Oscar Knights


Went to Bedale High School in North Yorkshire before going to Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington. After that, studied a Master of Physics at the University of Hull and achieved a First Class degree. Now attending the University of Leeds for a PhD qualification.

Research interests

Photothermal Therapy (PTT) is a potentially significant form of cancer treatment, providing a minimally invasive method of destroying cancerous tissue. Laser light - usually tuned to the near-infrared - is indicent on a tumour containing nanoparticles, and is used to induce hyperthermia within the tumour. Noble metal nanoparticles are used to help enhance the optical contrast between cancerous tissue and the surrounding healthy tissue, ensuring a highly targeted cancer therapy. Gold nanorods have shown to be extremely efficient in converting laser light heat, while also displaying good biocompatilibty, easy functionalistion, and localised surface plasmon resonances (LSPRs) tunable into the near-infrared - a trate that is particularly useful since biological tissue exhibits reduced absorption in the near-infrared, allowing deeper penetration depths. 

This techinque could potentially be combined with another well-known and highly promising imaging modality called Photoacoustic Imaging. This imaging process arises from a phenomena called photoacoustics, where a pulsed laser is used to rapidly heat an area of interest, causing the emission of ultrasonic waves, that can be detected via a transducer. Again, nanoparticles can be used as contrast agents to increase the sensitivity of the imaging technique and improve outcome. If these two techniques were to be combined, it would allow the simultaneous imaging and treatment of a cancerous region, improving patient outcome.


  • MPhys Physics

Professional memberships

  • IEEE
  • Institute of Physics