January 4, 2019

Kishan Dholakia

L2Kishan Dholakia – professor at University of St Andrews where he heads Optical Manipulation Group in School of Physics and Astronomy. The group works in variety of research areas of optical physics and biophysics, focusing on the development of optical micromanipulation techniques, the investigation of novel light fields, the characterization of particle dynamics (on atomic, nano and micron scale) in optical light fields and the exploration of novel optical imaging techniques for biology and medicine. Kishan Dholakia is also a fellow of International Society for Optics and Photonics, the Optical Society of America and was elected to Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2007.

He has authored almost 300 research papers, including over 15 papers in Nature/Science group journals, is attributed with over 25,000 citations and an h-index of 80 (Google Scholar) and has had over 150 Invited/Plenary/Keynote talks. Kishan Dholakia has received several prizes and awards, most recently the 2018 SPIE Dennis Gabor for his work in manipulation, nano-surgery and imaging. He has been awarded a number of patents, some of which include optoelectronic tweezers, optical syringe, and controlled rotation of trapped particles. Professor Dholakia is also very active in the field of education. Besides teaching at the University of St Andrews and having supervised around 40 PhD students, he has helped developed new ways to show students optics and photonics ‘in action’.

His research interests cover pretty much everything related to optics. Some of the recent research of Optical Manipulation group includes seeing through tissue with patterned light. Shaping light in space and time can enable imaging the deepest depths within organisms which could be crucial for biomedical areas including neuroscience. Another research highlight involves spinning objects with influence of light.

In 2015, Guinness world record was awarded for fastest man-made rotation by spinning an optically levitated microsphere at 600 million rpm. In Nature Communications his team demonstrates the realisation of this rotation. Their approach opens up a powerful route to explore the fascinating predictions of quantum friction. This rotating particle may be considered as a microscopic gyroscope.


 OSA stories (March 2018)

“The greatest people say this is the century of the photon. I, of course, hope it is. But it’s also the century of the brain. <…>
The brain is the most incredible thing in the universe. We should understand it properly and I’d love to be able to use some of my optics knowledge to help that happen.”