About Applied Photonics

Applied Photonics Ltd (APL) was established by Dr Andrew I. Whitehouse (AIW) in 1998 in response to a requirement from the operators of two nuclear power stations in the UK (Hunterston B and Hinkley Point B) to perform in-situ materials analysis of steam generator components located inside the pressure vessel of the Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR).  They had identified Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) as a candidate technology for this application and contacted AIW as they were aware of the work of a LIBS applied research group at the Sellafield nuclear site which he had set up and managed since the early 1990s.  This opportunity convinced AIW to take the plunge and leave his employment with British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) at Sellafield in order to set up a company specialising in LIBS.

Technical Skills & Experience
In-situ compositional analysis Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor (AGR) steam generator tubes
Publications & Presentations
Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor

After completing the work at the AGR power stations in late 1999, APL moved to new premises in Skipton, North Yorkshire.  During the next several years the company continued to provide a LIBS special measurements service to the UK nuclear industry where a number of novel applications of LIBS technology were conducted at various nuclear sites in the UK.  During 2004, APL was invited by US Army Research Laboratory (Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, USA) to design and manufacture a series of so-called Stand-Off LIBS instruments which were deployed at a number of US Department of Defense sites in California, Arizona and Maryland during the next few years.  In parallel with this work, APL embarked on a product development programme culminating in a truly modular design laboratory benchtop LIBS instrument (our LIBSCAN range of products).
Application & Technical Notes

Our modular LIBS products offer great versatility in that a LIBS instrument may be configured to suit the application requirements and budget of the customer.  The motivation behind our modular design was derived from the fact that the range of LIBS applications is so diverse that it is simply not realistic to have a single, general purpose LIBS product, even when considering just laboratory applications.  Our modular design allows the customer choices in terms of the make and model of laser, the make and model of spectrometer, and the choice of sample chamber.  When used with one of our modular sample chambers, the LIBS instrument meets the standards necessary for a Class 1 laser product (i.e. inherently safe and not requiring the user to wear laser safety goggles).  The modular design also allows the user to operate the LIBS instrument without a sample chamber (e.g. for analysing very large samples) albeit as a Class 4 laser product requiring the use of laser safety eyewear and other safety related measures.

APL now has customers in more than 50 countries around the world and continues to specialise in two main areas:  i) modular LIBS instruments for laboratory use, and ii) special applications of LIBS for the nuclear industry.  The company has gained considerable operational experience in using LIBS for the elemental characterisation of radioactive materials and/or plant components in hostile environments and remains the only company to have designed, manufactured and supplied LIBS instruments for use in a nuclear radiation hot cell.  APL hot cell LIBS instruments have been installed at the Sellafield nuclear site in the UK and at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) in Daejeon City, Republic of Korea.
HOTLAB 2017 Poster
Applications of remote LIBS deployment for Safeguards of nuclear materials within a hot cell environment (LANE 13, 25 April 2013)