February 1st saw the official launch of a partnership between Raymetrics Ltd. of Surrey and the university.
LIDAR is analogous to RADAR but uses light from a laser instead of radiowaves to remotely sense distant objects. As the wavelength of light is small, LIDARs can detect very small objects including tiny particles (known as aerosols) in the atmosphere. Under the SPRINT partnership, Raymetrics and the University of Leicester will collaborate on the development of air pollution LIDARs to streamline the capabilities of atmospheric monitoring.
The SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities to help businesses develop new commercial products for space and other key sectors.
The new, £5 million SPRINT programme is supported by Research England. It is being delivered by a consortium of five of the UK’s leading space universities, led by the University of Leicester and including the University of Edinburgh, Open University, University of Southampton and University of Surrey.
The SPRINT pilot project will enable Raymetrics and the University of Leicester to collaborate on projects that will deliver timely, accurate atmospheric data and services to private and public sector entities across the globe. It will also enable Raymetrics to expand the reach of its LIDAR systems into new air pollution applications.
Dr. Georgios Georgousis, Chief Operating Officer at Raymetrics said: “Technology and science always move forward with collaborative work and fresh ideas. We strongly believe that working closely with the SPRINT team will be a pleasure, a challenge and a success.”
Dr. Joshua Vande Hey, Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester and PI for the university said: “It is with great enthusiasm that we launch this new partnership with top-notch lidar company, Raymetrics. We have a unique opportunity to link their capability and experience in commercial scientific-grade laser sensing systems with university expertise in space technology and air pollution science to develop novel solutions for understanding the urban atmosphere. I look forward to this new collaboration, made possible by the SPRINT programme.”
Rebecca Howe, a PhD student Earth Observation Science in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester, whose research in atmospheric aerosol sensing is linked to the partnership project, added: “This is a very exciting way to start my PhD. Working with Raymetrics to create something new with potential global influence is something I never thought I’d be doing so early on in my scientific career and I’m very happy to be working alongside them in this partnership. I’m excited to see where the project goes and have every faith that we will be successful in our endeavours.”