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Centre for Doctoral Training in Ultra Precision Engineering



Research interests

  • 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

Current situation

Bill is Professor of Laser Engineering within the University of Cambridge Engineering Department and Director of the Centre for Industrial Photonics. He is Course Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Ultra Precision & Manufacturing Engineering Tripos Institute for Manufacturing, Department of Engineering.

Bill has written over 170 research publications and scientific papers 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.


Bill obtained a BSc in Applied Physics from the University of Essex in 1985 and an MSc in Laser Physics in 1986. On moving to the John Percy Group, Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, he studied the interaction phenomena of dual-wavelength laser materials processing and obtained a PhD in 1990. He then moved to the University of Liverpool where he continued his research and supported Prof W M Steen in establishing one of the world's largest university based laser research groups.

He was appointed Royal Society Research Fellow, 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.

In 1998 Bill was appointed to a 5-year EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow with a view to carrying out research and development in the field of laser based micro engineering. Having completed his advanced fellowship in September 2003 and established a £5M EPSRC Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre in 2002, 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.


List of Bill's publications external link

MRes Course Director
University of Cambridge
Professor Bill  O'Neill

Contact Details

+44 1223 764834
Not available for consultancy