Photo of Prof Bill Barnes

Prof Bill Barnes

Professor of Photonics


Telephone: 01392 724135

Extension: (Streatham) 4135

I have been fascinated by science since an early age. An interest in astronomy led to the choice of a Physics degree, and I haven't looked back since. Current research involves the interaction between light and matter - particularly through the use of the metals - a field known as plasmonics. I received BSc and PhD Physics from Exeter in 1983 and 1986 respectively. From 1986 - 1992 I was a research fellow in the Optoelectronics Research Centre at Southampton University. In 1992 I was appointed to a staff position at Exeter. I was fortunate enough to be a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder between 2004 and 2010. I am a fellow of the Optical Society of America. I am delighted to also hold the appointment of Chair of Complex Plasmonics in the Complex Optical and Photonic Systems (COPS) group at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.

Further details of my research projects can be found at the plasmonics page. ≠

Positions and Employment

  • 2013 -         Professor of Complex Plasmonics, University of Twente, Netherlands.
  • 2001 -         Professor of Photonics, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Exeter.
  • 2000 - 2001 Reader in Photonics, School of Physics, University of Exeter.
  • 1997 - 2000 Senior Lecturer, School of Physics, University of Exeter.
  • 1992 - 1997 Lecturer, Department of Physics, University of Exeter.
  • 1990 - 1992 Senior Research Fellow, ORC, Southampton University.
  • 1986 - 1990 Research Fellow, Optical Fibre Group, Southampton University.

Funded Research Projects

  • “Unleashing Plasmonics: turning loss to advantage in plasmonics”, EPSRC, £409,423, PI, 2014-2017, Ref: EP/K041150/1
  • “A Plasmonic Antenna for Magneto-Optical Imaging at the Deep Nanoscale”, EPSRC, £627,095, CI, 2012-2016, Ref EP/I038411/1
  • “Transparent organic electronics based on graphene”, EPSRC, £90,544, PI, 2011-2014, Ref EP/J000396/1
  • “QUEST: Spatial Transformations Towards Ultimate Electromagnetics (QUEST)”, EPSRC, £4,582,369, CI, 2011-2016, Ref: EP/I034548/1
  • “Plasmonics and gain: Underpinning science”, Leverhulme Trust, £143,405, PI, 2011-2014
  • “SIA: Graphene: Fundamental Research and Applications in Nano-electronics, Photonics and Bio-sciences”, EPSRC, £4,861,620, CI, 2009 2014, Ref: EP/G036101/1
  • “KTA: Electromagnetic materials”, EPSRC, £3,238,795, CI, 2009-2012, Ref: EP/H50012X/1
  • “Parallel Near-Field Optical Microscopy”, EPSRC, £467,468, PI, 2005-2010, Ref: EP/C534697/1
  • “Harnessing light at the nanoscale”, Royal Society Merit Award, Award: £50,000, Role: PI, Date 2005 - 2010
  • "2-D Attogram Imaging”, EPSRC, £2,950,714, CI, 2005–2010, Ref: EP/C52389X/1
  • “Exeter Nanophotonics Laboratory”, Royal Society – Wolfson Laboratory, £189,371, PI, 2005
  • “Phoremost”, EC(FP6), €4,700,000, CI, 2004-2006, Ref: FP6-IST-511616
  • “Plasmon-Nano-Devices”, EC (NoE), €5,720,000, CI, 2003-2007
  • “The Perfect Lens”, LENS (Florence), 1 month, PI, 2003
  • “Surface Plasmon Photonics”, EC (FP6), €1,649,113, PI and coordinator, 2004-2006, NMP4-CT-2003-505699
  • “Xtraoled”, DTI, £122,500, PI, 2002
  • “Optical efficiency of organic Light Emitting Diodes”, Opsys, £45,695, PI, 2002
  • “Travel Grant”, Royal Society, £1,026, PI, 2000
  • “Energy transfer mediated by microcavity modes”, EPSRC, £193,417, PI, 2001–2004, GR/N41194
  • “Spontaneous emission from within corrugated multilayer structures”, EPSRC, £171,115, PI, 2000–2004, GR/N07516
  • “S4P: Solid State Sources for Single Photons”, EC, €235,000, PI (UK), 1999, IST-1999-10243
  • “Travel Grant”, Royal Society, £640, PI, 1998
  • "Microstructured Polymeric Laser Diodes ", EPSRC, £130,085, PI, 1998, GR/M73903
  • "Enhancing Spontaneous Emission with surface plasmon polaritons to produce a new single photon source", EPSRC, £155,069, PI, 1998, GR/M43883
  • “Undergraduate research bursaries”, Nuffield Foundation, £860, PI, 1998
  • “Research Fellowship”, Leverhulme Trust, £12,770, PI, 1997
  • "Luminescence in microstructured polymers", EPSRC, £85,064, PI, 1996, GR/L81772
  • "The resonant dipole-dipole interaction, does it depend on photonic mode density?", EPSRC, £118,598, PI, 1996
  • "Characterisation of palaeo-precipitation from variations in the structure of stalagmite annual luminescence laminations", NERC, £113,297, CI, 1995
  • “Undergraduate research bursaries”, Nuffield Foundation, £1,200, PI, 1995
  • "Energy Transfer and Photonic Mode Structure", University of Exeter, £5,000, PI, 1995
  • “Undergraduate research bursaries”, Nuffield Foundation, £1,200, PI, 1994
  • "Photonic Band Gaps in 1 and 2 dimensional periodic structures", EPSRC, £59,064, CI, 1994, GR/K11796
  • "Paleoenvironmental change recorded in the luminescence of cave stalagmites", University of Exeter, £5,000, CI, 1993
  • "Luminescence of Cave stalagmites", Royal Society, £9,743I, CI, 1993
  • “Undergraduate research bursaries”, Nuffield Foundation, £2,400, CI, 1993
  • "Modification of the optical properties of molecules by geometrical means", University of Exeter, £5,000, PI, 1993
  • "Stimulated emission of surface waves", Nuffield Foundation, £3,920, PI, 1993
  • "Modification of the optical properties of molecules by geometrical means", SERC, £100,534, PI, 1993, GR/J30851
  • "The use of a liquid crystal modulator to produce a high resolution imaging system based on optical excitation of travelling wave resonances", DRA Malvern, £28,000, CI, 1992
  • "Stimulated emission of surface waves", University of Exeter, £5,000, PI, 1992



Facilities Usage


Invited Presentations

Invited presentations since Jan 2008 given by myself and by PhD students and postdocs under my supervision:

  • "Chiral Electromagnetic and Plasmonic Nanostructures", W. L. Barnes, N. Meinzer and E. Hendry, Molecular Plasmonics, Jena, Germany, May 29, (2013)
  • "THz Generation from Plasmonic Nanoparticle and Nanohole Arrays", E. Hendry, E. Stone, D. Polyushkin and W. L. Barnes, Nanometa Seefeld, Austria, January 3-6 (2011)
  • "Particle plasmons and THz emission", W. L. Barnes, International Workshop on nanoplasmonics for energy and environment, Sanxenxo, Spain, June 8-10 (2011)
  • "Plasmons and THz frequency generation", W. L. Barnes, SPIE Optics+Optoelectronics, Prague, April 20-21 (2011)
  • "Surface Plasmon Length Scales", W. L. Barnes, Nano Photonics Summer School, Bad Herrenalb, Germany, August 26-29 (2010)
  • "Confined Light with Surface Plasmons”. W. L. Barnes, Nano Photonics Summer School, Bad Herrenalb, Germany, August 26-29 (2010)
  • "Surface Plasmons", W. L. Barnes, Nano-Optics and Atomics: Transport of Light and Matter Waves, Varenna, Italy, June 25, (2009)
  • "Experiment vs. modelling: what's the problem?", W. L. Barnes, TACONA 2008, Bad, Honnef, Germany, December 3 (2008)

Contributions to the Community

  • Associate Editor Journal of Modern Optics 2008-2013
  • Newton Fellowship Panel 2008-2010
  • International Scientific Advisor for Nanophotonics for Energy Efficiency, an FP7-funded Network of Excellence, 2009-
  • International Advisory Scientific Committee for, hosted by Institut de Ciències Fotònique, Barcelona, a 6-University collaboration in Spain, 2007 - 2012
  • International Scientific Advisor for Phoremost, an FP6-funded Network of Excellence on the topic of molecular scale photonics, 2005 - 2009
  • Member of the EPSRC peer review college
  • Reviewer for funding bodies including EPSRC, Leverhulme Trust, European Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland, National Science Foundation USA, Netherlands Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM).


  • Live interview on 'The Material World' BBC Radio 4, October 17, 2002
  • "Gauging the cosmos" Evening Lecture to Sidmouth Astronomical Society, November 8, 1999.
  • "Learning the lore of the rings", The Times, January 27, 1997.


I am a member of the Institute of Physics, the Optical Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Physics.


  • Elected Fellow of the Optical Society of America (2008)
  • Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award (2004)