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Personal profile


I joined Aston University as Reader in Photonics in May 2001 was promoted to Professor in June 2012 and awarded a 50th Anniversary Chair in 2016. Prior to joining Aston I had spent 10 years as a Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer in the Physics Department at the University of Kent at Canterbury. My higher education was obtained at the University of Oxford (BA in Physics at St. Catherine’s) and the University of Kent (PhD in Physics) and I have also spent time as a postdoc in the Department of Engineering Science at Oxford and in industry with GEC Research in Great Baddow, Chelmsford.

Research Interests

I have 40 years’ research experience in the field of photonics, working in the areas of non-linear optics and optical fibre sensors and devices. I have published over 400 journal and conference papers on these subjects, as well as a research text book on photorefractive nonlinear optics and several other book chapters. Google Scholar

I am currently serving as Director of ASTUTE (the Aston Institute for Urban Technologies and the Environment), where we are developing a wide range of technologies to support sustainable living in the city of tomorrow.

Teaching Activity

My position is currently research based but previously I was especially interested in teaching innovations that have the potential to encourage greater student engagement. To this end I  introduced problem based learning in the second year analogue electronics course and together with my colleague Prof. Kate Sugden transformed the teaching of electronic engineering in the first year to a practical and project based activity, introducing students to electronic design at an early stage.


  • 2001 – date: Reader then Professor in Photonics, Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, School of Engineering Science, Aston University
  • 2007 – date: Director, Astasense Ltd.
  • 1991 – 2001: Lecturer then Senior Lecturer in Physics, University of Kent
  • 1988 – 1991: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Department of Engineering Science, Oxford University
  • 1989 – 1991: College Lecturer, Pembroke College, Oxford University
  • 1983 – 1985: Research Scientist, GEC Research, Marconi Research Centre, Gt. Baddow, Chelmsford


  • BA in Physics, University of Oxford, 1982
  • PhD in Physics, University of Kent, 1988

Membership of Professional Bodies


Contact Details

Phone number: 0121 204 3541

Email: d.j.webb@aston.ac.uk 

Room Number: NW322


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