Systems, Power and Energy Research Division, School of Engineering
University of Glasgow, UK
Dr Watson’s first degree was in Applied Physics, followed by a PhD from the Engineering Faculty at the University of Glasgow in “Optimising the gaseous discharge and optical coupling of a pulsed CO2 laser” which was specifically designed for material processing of reflective and refractory materials. In the early 1990s he began to research the effects of high power laser beams on microorganisms and laser sterilization and inactivation. He has published on the direct effect of a range of lasers and their efficacy on treating different substrates, including solids, liquids and air and a range of microorganisms from E. coli to B. globigii, an anthrax simulant. As well as building lasers and laser scanning inactivation systems he has developed combined systems for decontamination and inactivation applications. These systems comprised: lasers, UV, pulsed flashlamp systems, microwave and chemical treatments. Laser and plasma systems have been specifically designed, fabricated and and successfully tested for treating air.
I am interested in how new decontamination systems and processes can lead to a safer environment and reduce the threat of food contamination and poisoning; and how the treatments can improve shelf life and food quality. As a part of this process, real time detection of microorganisms plays a role in process optimisation.