Early Careers Group Members

Raja Abdullah
(Group Chair)
Uni. Birmingham

Raja is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Birmingham in controlling the surface properties of additively manufactured devices for biomedical applications. He is also researching the potential applications of Metal Binder Jetting (MBJ), an additive manufacturing process, in which there is an absence of a heat source during printing for nuclear applications.


Laser Interests: L-PBF, Metal Binder Jetting, Surface Profiling, Biomedical Implants, Nuclear, Metallurgy

Priyanka Ghosh
(Group Chair)

Priyanka is an Advanced Research Engineer within the Laser Processing team at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry. Her research focuses on high-power laser processing of advanced materials and developing in-process monitoring and control techniques for laser material processing.


Laser interests: Laser Machining, Laser-material Interactions, In-Process Monitoring of Laser Drilling, Finite Element Analysis, Sustainable Manufacturing


Neda Baktash
(Group Secretary)
Coherent, Glasgow

Neda is a Staff Laser Development Engineer at Coherent’s Glasgow site. She works on ultrafast lasers suitable for a wide range of industrial and scientific application areas. Neda previously worked at TRUMPF, Southampton and also on the Petawatt Vulcan laser at RAL’s Central Laser Facility.


Laser interests: Ultrafast Fibre Lasers, Laser Material Processing

Donald Risbridger
(AILU Steering Committee)
Heriot-Watt University

Donald is a Research Associate at Heriot Watt University. His research focuses on automating optical alignment tasks using both robotic instruments and software-controlled solutions. These methods are compared to manual adjustment methods used by laser experts through human behaviour analysis.


Laser interests: Optical Systems Design, Automation, Ultrafast Laser Processing, Laser Surgery, Machine Learning

Amirhossein Sadeghian
Coventry University


Amirhossein is studying for his PhD at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME), Coventry University. His topic of research is laser welding of dissimilar materials used for electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing. In particular, he is looking at laser welding of thin sheets of aluminium and copper.


Laser interests: Laser Materials Processing, Welding, Additive Manufacturing, Metallurgy

Ioannis Bitharas
Heriot-Watt University


Ioannis is a Research Associate at Heriot-Watt University. His research focuses on understanding and improving novel laser and plasma-based processes, such as additive manufacturing, welding and surgery.


Laser interests: Additive Manufacturing, Multiphysics Modelling, Optical Diagnostics, Laser-Material Interactions, Arc Welding

Martin Buckthorpe
Uni. Southampton

Martin is studying for a PhD at the Zepler Institute, University of Southampton. The aim of his research is to investigate power scaling methods of Thulium-doped silica fibre lasers emitting at two-micron. He is also studying the application of this technology to several industrial applications.

Helen Elkington

Helen is a Research Engineer within the Laser Processing team at The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry. Over the next few years, she will be working on developing the high power water jet guided laser system for cutting, drilling, and machining advanced composite materials.


Laser interests: Laser Machining, Laser-Material Interactions, Composites, Circular Economy

Anju Jolly
Coventry University

Anju is a joint PhD student at Coventry University and the University of Mons, Belgium. Her research investigates the feasibility of electrochemical methods for surface defect mitigation on metal additively manufactured (AM) parts and to improve the overall mechanical performance of the built parts.

Mitchell Leering

Mitchell is an Advanced Research Engineer within the Laser Processing group at The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry. His current research focuses on developing rate-based machining capabilities at the MTC in laser micro-hole drilling and remote laser cutting.


Laser interests: Laser Machining, Laser-Materials Interactions, Finite Element Analysis, Hydrogen, Electrification

Venkat Vivek Pamarthi
Warwick University

Vivek is a process monitoring and modelling researcher currently in the third year of his PhD at the Laser Beam Welding Group at Warwick Manufacturing Group, UK. His research interests focus on modelling crack susceptibility of laser welding and developing novel in-process monitoring of cracking using image processing techniques. 


Laser interests: In-Process Monitoring of Laser Welding, Beam Shaping

Antonia Barnard
University of Hull

Antonia is a PhD student in the department of Physics at the University of Hull sponsored by Luxinar Ltd working in the field of laser-material interactions. Her work encompasses the application of both CO¬≠2 and ultrashort pulse lasers with an emphasis on how machine learning can inform the process in real time. 

Laser interests: 

Kuladeep Rajamudili
Cranfield University

Kuladeep is a Research fellow at the Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre, Cranfield University. He currently works in laser, plasma and hybrid additive manufacturing for the research programme New Wire Additive Manufacturing (NEWAM).

David Rico-Sierra
Cranfield University

David is a Research Fellow in additive manufacturing at the Welding Engineering and Laser Processing (WELP) centre. This is an applied research organisation working in collaboration with manufacturing industries on topics such as industrial scale additive manufacturing using wire and arc-based technology and laser welding processing.

Daniel Wilson
University of Manchester

Daniel is a specialist technician at the University of Manchester, currently working towards completion of his PhD on the theme of analog control methods for lasers with the view to manufacturing stereo audio records for turntables using a single laser beam.

Tianzhu Sun
University of Warwick

Tianzhu is an assistant professor at WMG, the University of Warwick. His research activities are focused on advanced joining techniques for automotive alloys.

William Buchanan
Graham Engineering

Will has a background in sheet metal working and currently works for Grahams Engineering Ltd, who complete projects for customers in the nuclear industry amongst other industrial sectors. He has a special interest in automated and robotic laser welding processes as well as hand held laser welding.


Laser interests: All aspects of Fibre Laser Welding


Greg Carter
Micrometric Ltd

Greg is a Project Engineer for Micrometric Ltd and has recently graduated from the University of Lincoln with a masters in Mechanical Engineering. Some of Greg’s tasks include designing new laser machines, designing and fabricating jigs for customers and maintenance of machines and lasers used at Micrometric.


Laser interests: laser materials processing, laser welding, laser drilling, and different applications of lasers.

Qamar Hayat
University of Warwick

Qamar’s background is in Metallurgical Engineering. In his current role at WMG, University of Warwick, Qamar leads projects centred around advancing the development of new laser welding processes for Aluminium alloys and advanced steels.


Laser Interests: Material Characterisation, Micromechanical Testing, Laser Welding, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Laser Beam Shaping

Anand Mohan
University of Warwick

Anand is a CAE simulation and VR/AR researcher at the Digital Lifecycle Management Research Group. His current project aims to advance smart manufacturing by eliminating barriers and accelerating the widespread use of collaborative robotics technology.


Laser interests: Multi-physics FEM/CAE Simulation, Process Monitoring, and Closed-loop Control Quality Control

Conghui Liu
University of Manchester

Conghui is a research associate at the University of Manchester. A central aspect of her research is to develop a more physically based understanding of how the complex microstructures developed during laser-based advanced processing impact the performance.


Laser interests: Material Characterisation; Deformation Micromechanics; Failure Mechanism & Prediction; Material Processing

Laurence Glaister

Laurence is a Senior Technician at TWI Ltd, supporting innovative research and development projects in varying industry sectors applying laser welding, cutting and surface texturing techniques using a range of fibre lasers, manipulation and scanning methods.


Laser interests: Laser Weld and Process Quality Monitoring, Robotic and Beam Manipulation, EV Battery Welding, Nuclear Decommissioning.




Jialin Dong
Loughborough University

Jialin is a PhD student at Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical, and Manufacturing Engineering at Loughborough University. His research focuses on developing the methodology of laser surface engineering for biomedical applications, such as cardiovascular stents, aiming to improve biocompatibility, bioactivity, and mechanical properties.


Laser interests: Laser Surface Engineering, Laser Materials Processing; Bioengineering and Healthcare Engineering; Materials Engineering and Processing; Materials Characterisation.  

Andrew Cousins
Loughborough University

Andrew is currently studying for his PhD at Loughborough University.  His topic of  research is Laser applications in Nuclear Decommissioning. In particular he is investigating the fume generated during laser cutting and fume abatement to make laser cutting more viable in decommissioning activities.


Laser interests: Laser Fume, Nuclear, Fibre Lasers

How was the Group set up?

The Early Careers Group started out as the Early Careers Research Committee in October 2017 with the aim of increasing the visibility and engagement of younger members within AILU. The aim is that, as the careers of members of the ECG develop through industry and academia, they will maintain contact with AILU and encourage the next generation of industrial laser users.

There are added benefits for Group members, such as increased networking with peers at other academic/research institutions and businesses, profile-raising, and the addition of new skills to enhance CVs.

The initial focus of the ECG initiative was to produce a column of articles and features for the AILU’s magazine, “The Laser User”.


What’s happening now?

The role of the ECG had expanded since it was formed. Members regularly submit short features to their dedicated page in the magazine, and in addition, contribute in-depth 2-page R&D articles as well as observations on other authors’ articles. They are strategically developing the group to include commercial and industrial members so that the group reflects the make-up of all AILU members.

The Group meets twice a year, usually December and June. The one-day events are held in person, with online access, and hosted by one of the group members. The events begin with a morning seminar where members of the Group share their recent research and application experiences. The seminar is open to all and is followed by a tour of the laser facilities at the host institution. An ECG meeting is held in the afternoon for Group members.

The image shows members of the group with other seminar attendees at Cranfield University in June 2024.

Have a look at our LinkedIn page




Interested in joining?

Meetings are very informal and relaxed and you will be made very welcome. The group is open to anyone who fulfils the following criteria:

  • current Masters and PhD students
  • researchers who are within 5 years of a completed postgraduate degree
  • those in the early stages of their career in industry
  • others for whom supervisors/line managers would like to make a special case

If you are interested in joining please contact info@ailu.org.uk