THE UNIVERSITY of Southampton will share in a £3.6m funding grant to help explore how light can be used in new ways in innovative manufacturing processes and technologies.

The funding, from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, (EPSRC), will be used to fund a number of 18-month feasibility studies that aim to advance core science towards manufacturing in diverse sectors including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronics and security.

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, announced the funding. He said: “This new funding will develop research to support the UK’s growing manufacturing sector which already employs around 2.5 million people.”

Two projects led by Professor Rob Eason from the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton will receive funding.

One will create high-power laser devices that can be adopted by the UK manufacturing sector while the other will investigate the use of digital multimirror devices (DMDs) to optimise laser-based processing technology in areas such as security, safety, and anti-counterfeiting.