobility Grant, 2013-2014
  • Santander Early Career Investigator, 2012-2013

Current collaborations with universities, research institutes and industries include: University of Edinburgh, Aston University, King's College London, University of Kent, Bangor University, Cardiff University, University of Valencia (Spain), Aalto University (Finland), Technical University of Berlin (Germany), Université Paris-Saclay (France), Saint Peter's University (USA), Stevens Insititue of Technology (USA), National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (China), Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT/CAS, China), Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT/CAS, China), Soochow University (China), University of São Paulo (Brazil), Instituto de Física Rosario (Argentina), Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (Perú), Universidad de Costa Rica (Costa Rica), Arden Photonics Ltd (UK), Fibercore Ltd (UK), Creo Medical Ltd (UK), FYLA Laser SL. (Spain), Vall d’Hebron Hospital (Spain), Summa Semiconductor Ltd. (Finland).


See all of Xianfeng Chen's publications ...

Selected publications:

D. Liu, L. Zhou, L. Huang, Z. Zuo, V. Ho, L. Jin, Y. Lu, X. Chen, J. Zhao, D. Qian, H. Liu, H. Mao, “Microfluidic integrated capacitive biosensor for C-reactive protein label-free and real-time detection,” Analyst 146 (17), 5380-5388, 2021.  DOI: 10.1039/d1an00464f

L. Zhou, C. Liu, Z. Sun, H. Mao, L. Zhang, X. Yu, J. Zhao, X. Chen, “Black phosphorus based fiber optic biosensor for ultrasensitive cancer diagnosis,” Biosens. Bioelectron. Vol. 137, 140-147, 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2019.04.044

L. Zhou, K. Wang, H. Sun, S. Zhao, X. Chen, D. Qian, H. Mao, J. Zhao, “A novel graphene biosensor based on the functionalization of multifunctional nano-BSA for the highly sensitive detection of cancer biomarker,” Nano-Micro Lett. 11:20, 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s40820-019-0250-8

C. Liu, Z. Sun, L. Zhang, J. Lv, X. Yu, L. Zhang, and X. Chen, “Black phosphorus integrated fiber grating for ultrasensitive heavy metal sensing,” Sens. Actuators B: Chemical, Vol. 257, 1093-1098, 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2017.11.022

C. Liu, L. Zhou, Z. Sun, B. Xu, H. Mao, J. Zhao, L. Zhang, X. Chen, “Graphene oxide functionalized long period fiber grating for highly sensitive hemoglobin detection,” Sens. Actuators B: Chemical, Vol. 261, 91-96, 2018. DOI:

C. Liu, Q. Cai, B. Xu, W. Zhu, L. Zhang, J. Zhao, X. Chen, “Graphene oxide functionalized long period grating for ultrasensitive label-free immunosensing,” Biosens. Bioelectron. Vol. 94, 200-206, 2017. DOI:

L. Zhou, H. Mao, C. Wu, L. Tang, Z. Wu, Q. Jin, X. Chen, J. Zhao, “Label-free graphene biosensor targeting cancer molecules based on non-covalent modification,” Biosens. Bioelectron. Vol. 87, 701-707, 2017. DOI:

W. Liu, Y. Lu, G. Jiao, X. Chen, J. Li, S. Chen, Y. Dong, and J. Lv, “Terahertz optical properties of the cornea,” Opt. Commun. Vol. 359 (15), 344-348, 2016. DOI:

X. Chen, W. Zhang, C. Liu, Y. Hong, and D. J. Webb, “Enhancing humidity response time of polymer optical fibre Bragg grating by using laser micromachining,” Opt. Express, Vol. 23 (20), 25942-25949, 2015. DOI:

X. Chen, C. Liu, M. D. Hughes, D. A. Nagel, A. V. Hine, L. Zhang, “EDC-mediated oligonucleotide immobilization on a long period grating optical biosensor,” J. Biosens. Bioelectron. 6:173. 2015. DOI: 10.4172/2155-6210.1000173

Q. Cai, B. Xu, L. Ye, Z. Di, J. Zhang, Q. Jin, J. Zhao, and X. Chen, “Immobilization of biomolecules on cysteamine-modified polyaniline film for highly sensitive biosensing”, Talanta, Vol. 120, 462-469, 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2013.11.013

Z. Yan, C. Mou, K. Zhou, X. Chen, L. Zhang, “UV-inscription, polarization-dependent loss characteristics and applications of 45° tilted fiber gratings,” J. Lightwave Technol., Vol. 29, 2715-2724, 2011. DOI: 10.1109/JLT.2011.2163196

X. Chen, C. Zhang, D. J. Webb, G.-D. Peng, and K. Kalli, “Bragg grating in polymer optical fibre for strain, bend and temperature sensing,” Meas. Sci. Technol., 21(9) 094005, 2010. DOI: 10.1088/0957-0233/21/9/094005

X. Chen, C. Zhang, D. J. Webb, K. Kalli, and G. D. Peng, “Highly sensitive bend sensor based on Bragg grating in eccentric core polymer fibre,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett., Vol. 22 (11), 850-852, 2010. DOI: 10.1109/LPT.2010.2046482

A. Hine, X. Chen, M. D. Hughes, K. Zhou, E. Davies, K. Sugden, I. Bennion, and L. Zhang, “Optical fibre-based detection of DNA hybridization”, Biochem. Soc. Trans.Vol.37, 445-449, 2009. DOI: 10.1042/BST0370445

R. Suo, X. Chen, K. Zhou, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “In-fibre directional transverse loading sensor based on excessively tilted fibre Bragg gratings”, Meas. Sci. Technol., Vol. 20(3), 034015 (6pp), 2009. DOI: 10.1088/0957-0233/20/3/034015

A. Fender, W. MacPherson, R. Maier, J. Barton, R. Howden, G. Smith, B. Jones, X.Chen, R. Suo, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “Two-axis temperature-insensitive accelerometer based on multicore fibre Bragg gratings”, IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. 8 (7), 1292-1298, 2008. DOI: 10.1109/JSEN.2008.926878

K. Zhou, Y. Lai, X. Chen, K. Sugden, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “A refractometer based on a micro-slot in a fibre Bragg grating formed by chemically assisted femtosecond laser processing”, Opt. Express, Vol. 15 (24), 15848-15853, 2007. DOI: 10.1364/OE.15.015848

X. Chen, L. Zhang, K. Zhou, K. Sugden, I. Bennion, M. Hughes, A. Hine, “Real-time detection of DNA interactions with long-period fiber-grating-based biosensor,” Opt. Lett., Vol. 32 (17), 2541-2543, 2007. DOI: 10.1364/OL.32.002541

X. Chen, K. Zhou, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “Dual-peak long-period fibre gratings with enhanced refractive index sensitivity by finely tailored mode dispersion that uses the light cladding etching technique”, Appl. Opt., Vol. 46 (4), 451-455. 2007. DOI: 10.1364/AO.46.000451

X. Chen, K. Zhou, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “In-fibre twist sensor based on a fibre Bragg grating with 81º tilted structure”, IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett., Vol. 18 (24), 2596-2598, 2006. DOI: 10.1109/LPT.2006.887371

K. Zhou, L. Zhang, X. Chen, and I. Bennion, “Optic sensors of high refractive-index responsivity and low thermal cross sensitivity that use fiber Bragg gratings of >80° tilted structures”, Opt. Lett., Vol. 31(9), 1193-1195, 2006. DOI: 10.1364/OL.31.001193

K. Zhou, L. Zhang, X. Chen, and I. Bennion, “Low thermal sensitivity grating devices based on ex-45° tilting structure capable of forward-propagating cladding modes coupling”, J. Lightwave Technol., Vol. 24, (12), 5087-5094, 2006. DOI: 10.1109/JLT.2006.884985

K. Zhou, X. Chen, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “Implementation of optical chemsensors based on HF-etched fibre Bragg grating structures”, Meas. Sci. Technol., Vol. 17, 1140-1145, 2006. DOI: 10.1088/0957-0233/17/5/S34

K Zhou, G Simpson, X Chen, L Zhang, I Bennion, “High extinction ratio in-fiber polarizers based on 45° tilted fiber Bragg gratings,” Opt. Lett., Vol. 30 (11), 1285-1287, 2005. DOI:

X. Chen, K. Zhou, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “Simultaneous measurement of temperature and external refractive index by use of a hybrid grating in D fibre with enhanced sensitivity by HF etching”, Appl. Opt., Vol. 44 (2), 178-182, 2005. DOI: 10.1364/AO.44.000178

X. Chen, K. Zhou, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “Optical chemsensor based on etched tilted Bragg grating structures in multimode fibre”, IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. Vol. 17 (4), 864-866, 2005. DOI: 10.1109/LPT.2004.842786

X. Chen, K. Zhou, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “Optical chemsensors utilizing long-period fibre gratings UV-inscribed in D-fibre with enhanced sensitivity through cladding etching”, IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. Vol. 16 (5), 1352-1354, 2004. DOI: 10.1109/LPT.2004.826148

K. Zhou, X. Chen, L. Zhang, and I. Bennion, “High-sensitivity optical chemsensor based on etched D-fibre Bragg gratings”, Electron. Lett., Vol. 40, 232-234, 2004. DOI: 10.1049/el:20040177

J. Ania-Castañón , T. Ellingham, R. Ibbotson, X. Chen, L. Zhang, and S. Turitsyn, “Ultralong Raman fibre lasers as virtually lossless optical media,” Phys. Rev. Lett., Vol. 96 (2), 023902, 2006. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.96.023902

Press expertise

  • Bio-nano-photonics
  • Nanomaterials, deposition and characterisation
  • Optical fiber gratings, Optical sensors
  • Biosensors, Biomedical imaging