School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


photonics equipment in action

Award winning

This research group was part of the Optical Engineering Team which won the Queen's Anniversary Award in 2001.

Photonics Engineering and Health Technology Research Group

The Photonics Engineering and Health Technology Research Group conducts research into the use of light for sensing and characterisation of dynamic systems of industrial and biological origin.

The group collaborates towards biomedical engineering research projects and programmes with a number of national and international research groups and institutions. It has attained international appreciation for research into opto-physiological modelling to describe human physiological phenomena by effective capture of light trans-illuminating tissue. (, and non-contact vital signs monitoring is being conducted to NASA Future of Emergency Care (NASA/TM-2011-216145).

General research areas:

  • Biomedical photonics engineering
  • In-line biomedical signal and imaging processing
  • Electronics and microelectronics for biomedical applications
  • Biomedical Systems Integration
  • Clinical risk assessment
  • In-vitro diagnostics (IVD) instrumentation
  • Non-invasive assessment
  • Health technology Innovation

Specific research expertise:

  • Tissue Optics, sensing and modelling
  • Opto-physiological monitoring
  • Plethysmography, pulse oximetry
  • Opto-electronic probe configuration
  • Biomedical engineering software design and implementation
  • Point-of-care testing (POCT) photonic detection

Generic expertise in optical, electronic and software design at component and systems levels, combined with a team approach to problem solving, allows for a clear and rapid progression from fundamental research ideas to robust industrial prototypes. The majority of the Group's projects are pursued to the level of engineering implementations and further commercial exploitation.

Group Leader

Group Administrator

Visiting Professor

  • Tomasz Spyt

Senior Visiting Academics

Senior Research Staff

Research Students

Associate Members

  • Dr Vincent Dwyer (Electronic Device and Signal/Image processing).
  • Prof Changqing Liu (Scalable Medical Device Manufacturing, Wolfson School).
  • Dr Vassilios Chouliaras (Microelectronics for Real-time Bioinformatics).
  • Prof Roy Kalawsky (Systems Engineering for biomedical engineering).
  • Prof Ron Summers (Multi-scale physiological modelling).



The Queen Mary, University of London

Queen Mary University of London logo

Non-contact measurement of aortic compliance

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Shanghai Jiao Tong University logo

Biomedical monitoring and signal processing

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust logo

Non-invasive vascular assessment and clinical stud

Tsinghua University, Beijing

Tsinghua University, Beijing logo

Collaboration on:
Opto-electrical sensor for brain computer interface



Selected publications

  1. Hu, S.*, Azorin-Peris, V., Zheng, J.“Opto-physiological modeling applied to photoplethysmographic cardiovascular assessment”, , Invited Review Paper, J Healthcare Eng. 4 (4), 505-528 (2013).
  2.  Sun, Y., Hu, S.*,Azorin-Peris, V., Kalawsky, R., Greenwald, S., “Non-contact imaging photoplethysmography to effectively access pulse rate variability”, J Biomed Optic 18(6), 061205 (2013).
  3.  Sun, Y., Papin. C., Azorin-Peris, V., Kalawsky  R., Greenwald, S., Hu, S.*,“The use of ambient light in remote photoplethysmographic systems: a comparison between a high performance camera and a low cost webcam”, J Biomed Optic., 17(3), 037005 (March 2012).
  4.  Stevens, D.; Chouliaras, V.; Azorin-Peris, V.; Zheng, J.; Echiadis, A.; Hu, S.*,“BioThreads: A Novel VLIW-Based Chip Multiprocessor for Accelerating Biomedical Image Processing Applications”,  Biomed Circ Sys, IEEE Trans., 6(3):257-268 (2012).
  5.  Sun, Y., Hu, S.*, Azorin-Peris, V., Greenwald, S., Chambers, J., Zhu, Y.,“Motion-compensated noncontact imaging photoplethysmography to monitor cardiorespiratory status during exercise”,  J Biomed Optic 16(7), 077010 (July 2011).
  6.  Summers, R., Hu, S., “Innovations towards Personalised Biomedical Photonic Devices”, Measurement and Control, 44(6), pp.175-179, ISSN: 0020-2940.
  7.  Shi, P., Azorin Peris, V., Echiadis, A., Zheng, J., Zhu, Y., Cheang, P. Y. S.,Hu, S.*,“Non-contact Reflection Photoplethysmography towards Effective Human Physiological Monitoring,  J Med. Biol. Eng. Vol.30 Iss 30 (2010): 161-167
  8.  Shi, P., Hu, S.*, Zhu, Y., Zheng, J., Qiu, Y., Cheang, P. Y. S.,“Insight into the dicrotic notch in photoplethysmographic pulses from the finger tip of young adults”,   J Med Eng Tech, Vol. 31, Iss 8 (2009), 628 - 633
  9. Shi, P., Hu, S. and Zhu, Y., ''A Preliminary Attempt to Understand Compatibility of Photoplethysmographic Pulse Rate Variability with Electrocardiogramic Heart Rate Variability'', Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering, 2008, 28(4): 866- 871.
  10. Xin, S., Hou, W., Qian, J., Hu, S., Crabtree, V.P. and Smith, P. R., ''Study on blood pulse photoplethysmography signal on toe under different body posture and lower limb height'', Journal of University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, 2008, 30(5): 173-180.
  11. Zheng, J., Hu, S., Xin, S. and Crabtree, V., “Effect of postural changes on lower limb blood volume, detected with non-invasive photoplethysmography”, Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology, 2008,32(5) : 358 – 364.
  12. Shi, P., Zhu, Y., Allen, J. and Hu, S., ''Analysis of Pulse Rate Variability Derived from Photoplethysmography with the Combination of Lagged Poincare Plots and Spectral Characteristics'', Medical Engineering and Physics, 2009,31(7): 866-871.
  13. Zhao, H., Qiu, Y., Hu, S. and Zhu, Y., “ Detrended Fluctuation Analysis of Pulse Rate Variability Signals of Coronary Patients”, Space Medicine and Medical Engineering,, 2008,20(6): 455-457.
  14. Echiadis, A. S., Crabtree, V. P., Bence, J., Hadjinikolaou, L., Alexiou, C., Spyt, T. J. and Hu, S., “Non-invasive measurement of peripheral venous oxygen saturation using a new venous oximetry method: evaluation during bypass in heart surgery”, Physiological Measurement , 2007,28(8): 897–911.
  15. Xin, S., Hu, S., Crabtree, V. P., Zheng, J., Azorin-Peris, V. Echiadis, A. S and Smith, P. R., “Investigation of blood pulse PPG signal regulation on toe effect of body posture and lower limb height ”, Journal of Zhejiang University, 2007,8(6) : 916-920.
  16. Azorin-Peris, V., Hu, S. and Smith, P. R., “A Monte Carlo Platform for the Optical Modelling of Pulse Oximetry”, Proceedings SPIE, 2007, 6446, 64460T1-6.
    Cai, Y., Qiu, Y.,H., Wei, L., Zhang, W., Wang, Z., Jiang, D., Hu, S., Smith, P. R. and Crabtree, V. P., Tong, S. B., Thankor, N., Zhu, Y., “Complex character analysis of Heart Rate Variability following brain asphyxia”, Medical Engineering & Physics , 2006,28(4) : 297–303.
  17. Hu, S. “A Multiplex fluorescence and Absorbance Detector”, Chinese patent: (CN101236153), Priority date: 06/08/2008
  18. Hu , S., Echiadis., A. S. and Chouliaras, V. “Real-time Vascular Imaging, International Patent, (PCT/GB2008/003042), Priority date: 08/09/2007 2007.
  • Opto-Physiological Monitoring
  • OxiMap
  • Non-Contact Pulse Oximetry
  • Non-Contact measurement of aortic compliance with non-linear multi-wave opto-physiological image processing approach
  • Non-invasive venous oximetry (VENOX)
  • Imaging Photoplethysmography
  • Opto-physiological Modelling of Pulse Oximetry
  • Multi-plex point of care testing instrumentation