Dr William O'Neill

Reader in Laser Engineering at Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

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Director of the Centre of Industrial Photonics & Reader in Laser Engineering, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Dr Bill O’Neill’s research focuses on the subject of laser-matter interactions, optical engineering, laser based manufacturing technologies, and micro/nano fabrication techniques. He is a member of the international advisory panel of the National Laser Centre of South Africa, a Director of the Laser Institute of America, and advises industry on a number of laser based manufacturing technologies.

Dr O’Neill began his research career in the John Percy Group, Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, where he studied the interaction phenomena of dual-wavelength laser materials processing. He then moved to the University of Liverpool where he continued his research and supported Professor Steen in establishing one of the world's largest university based laser research groups.

He was elected a Research Fellow of the Royal Society in 1990-4, in order to study the gas dynamics of laser cutting and examined rate-limiting affects on the iron-oxygen combustion reactions. This resulted in a number of international patents for new methods of cutting thick section steels with low power lasers, laser machining techniques and optical system design.

In 1995 Bill was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Industrial Studies, University of Liverpool where he continued his research and the development of teaching materials on advanced manufacturing systems and technology, in addition to establishing a research base in laser based rapid production technologies.

Between 1998 and 2003 Bill worked on research and development of laser based micro engineering, at the end of which he established a Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre. Bill was appointed to a lectureship in production processes within the Cambridge University Engineering Department in 2003. He established the Centre for Industrial Photonics in 2006 and continues to research and develop next generation photonics based manufacturing solutions.

His current research interests include

  • Flexible and reconfigurable production technologies.
  • Laser beam monitoring and control
  • Ultrafast laser matter interactions
  • Dynamics of micro and macro laser cutting
  • Rapid manufacturing technologies
  • Ultrahigh velocity particulate impacts
  • Nanoscale fabrication technologies
  • Engineering systems for synthetic biological applications
  • Micro engineered medical therapeutics