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Contrast facility

The CONTRAST facility is a user access coherent Raman scattering facility, which provides the UK’s leading healthcare researchers with access to near real-time label-free chemically specific imaging based on vibrational spectroscopy. Our custom-built instruments provide sub-micron resolution imaging with the potential to acquire 3D confocal image stacks.

This facility has been funded by EPSRC grant number (EP/S009957/1) in order to support research which addresses the following broad goals.

  1. Development of Coherent Raman Scattering based healthcare technologies
  2. The application of novel Coherent Raman scattering technique to aid the development of new technologies and therapies.

The facility contains two Coherent Raman Systems:

  1. Narrowband Spectrally focused CARS and SRS
  2. Broadband CARS

Users are fully supported by our Senior Experimental Officer (Jessica Mansfield) and will have access cell culture and sample preparation facilities. The facility Director (Julian Moger) and Co-Investigator (Nick Stone) are on hand to provide scientific advice on experimental design and data analysis.

Call for applications for facility time:

From the 20th July the CONTRAST labs will be re-opening. We are not yet able to have external visitors back on site however we will be able to investigate samples sent by courier service or post. If you have any samples you would like imaged using Coherent Raman microscopy please contact us.

Find out how to apply for microscopy time and the different types of access avialable, using the details below:

Free at the point of access for visits typically 1-2 days in duration aimed to allows users to explore potential novel uses of CRS. It is expectation that potentially viable applications will be followed up with an application for Direct Access.

To find out more about exploratory access please email:

Direct access, covers up to 2 weeks facility time and technical support and is free at the point of access to researchers eligible for RCUK funding. This facility time should be used to support proof of concept data aquisition which would lead to larger funding applications and also to aquire data for journal publications.

To apply please complete the application form which includes a short case (two A4 pages) outlining the experimental requirements and details the significance of the studies to be undertaken. Email completed applications to

For guidance on the application process and criteria against which the direct access application are assessed please download this information. The CONTRAST facility team are also avialable to discuss your proposal and support your application.

Programme Access is granted in support of research projects that clearly demonstrate the need for a connected series of experiments and where facility access is fully funded by a research award. Although RCUK grant applications undergo rigorous peer-review the panel will assess all grant applications containing CONTRAST Programme Access prior to submission to the funding body to ensure that the level of access, SEO support, and resources are appropriate for the delivery the scientific objectives.


If you need to contact any of us about the CONTRAST Facility, please email: