National Physical Laboratory

LibraryPublication highlights

The following NPL publications are just a small selection from across the laboratory that have been highlighted for their scientific contribution in 2016.

A de novo virus-like topology for synthetic virions

Journal of the American Chemical Society

James Noble, Emiliana De Santis, Jascindra Ravi, Baptiste Lamarre and Max Ryadnov (with University of Reading, University of Bristol and University of Brighton)

Researchers from NPL's Biotechnology group engineered an artificial virus, just 12 nanometres in diameter, able to encapsulate and safely transfer genes into human cells. The American Chemical Society highlighted the impact the virus could have in genetic medicine, explaining that it could someday carry potentially therapeutic DNA or RNA and transfer it to human cells. 

Tuneable on-demand single-photon source in the microwave range

Nature Communications

Sebastian de Graaf and Oleg Astafiev (with Royal Holloway, University of London, RIKEN, Tokyo University of Science and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology)

A collaboration including researchers from NPL's Quantum Detection group developed a tuneable, high-efficiency, single-photon microwave source. The technology has great potential for applications in quantum computing and quantum information technology, as well as in studying the fundamental reactions between light and matter in quantum circuits.

Precise characterisation of molecular orientation in a single crystal field-effect transistor using polarised Raman spectroscopy

Scientific Reports

Sebastian Wood, Grigorios-Panagiotis Rigas, Alina Zoladek-Lemanczyk, James Blakesley and Fernando Castro (with University of Surrey and Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona)

Scientists from NPL's Electrochemistry group developed a new, non-destructive method of detecting the orientation of molecules in organic semiconductor transistors using Raman spectroscopy. This will create a faster and more flexible method of measuring the efficiency of electrical conductivity in a printed circuit, enabling scientists to understand the quality of their devices.

Development of a primary standard for absorbed dose from unsealed radionuclide solutions


Ilias Billas, David Schipley, Seb Galer, Graham Bass, Thorsten Sander, Andrew Fenwick and Vere Smyth

Researchers from NPL's Radiation Dosimetry and Radioactivity groups developed the world's first primary standard for molecular radiotherapy (MRT) to ensure its safe, effective use in the treatment of cancer. The new standard will help improve the consistency of treatments with MRT, in which radioactive molecules, or radiopharmaceuticals, are injected directly into a patient's body to target and kill cancerous cells.

Chemical intervention in plant sugar signalling increases yield and resilience


Melissa Passarelli, Ian Gilmore, Rory Steven, Josephine Bunch (with Rothamsted Research, University of Oxford, University of Nottingham)

A team of UK scientists, including researchers from the National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging at NPL, created a synthetic molecule that, when applied to crops, was shown to increase the size and starch content of wheat grains in the lab by up to 20%. The study also demonstrated that application of the molecule could enhance plants' ability to recover from drought.

Modified hyper-Ramsey methods for the elimination of probe shifts in optical clocks

Physical Review A

Richard Hobson, William Bowden, Steven King, Ian Hill and Patrick Gill (with University of Oxford)

The range of options for handling plane angle and solid angle within a system of units


Paul Quincey

Air–vacuum transfer; establishing traceability to the new kilogram


Stuart Davidson and James Berry (with National Institute of Standards and Technology, Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology, National Research Council Canada, Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica and Danish National Metrology Institute)

Advances in large-scale metrology – Review and future trends

CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology

Ben Hughes and Alistair Forbes (with RWTH Aachen University, University of North Carolina, ETH Zürich, Politecnico di Torino, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt and National Institute of Standards and Technology)

A Bregman-proximal point algorithm for robust non-negative matrix factorization with possible missing values and outliers - application to gene expression analysis

BMC Bioinformatics

Stéphane Chrétien (with FEMTO-ST Institute, ISIFC, UFR Sciences et Techniques, ABC&T and Centre Hospitalier Lyon Sud)

Annual Review

Read our 2016 annual review online or download a copy.

NPL Annual Review 2016

Read our 2016 annual review


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