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Personal profile

Personal Statement

Prof. Walter Johnstone is the Research Professor of Photonic Systems in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering with responsibility only for research leadership and implementation. Prior to his current status, he held senior management positions as Deputy Head then Head of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (2006-11) followed by appointment to the post of Vice Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Engineering (2011-16). He is also a founding director of the Spin-out Company, OptoSci Ltd.

Research Interests

Professor Johnstone is Head of the Photonic Systems research team and his work has led to more than 200 technical publications and several patent applications. Recent research in laser spectroscopy applications focusses on accurate measurement of gas concentration, pressure and temperature in extreme environments, such as in the combustion zones and exhaust plumes of aero (gas turbine) engines at high temperature and high gas velocity. As well as carrying out basic research, his group is involved in the engineering of such systems for in situ industrial deployment, and sensing systems based on his research are now commercially available.

Industrial Relevance

The Photonic Systems Research team works closely with industry and currently collaborate in the area of spectroscopic gas measurements with Rolls-Royce, Rolls-Royce Fuels Cell Systems, Shell, OptoSci Ltd. and M Squared Lasers, working on advances in gas measurement technologies for harsh, high temperature environments, such as gas turbine (aero) engines and fuel cells.

Expertise & Capabilities

Laser spectroscopy, in particular tunable diode laser spectroscopy, and its applications to accurate measurements of gas concentration, temperature and pressure in harsh, particularly high temperature, envoronments such as fuels cells and gas turbine (aero) engines at temperatures up to 1000oC.

Teaching Interests

Fundamental principles of Optics and Photonics, optical telecommunication systems, photonics systems and its applications in general.

Academic / Professional qualifications

PhD, BSc (Hons), FIET, CEng, F.Inst.P, CPhys

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Research Output

Laser transmitter for cubesat-class applications

Crabb, J. R., Stevens, G., Michie, C., Johnstone, W. & Kehayas, E., 4 Mar 2019, In : Proceedings of SPIE. 10910, 8 p., 109101I.

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Contribution

Open Access
  • 20 Downloads (Pure)

    All-optical fiber multi-point photoacoustic spectroscopic gas sensing system

    Zhang, C., Yang, Y., Lin, Y., Tan, Y., Lengden, M., Humphries, G., Johnstone, W., Lut Ho, H. & Jin, W., 28 Sep 2018, Proceedings 26th International Conference on Optical Fiber Sensors. Washington, DC: Optical Society of America, 4 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

    Open Access
  • 8 Downloads (Pure)


    Advances in tunable diode laser spectroscopy for aero engine research

    Author: Benoy, T., 19 Jan 2017

    Supervisor: Johnstone, W. (Supervisor) & Lengden, M. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

    The development of analytical approaches to profile Scotch Whisky colour

    Author: Holden, M., 29 Apr 2016

    Supervisor: Nordon, A. (Supervisor) & Johnstone, W. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    • 2 Membership of committee
    • 1 Participation in conference
    • 1 Editorial board member
    • 1 Membership of board

    Institute for System Level Integration (External organisation)

    Walter Johnstone (Member)
    May 2010Dec 2012

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of committee

    Journal of Measurement Science and Instrumentation (Journal)

    Walter Johnstone (Editorial board member)
    Jan 2010Dec 2013

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial board member