Dr. Brett Patterson

Senior Lecturer

School of Physical Sciences and Computing

Leighton Building, LE208

+44 (0) 1772 89 3567


Subject Areas: Physics

Brett Patterson is a Senior Lecturer in Physics in the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute in the School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences. He is a specialist in optical physics and lasers, with a special interest in microscopy, high-resolution imaging, aberration control and astronomical optics. He previously worked at the University of Edinburgh, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, and the University of St Andrews.

Full Profile

Brett was awarded a PhD in Physics by the University of Cambridge in 1992 for his work on quantified Bayesian maximum-entropy data analysis, applied to imaging in radio astronomy and large-scale structure in optical astronomy.

After a period back in his native Australia working on synthetic-aperture radar imaging, Brett returned to the UK and the University of St Andrews as a post-doctoral researcher in optical instrumentation. He assisted in the development of the world’s smallest Fourier-transform spectrometer, with no moving parts, and the development of a UV FT spectrometer for toxic gas detection that became a commercial product by Siemens Environmental Systems Ltd.

Moving into astronomical instrumentation, Brett worked on adaptive optics, spectrometer and telescope design at the Astronomical Instrumentation Group at the University of Durham, and the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh.

Biophotonics is also a strong theme in Brett’s experience in optics, having developed a temperature sensor for medical diagnostics using fibre Bragg grating sensors, and subsequently working at Director of Biomedical Photonics at the Lions Eye Institute, Perth, Western Australia.

Before joining UCLan, Brett worked as a Senior Laser Design Engineer at Coherent Scotland, developing a high-power ultra-fast laser for ophthalmic surgery.

In 2009, Brett joined the University of Central Lancashire as a lecturer in physics, where he contributes to teaching in the physics BSc(Hons) and MPhys degrees, and has established a new Photonics Research Laboratory for research activities initially in adaptive optics and microscopy.


Professional Certificate in University Teaching, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment, University of Edinburgh, 2007.
Chartered Physicist (CPhys), Institute of Physics.
PhD in Physics, Thesis: “Maximum Entropy Data Analysis”, Mullard Radio-Astronomy Observatory (MRAO), Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, 1992.
BSc with First Class Honours in Physics, Thesis: “Sapphire-Loaded Microwave Cavity Resonators”, and a double major in maths & physics, Gravitational Radiation Research Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Western Australia, 1988.



UK Patent GB 2 305 257 A, 2/4/97, Spectrometer having polarizers and birefringent component to diverge and converge light, Applicant: Siemens plc, Inventors: M. J. Padgett, W. Sibbett, J. Courtial, B. A. Patterson.

United States Patent 5,774,215; Jun. 30, 1998; Reduced Complexity Fourier Transform Spectrometer; Inventors: M. J. Padgett, W. Sibbett, J. Courtial, and B. A. Patterson.

Journal Papers

A. J. Wright, B. A. Patterson, S. P. Poland, J. M. Girkin, G. M. Gibson, & M. J. Padgett, Dynamic closed-loop system for focus tracking using a spatial light modulator and a deformable membrane mirror, Optics Express, 14, 222-228, 2006.

A. J. Wright, D. Burns, B. A. Patterson, S. P. Poland, G. J. Valentine, and J. M. Girkin, Exploration of the Optimisation Algorithms used in the Implementation of Adaptive Optics in Confocal and Multiphoton Microscopy, Microscopy Research and Technique, 67, 36-44, 2005.

J. Cushion, F. N. Reinholz, and B. A. Patterson, General purpose control system for scanning laser ophthalmoscopes, Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology, 31, no. 3, pp. 241-245(5) (2003).


Research Interests

Adaptive Optics—sensor-free AO, multi-conjugate AO, AO for ophthalmology and astronomy.

Microscopy—Multiphoton imaging, super-resolution, fluorescence lifetime imaging, digital holographic microscopy.

Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscopes—multi-wavelength SLO for stimulation and imaging of the retina, retinal pigment densitometry.

Astronomical Instrumentation—Fourier-transform Spectrometers, Optical Aperture Synthesis Imaging


Third Year BSc(Hons) & Fourth Year MPhys Projects:

Saturated Absorption Spectroscopy of Rubidium using a Laser Diode—High-resolution spectroscopy of hyperfine levels

Sonoluminescence—Turning Sound into Light

Holography—Analogue & Digital

Fourier-Transform Spectroscopy—Principles & Practice



AP3060—Third Year Physics Laboratory

AP3041—Solid State, Nuclear, and EM Wave Physics

AP3950—Third Year Projects (Holography)

AP4553—MPhys Project (Sonoluminescence)

AP4852—Advanced Laboratory (Rb Spectroscopy)

AP4872—Lasers and Modern Optics