Professor Colin Webb MBE FRS

Colin Webb led the laser research group at the University of Oxford’s Clarendon Laboratory from 1968 to 2002. He was responsible for the discovery of numerous metal vapour lasers excited by charge transfer collisions. In the 1970s and 1980s, the group developed high-power pulsed ultraviolet excimer lasers and copper vapour lasers for applications in isotope enrichment.

In 1977, Colin founded Oxford Lasers to commercialise these technologies. Copper vapour lasers are well suited to the micron scale of micromachining metals and ceramics and for illuminating fast events. As it matured, the company developed a suite of machining systems employing diode-pumped picosecond and femtosecond solid state lasers.

Now established in the manufacture of machines for drilling ‘probe cards’ for testing semiconductor chips, Oxford Lasers also supplies companies and research laboratories in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries with equipment for imaging droplets, as well as analysing their size and velocity distributions in sprays. Colin is also Editor-in-Chief of the three-volume encyclopaedia, Handbook of Laser Technology and Applications (2003).

Professional position

  • Emeritus Professor of Laser Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford
  • Governor, Launceston College Cornwall
  • Director and Founder, Oxford Lasers Ltd.

Subject groups

  • Other

    Other interests


  • Clifford Paterson Medal and Lecture

    On 'Making light work: applications of high power lasers'.

Professor Colin Webb MBE FRS
Elected 1991