Dr Howard V Snelling

Lecturer in Physics

Faculty of Science and Engineering


01482 465690

Programme director for BSc and MPhys Physics/ University Optical Safety Officer. 

Howard came to study his BSc in the Department of Applied Physics at Hull to pursue his interest in lasers.

After gaining a BSc in Applied Physics with Laser Technology in 1989, he was awarded a PhD scholarship by Lumonics Ltd to develop photoswitched gas lasers under the supervision of Prof Peter Dyer.

Howard gained his PhD in 1993 and was then engaged in various postdoctoral positions involving applications of lasers, particularly micromachining.

In 2001, he was appointed as lecturer to develop a taught MSc programme, Laser Applications in Micromachining and Processing (LAMP), which he successfully ran for seven years.


Research Interests

  • Physics of laser light interaction with materials

  • Applications of lasers in material processing

  • Laser devices

  • Optical systems

Research groups

Research group: Lasers and light-matter interactions. Research career started in gas laser development but rapidly moved into laser applications.

(see 'achievements and awards' for details of research and industrial collaborations)


Atif M, Dyer P E, Paget T A, Snelling H V, Stringer M R, 'Two-photon excitation studies of m-THPC photosensitizer and photodynamic activity in an epithelial cell line', Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy, 4(2), pp 106-11 (2007)

Karnakis D M, Knowles M R H, Alty K T, Schlaf M, and Snelling H V, 'Comparison of glass processing using high repetition femtosecond (800nm) and UV (255nm) nanosecond pulsed lasers', in Microfluidics, BioMEMS, and Medical Microsystems III, Papautsky I (ed), Bellingham (2005)

Snelling H V, Walton C D, and Whitehead D J, 'Polymer jacket stripping of optical fibres by laser irradiation', Applied Physics A: Materials Science & Processing, 79, pp 937-40, doi: 10.1007/s00339-004-2572-7 (2004)

Dyer P E, Snelling H V, and Walton C D, 'A simple fast-time-response photoemissive detector for vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) F-2 lasers', Measurement Science and Technology, 13, pp 92-4 (2002)

Dyer P E, Monk P, Snelling H V, and Walton C D, 'High current photoelectric effects with VUVF2 laser irradiated metals', Applied Surface Science, 86, pp 206-10 (2002)


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

Lecture courses

  • Lasers in science and materials processing

  • Applied Physics techniques

Laboratory classes

  • Experimental Techniques Laboratory (semester 1)

  • Experimental Techniques Laboratory (semester 2)

Research PhDs

Howard welcomes applications in the areas of laser-material interactions and optical physics.

Completed PhDs

  • Dr Matthew Leach, Radio frequency excited carbon dioxide laser processing of carbon fibre reinforced composites : experimental and theoretical analyses of the fume content and expansion dynamics (2014)

  • Dr Bibi Safia Haq, Laser structuring of materials for biomedical applications (2012)

  • Dr Abigail Marchant, Experimental and theoretical studies of surface and volume changes in dielectrics induced by long-pulse RF CO₂ laser irradiation (2012)

  • Dr Robin Scott, Development of environmental water monitors based on hydrostatic and flourescence detection techniques (2009)

  • Dr David Whitehead, Pulsed laser interactions with protective polymer coatings of optical fibres (2005)

Current PhD supervisions 

  • Jack Eden, Laser interactions with thin films for flexible electronics

  • Alexandra Bridgwater, Analysis of fume from laser interactions with printed thin films

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, Photoswitched CO2 laser development and comparative studies of glass marking, University of Hull (1993)

  • BSc in Applied Physics with Laser Technology, University of Hull (1989)

Awards and accolades

Current research grants as PI

  • Laplacian Magic Windows, The Leverhulme Trust, with Prof Sir Michael Berry (Bristol) and Prof David Jesson (Cardiff)

  • Scoping studies for new laser interaction regimes, CIM-Laser EPSRC, with Prof Peter Dyer (Hull), Prof Daniel Esser (Heriot-Watt) and Dr Jason Lee (Rofin-Sinar UK Ltd)

  • Indium free innovative technology - INFINITY, EU-H2020, Coordinated by TWI Ltd, with Dr Chris Walton (Hull) and partners in UK, Germany, Spain

Industrial collaborations


  • High precision picosecond laser machining centre, Rofin-Sinar UK Ltd

  • Magnetic Inks - KTP - Bemrose Booth International Ltd

  • Fume analysis - KTP - Purex International Ltd