School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


Professor Steve Rothberg Pronouns: He/him BSc PhD CEng FIMechE

Photo of Professor Steve Rothberg

Professor of Vibration Engineering

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research)


  • BSc and PhD attained at University of Southampton, Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR).
  • Joined Loughborough University in 1990 as Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering.
  • Head of Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering 2001-2007.
  • Dean of the Faculty of Engineering 2007-2011.
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise) 2011-2015
  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) 2014-present

Key Awards

  • 2012: Selected for Institute of Physics ‘Measurement Science and Technology 2011–2012 highlights collection’ for “Methods for the quantification of pseudo-vibration sensitivities in laser vibrometry” by Martin and Rothberg.
  • 2003: National Physical Laboratory Award for Measurement, short-listed Synchronised Scanning Laser Vibrometry
  • 2003: Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Industrial Fellowship Awarded to my research student Paul Varney
  • 2001: Peterson Award from the Society for Experimental Mechanics: Best Applications Paper in the journal “Experimental Mechanics”.
  • 2000: Leverhulme Fellowship: Pseudo-Vibration Elimination in Laser Vibrometry

Research Interests and Activities

Within noise and vibration measurement and analysis, my specialism is in applications of laser technology for the measurement of motion and related parameters. My work in the areas of Laser Speckle Metrology and Laser Vibrometry is especially well recognised by academic peers and by the world’s foremost manufacturers of Laser Vibrometers with whom I have collaborated for well over 25 years. Three broad elements of the work with laser-based methods are advancing data interpretation capability with existing instruments, widening the range of applications of existing instruments and the development of new instruments. These interests encompass work of a very fundamental nature, for example in quantifying laser speckle effects and mathematical modelling of optical configurations, to work of a very applied nature such as the first-ever non-contact measurements of crankshaft bending vibration on a running diesel engine.

I also brought my expertise in noise and vibration measurement and analysis to early research activity in the area of sports equipment design, maintaining this contribution as the activity grew into the now well-established Sports Technology Institute. Particularly novel work has been undertaken in correlating noise and vibration measurements during impact with subjective perceptions in sports like tennis and golf.

  • Vibration measurement and analysis including modal analysis.
  • Laser Vibrometry including:
    • Measurements directly from rotors.
    • Laser speckle and elimination of pseudo-vibration.
    • Scanning and tracking applications.
  • Noise measurement and analysis.
  • Sports equipment design including: Impact modelling and analysis.
  • Noise and vibration related to "feel" of impact sports equipment.

Grants and Contracts

  • Underpinning Multi-user Equipment
    Principal Invetigator, EPSRC, £2M, 2017-2018
  • Compact wireless accelerometer
    Co-investigator, Knowledge Transfer Partnership, £100k, 2015-17.
  • Refinement of engine in-cycle losses of parasitic and errant dynamic nature
    Co-investigator, EPSRC, (collaborative, LU led), £2.85M with £1.2M to LU, 2009-12.
  • Impulsive Sound Quality in Tennis
    Co-investigator, HEAD Tennis, £50k, 2008-2011
  • A Unique Human Grip Simulator for Robotic Testing of Sports Equipment
    Co-investigator, EPSRC/IMRC, £150k, 2007-2010
  • Automotive Transmission Rattle: Root Causes to Innovative Solutions
    Co-investigator, EPSRC, £203k, 2006-2009
  • University Research Project Award
    Co-investigator, Ford Motor Company, £23k, 2006-2009
  • Experimental Modal Analysis for Correlation of User Perceptions with Product Dynamic Behaviour
    Principal Investigator, EPSRC/IMRC, £6k, 2006
  • Impulsive Sound Quality in Golf
    Co-investigator, Callaway Golf USA, £111k, 2005-2007
  • PLATFORM Grant: Optimising new optical techniques, instruments and processes
    Co-investigator, EPSRC, £450k, 2005-2010
  • Driveline Refinement
    Co-investigator, Jaguar cars, £69k, 2004-2006
  • Maximising energy expenditure whilst minimising perceived exertion: development and evaluation of a new exercise platform
    Co-investigator, EPSRC / IMRC, £161k, 2003 - 2006
  • A major initiative in healthcare engineering (EPSRC Research Professor)
    Co-Investigator, EPSRC, £536k, 2003-2008
  • LAVINYA - Laser Vibrometry Network: Systems and Applications
    Principal Investigator, EU, £10k, 2002-2005
  • Correlating Objective measurements with Subjective Perceptions for Sports Equipment Design - the "Feel" Concept
    Co-Investigator, EPSRC / IMRC, £211k, 2002-2007
  • Mechanical and Psychological Influences on the “Feel” of Golf Clubs Phase 2
    Co-Investigator, Callaway Golf USA, £160k, 2002-2005
  • Vibration Measurements Directly from Rotors using Laser Doppler Vibrometry
    Principal (sole) Investigator, EPSRC GR/R 38750, £192k, 2001-2004
  • A Fundamental Study of the Statistical Properties of Laser Speckle
    Principal Investigator, Royal Society. £3k, 2000
  • SESAME Sports Engineering Laboratory
    Co-Investigator, EPSRC GR/M 54407, £506k, 1999-2001
  • Evaluative and Advisory Support to Encourage Innovative Teaching in Engineering.
    Project Director, HEFCE Teaching and Learning Technology Programme Phase 3, £305k, 1998-2002
  • Mechanical and Psychological Influences on the “Feel” of Golf Clubs
    Co-Investigator, Callaway Golf USA, £144k, 1998-2001
  • A Method for Assessment of Racquet Power
    Co-Investigator, International Tennis Federation, £138k, 1998-2001
  • Feature Based Process Planning and Design Analysis for Sculptured Surface Products
    Co-Investigator, EPSRC GR/J60315, £253k, 1994-97 + £30k follow-on, 1997-8
  • Pseudo-Vibration Elimination in Laser Vibrometry Principal Investigator, EPSRC GR/J80948, £101k, 1994-97

Previous main teaching responsibilities:

  • Part C/D/MSc:  Vibration and Noise
  • Part C/D/MSc:  Optical Methods in Engineering
  • Part B:  Engineering Mechanics: Dynamics

Recent publications:

Dolatabadi, N, Theodossiades, S, Rothberg, S (2018) Design optimization study of a nonlinear energy absorber for internal combustion engine pistons, Journal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics, 13(9), ISSN: 1555-1415. DOI: 10.1115/1.4040239.

Gunn, B, Theodossiades, S, Rothberg, S (2018) A nonlinear concept of electromagnetic energy harvester for rotational applications, Journal of Vibration and Acoustics, 141(3), ISSN: 1048-9002. DOI: 10.1115/1.4042040.

Rothberg, S, Allen, MS, Castellini, P, Maio, DD, Dirckx, JJJ, Ewins, DJ, Halkon, BJ, Muyshondt, P, Paone, N, Ryan, T, Steger, H, Tomasini, EP, Vanlanduit, S, Vignola, JF (2017) An international review of laser Doppler vibrometry: making light work of vibration measurement, Optics and Lasers in Engineering, pp.11-22, ISSN: 0143-8166. DOI: 10.1016/j.optlaseng.2016.10.023.

Halkon, BJ and Rothberg, S (2017) Taking laser Doppler vibrometry off the tripod: correction of measurements affected by instrument vibration, Optics and Lasers in Engineering, pp.16-23, ISSN: 0143-8166. DOI: 10.1016/j.optlaseng.2016.11.006.

Dolatabadi, N, Theodossiades, S, Rothberg, S (2017) Passive control of piston secondary motion using nonlinear energy absorbers, Journal of Vibration and Acoustics: Transactions of the ASME, 139(5), ISSN: 1528-8927. DOI: 10.1115/1.4036468.

Halkon, BJ and Rothberg, S (2017) Restoring high accuracy to laser Doppler vibrometry measurements affected by vibration of beam steering optics, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 405, pp.144-157, ISSN: 1095-8568. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsv.2017.05.014.

King, MRN, Dawson, R, Rothberg, S, Batmaz, F (2017) Utilizing a realist evaluative research approach to investigate complex technology implementations: an e-learning lecture capture exemplar, Journal of Systems and Information Technology, pp.22-41, ISSN: 1328-7265. DOI: 10.1108/JSIT-04-2017-0027.

Selected earlier publications:

Dolatabadi, N, Littlefair, B, De la Cruz, M, Theodossiades, S, Rothberg, SJ, Rahnejat, H (2015) A transient tribodynamic approach for the calculation of internal combustion engine piston slap noise, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 352, pp.192-209, ISSN: 1095-8568. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsv.2015.04.014.

Halkon, BJ and Rothberg, SJ (2014) Angular (pitch and yaw) vibration measurements directly from rotors using laser vibrometry, MECHANICAL SYSTEMS AND SIGNAL PROCESSING, 46(2), pp.344-360, ISSN: 0888-3270. DOI: 10.1016/j.ymssp.2014.01.013.

Rothberg, SJ and Tirabassi, M (2013) Development of a scanning head for laser Doppler vibrometry (LDV) using dual optical wedges, Review of Scientific Instruments, 84(121704), pp.-, DOI: 10.1063/1.4845555.

Rothberg, SJ, Halkon, BJ, Tirabassi, M, Pusey, C (2012) Radial vibration measurements directly from rotors using laser vibrometry: The effects of surface roughness, instrument misalignments and pseudo-vibration, Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 33, pp.109-131, ISSN: 0888-3270. DOI: 10.1016/j.ymssp.2012.06.011.

Rothberg, SJ and Tirabassi, M (2012) A universal framework for modelling measured velocity in laser vibrometry with applications, MECHANICAL SYSTEMS AND SIGNAL PROCESSING, 26, pp.141-166, ISSN: 0888-3270. DOI: 10.1016/j.ymssp.2011.06.022.

Martin, P and Rothberg, SJ (2011) Pseudo-vibration sensitivities for commercial laser vibrometers, MECHANICAL SYSTEMS AND SIGNAL PROCESSING, 25(7), pp.2753-2765, ISSN: 0888-3270. DOI: 10.1016/j.ymssp.2011.02.009.

Martin, P and Rothberg, SJ (2011) Methods for the quantification of pseudo-vibration sensitivies in laser vibrometry, Measurement Science and Technology, 22(3), p.19, DOI: 10.1088/0957-0233/22/3/035302.

Komi, E, Roberts, JR, Rothberg, SJ (2007) Evaluation of thin, flexible sensors for time-resolved grip force measurement, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, 221(12), pp.1678-1699, ISSN: 0954-4062. DOI: 10.1243/09544062JMES700.

Rothberg, SJ, Lamb, FM, Willis, EJ (2006) Computer-assisted learning in UK engineering degree programmes: lessons learned from an extensive case study programme, European Journal of Engineering Education, 31(4), pp.395-406, ISSN: 0304-3797. DOI: 10.1080/03043790600676174.

Rothberg, SJ (2006) Numerical simulation of speckle noise in laser vibrometry, Applied Optics, 45(19), pp.4523-4533, ISSN: 1539-4522. DOI: 10.1364/AO.45.004523.

Halkon, BJ and Rothberg, SJ (2006) Rotor Vibration Measurements Using Laser Doppler Vibrometry: Essential Post-Processing for Resolution of Radial and Pitch/Yaw Vibrations, Journal of Vibration and Acoustics, 128(1), pp.8-20, ISSN: 0739-3717. DOI: 10.1115/1.2149389.

Roberts, JR, Jones, R, Mansfield, NJ, Rothberg, SJ (2005) Evaluation of impact sound on the 'feel' of a golf shot, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 287(4-5), pp.651-666, ISSN: 0022-460X. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsv.2004.11.026.

Roberts, JR, Jones, R, Mansfield, NJ, Rothberg, SJ (2005) Evaluation of vibrotactile sensations in the 'feel' of a golf shot, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 285(1-2), pp.303-319, ISSN: 0022-460X. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsv.2004.08.030.

Bell, J and Rothberg, SJ (2000) Rotational vibration measurements using laser doppler vibrometry: Comprehensive theory and practical applications, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 238(4), pp.673-690, ISSN: 0022-460X.

Rothberg, SJ, Hocknell, A, Coupland, JM (2000) Developments in laser Doppler accelerometry (LDAc) and comparison with laser Doppler velocimetry, Optics and Lasers in Engineering, 32(6), pp.549-564.

Bell, JR and Rothberg, SJ (2000) Laser vibrometers and contacting transducers, target rotation and 6 degree-of-freedom vibration: What do we really measure? Journal of Sound and Vibration, 237(2), pp.245-261, ISSN: 0022-460X.

Hocknell, A, Mitchell, SR, Jones, R, Rothberg, SJ (1998) Hollow golf club head modal characteristics: Determination and impact applications, EXPERIMENTAL MECHANICS, 38(2), pp.140-146, ISSN: 0014-4851. DOI: 10.1007/BF02321657.

Rothberg, SJ and Coupland, JM (1996) The New Laser Doppler Accelerometer for Shock and Vibration Measurement (This paper describes the idea which won the National Physical Laboratory Award for World Class Manufacturing Metrology in 1996.), Optics and Lasers in Engineering, 25(4-5), pp.217-225, ISSN: 0143-8166.

Rothberg, SJ and Halliwell, NA (1994) Vibration Measurements on Rotating Machinery using Laser Doppler Velocimetry, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Journal of Vibration and Acoustics, 116(3), pp.326-331, ISSN: 1048-9002.


  • Professional affiliation: Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • International conference scientific committees:  SPIE Vibration Measurements by Laser and Non-contact Techniques, Ancona, Italy, 2020 (biennially since 2002); Optical Measurement Techniques, Belgium, 2015 (fourth occasion since 2007).
  • Invited lectures: Vibration Measurements by Laser Techniques short course, Ancona, Italy, 2016 (biennially since 2002); Advanced Course in Structural Dynamics, ISVR, Southampton University 2010 (annually since 2007).
  • Seminars: IIT Delhi (2017); University of Pretoria (2016); Tongji University (2016); Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (2016); National University Singapore (2016)
  • Keynote lectures: Polytec 50th anniversary celebration, Ettlingen 2017; Polytec Laser Vibrometer Users’ Technical Meeting, Pretoria 2016; OPTIMESS, Antwerp 2015
  • Editorial board membership: Vibration
  • External roles: Committee member of NAFEMS working group on Dynamics and Testing; EPSRC College member; Board member at the Manufacturing Technology Centre; Jisc Research Strategy Forum; Midlands Innovation Executive Management Group; Energy Research Accelerator Management Group (Chair).


Athena Swan Bronze award

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The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
Loughborough University
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