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Durham University

Research & business

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Professor Alan Purvis, BSc PhD FIET

Emeritus Professor in the Department of Engineering
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 42437
Room number: E498 (Christopherson)

(email at

Alternative email address


I have a background in Signal Processing for Engineering. My early training at the Cavendish Laboratory was in Radio Astronomy, Aperture Synthesis and Interferometry. The search to link radio objects to optical galaxies led me to be part of the first teams buidling CCD cameras and the image processing technologies then enabled. Interests which followed include the correction of atmospheric seeing using liquid crystal phase modulating devices, the synthesis of optical elements and the use of fast processor technologies to perform high speed real time calculations. This work has involved considerable interaction with Industry. Working with the RDA One North East significant Technology Transfer Projects were initiated called ReCET, NeMEC and CENS deploying European funds to assist SMEs take advantage of University Research and generate more economic impact. These projects evolved into a National Faraday Centre and engaged high profile businesses as partners through follow on EPSRC awards such as Agilent, Sharp and Intel. With this substantial corporate experience now shared with the KTNs opportunities to exploit core EPSRC funded research in the manufacturing sector where there is considerable interest in novel techniques to enable electronic products to repair (heal) themselves. we are very excited at the prospect of extending this know how on self -fix strategies to encompass electro-mechanical goods with current Industrial sponsors. 

Research Interests

  • Digital signal processing
  • Optics and image processing

Indicators of Esteem

  • Professor in Engineering (Electronic Systems) having held many 4x 6 month sabbatical posts at leading International Universities, Stanford, Technion, Cambridge, EPFL.: Fulbright Senior Scholar, Leland Stanford Junior University, CA. Royal Society Visiting Professor, Technion. Visiting Professor at the Ecole Polytechnic Federal Lausanne. Founding Research Director of the EPPIC Faraday (now KTN) partnership for Electronics and Photonics. Director of 3 University Spin out companies.

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Conference Proceeding

Journal Article


  • Cowling, J., Purvis, A., McWilliam, R., Soulard, F.B., Williams, G., Seed, N.L. & Toriz-Garcia, J. (2011). Improvements In Or Relating To Holography. Application filed: 15 March 2011. Granted: 15 March 2011
  • Curry, Richard., Pera, Ioana., Purvis, Alan., Kataky, Ritu. & Cameron, Neil. (2009). Apparatus for Determining Concentration of Chemical Species at Multiple Positions in Test Region. 0904793.7. Application filed: 20 March 2009. Granted: 30 November 1999
  • Purvis, Alan., McWilliam, Richard., Maiden, Andrew., Johnson, Simon., Ivey, Peter., Williams, Gavin. & Seed, N. Luke. (2009). Holographic lithography using geometrical shapes. GB2419501. Application filed: 26 April 2006. Granted: 23 December 2009
  • Jones, David., Purvis, Alan. & McWilliam, Richard. (2009). Self-repairing Electronic Data System. WO2009098521. Application filed: 7 February 2008. Granted: 30 November 1999
  • Purvis, Alan., McWilliam, Richard., Curry, Richard., Maiden Andrew., Williams, Gavin., Seed, Luke., Toriz-Garcia, Jesus. & Ivey, Peter. (2009). Sub-Micron 3d Holographic Lithography. PCT/GB2009/050945. Application filed: 20 July 2009. Granted: 30 November 1999
  • Purvis, A., McWilliam, R., Seed, N.L., Williams, G.L., Ivey, P.A., Maiden, A. & Johnson, S. (2006). Holographic Lithography. WO2006021818. Application filed: 24 August 2004. Granted: 30 November 1999

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Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Industry: Chemicals, plastics, oil & gas: digital signal processing
  • Industry: Chemicals, plastics, oil & gas: optics & image processing
  • Industry: Chemicals, plastics, oil & gas: academic-based services for electronics industry
  • Engineering: Communications: digital signal processing
  • Engineering: Communications: optics & image processing
  • Engineering: Electronics: instrumentation, industrial measurements