Dr Philip Hands

Senior Lecturer



+44(0)131 6507473


G.07 Scottish Microelectronics Centre

Social Media: 

Engineering Discipline: 

  • Electronics and Electrical Engineering

Research Institute: 

  • Integrated Micro and Nano Systems

Research Theme: 

  • Materials and Structures
  • Optical Systems and Materials
  • Sensors
  • Smart MEMS and Microsystems Technology
  • Smart Wireless Devices and Systems

Academic Qualifications: 

  • 2007-2012: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
  • 2003-2007: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Physics, University of Durham
  • 1995-1999: MSci Physics, University of Durham
  • 1999-2003: PhD Condensed Matter Physics, University of Durham


  • Microelectronics 2 (Lecture course)
  • Electromagnetics 3 (Lecture course)
  • Electromagnetics 4 (Lecture course)
  • Applications of Liquid Crystals in Sensing (Lecture course)
  • Electrical Engineering 1 (Tutorials)
  • Electronics Project Laboratory 2A  (Labs)
  • Electronics Project Laboratory 2B  (Labs)

Research Interests: 

Liquid crystal lasers

I have worked extensively on the development of low-cost tunable-wavelength organic laser systems using self-assembling liquid crystal (LC) photonic band-gap materials as resonant microcavities. I am interested in the integration of these laser systems for point-of-care applications in biomedical research and diagnostics. Techniques being developed towards this aim include polymer stabilisation, microfluidic dispersion, paintable and ink-jet printable lasers. This work has been instrumental to the spin-out and subsequent successful sale of the start-up company, Ilumink.

Polymer biosensors

In collaboration with the School of Chemistry, and with Axis-Shield Diagnostics, I am developing new bio-responsive polymer materials for micro-RNA detection. These sensors can be printed onto low-cost substrates for future point-of-care medical diagnostics applications.

Liquid crystal lenses & adaptive optical systems

I have expertise in the development of adaptive liquid crystal (LC) devices, especially LC lenses, for applications in camera systems, ophthalmics, laser tweezing, 3D displays and digital holography. I work closely with multiple industrial partners on a number of projects in this field.

Metal-polymer composites

I have expertise in the use of metal-polymer composites, and their applications in pressure sensing and array-based chemical vapour detection (electronic noses). In particular, I worked closely with the company Peratech, in the early stages of the development of their "Quantum Tunnelling Composite" (QTC).

Wireless and flexible pressure sensors for wearable electronics

Working closely with collaborators at Heriot-Watt University, we are developing flexible, polymer-based and highly-sensitive pressure sensors, capable of mapping the pressures delivered by medical and sports compression garments. Wireless interrogation and conformable sensor design provide significant practicality and performance advantages over existing technologies, whilst our scalable manufacturing processes enable a cost-effective solution.


  • MicroRNA biosensors
  • Adaptive photonic systems and devices
  • Liquid crystal lenses
  • Polymer composites
  • Liquid crystals
  • Liquid crystal lasers
  • Wireless and flexible pressure sensors for wearable electronics