Meet the Team at IS-Instruments

IS-Instruments was founded by Dr Michael Foster and Dr Jonathan Storey in 2010 and were subsequently joined by Nicholas Bantin. Since then, the team has continued to grow to include some of the best and brightest minds in the UK, with specialist knowledge and skills that put ISI in the leading quadrant of its field. As such, as well as providing ‘off-the-shelf’ instrumentation, the team has the ability and experience to design tailored solutions for clients with specific issues across a range of challenging sectors. It’s time for you to meet the team!

Dr Michael Foster

Co-Founder & Director

Dr Michael Foster completed his PhD in 1999 in the study of cometary atmospheres. Due to his interest in instrumentation, he moved into the field of LIDAR and remote sensing. He has worked in this area ever since, playing a pivotal role in several space LIDAR projects, including designing filtering solutions for EarthCARE, ADM (Aeolus) and the Ascope missions.

Dr Foster is recognised as one of the UK’s leading experts in LIDAR instrumentation and has worked with a number of research groups, including University College London, Imperial College London, the University of Leicester, The Open University and the University of Southampton, developing a variety of concepts.

Dr Jonathan Storey

Co-Founder & Director

After completing a degree in Physics and a PhD in Space Plasma Physics at the University of Leicester, Jon entered the world of optical instrumentation. Since then, he has been responsible for designing and building every element of optical and laser-based instruments for a variety of applications, ranging from the highest specification optical filter and 3D landing LIDARs for the European Space Agency to a gas contaminant sensor for British Gas.

His wide range of skills means he is involved in the initial design of a system, specifically the optical, mechanical and software elements, through assembly and testing prior to delivery.

Nicholas Bantin


Nicholas Bantin is a former investment banker who worked in the City of London for more than 30 years with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of America. Nicholas has vast experience in corporate finance and lending before moving in 1990 to manage CIBC’s proprietary portfolios. While running the portfolios, Nicholas developed a liquidity fund to protect the Bank against catastrophic events such as those witnessed in 2007-8. After the Quebec Referendum in 1995, he moved to Bank of America to run the London proprietary portfolios.

Nicholas retired from the City in 2001 and decided to work with small technology companies to help them achieve their ambitions. Given the lack of support from the banks towards growing SMEs, Nicholas is now developing new funding structures to enable SMEs to manage their funding gaps.

Outside of work, Nicholas enjoys politics (especially debating it over a pint!), walking with his Boxer dog, Bertie, watching the rugby and entertaining his grandson.

Dr Will Brooks

Senior Scientist

Dr Will Brooks has a background in chemistry and electronic materials, receiving his B.Sc (Hons) degree in Chemistry in 2006 from the University of Wales, Bangor. Will obtained a PhD in Electronic Engineering from Bangor University in 2012, studying spatially resolved performance characteristics of thin-film CdTe photovoltaic solar cells. Following this, Will took up a postdoctoral position at the Centre for Solar Energy Research at Glyndwr University, working as Research Assistant on a Welsh Government Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) Collaborative Industrial Research Project (CIRP).

Will joined IS-Instruments in 2016 in the role of Senior Scientist. His responsibilities include Raman spectrometer and optical probe research and development, system assembly and testing. Will has been heavily involved in multiple projects, including stand-off Raman applications for the Nuclear Decommissioning industry, Raman-based process monitoring in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors, and gas-phase Raman detection using innovative hollow-core fibre guides. Throughout his role, Will uses technology innovation to take ideas from concept, through the technology readiness levels, to product.

Jessica Gabb MCHEM

Business Development Manager

Jessica Gabb joined IS-Instruments in April 2021 in the role of Business Development Manager. Her responsibilities include the promotional growth of the company, raising the profile of ISI at events and supporting our engineers throughout their research projects.

Jessica has a background in Chemistry and Nuclear power, receiving her MChem (Hons) degree in Chemistry in 2015 from Cardiff University. She then entered a graduate scheme in the nuclear power sector, working on the lifetime of the existing fleet and the chemical designs of nuclear new-build before moving into business development and account management.

Charles Warren

Research Scientist

Charles joined IS-Instruments in 2018 as a Research Scientist. His responsibilities include mathematical modelling, building and designing optical systems and hardware, as well as the development of spectroscopy software and data analysis software. Charles has enjoyed working on a wide range of projects, from the Nuclear industry to the Biopharmaceutical sector.

Charles completed a Masters Degree in Physics at the University of Exeter in 2014. His particular area of research related to Raman spectroscopy of graphene, a revolutionary new material with potential applications in a wide range of industries and technologies. During his work on graphene, he gained experience in cleanroom protocols and optical lithography. After his degree, Charles went on to complete a PGCE at the University of Exeter and achieve a teaching scholarship from the Institute of Physics. He spent some time as a science teacher specialising in physics before returning to research and development.

Dr Richard French

Senior Systems Scientist

Dr Richard French joined IS-Instruments in 2018 in the role of Senior Systems Scientist. Previously, he has been the leader of highly successful international interdisciplinary teams since 2003. He constructed the world’s largest, most complex experiment at CERN’s LHC – ATLAS. He was the Principle Investigator of a >£16m grant portfolio for multiple EU, Innovate-UK, EPSRC and STFC collaborative R&D grants.

Based at the University of Sheffield, Dr French was the group leader for an independent research team ESIM, “Enabling Sciences for Intelligent Manufacturing”. Working at an interdisciplinary fusion point, he built industry-academia collaborations, interpreting industrially relevant challenges to deliver disruptive, cutting edge solutions driving growth in sectors that rely on advanced manufacturing.

Richard works closely with other R & D companies, including i3D robotics, to develop compact, remote sensing instrumentation and intelligent vision systems for Robotics, Nuclear Decommissioning, Industrial Biotech, Welding & Additive Manufacturing Construction and Rail sectors.

Sarah Marsh-Collings

Information & Dissemination Manager

Sarah Marsh-Collings was brought on board in 2019 to help raise our profile, highlight the R&D advances taking place and their significance across multiple industries. Sarah gained a BSc (Hons) in Natural Sciences from the Open University whilst pursuing a career in Communications. Her knowledge of online engagement platforms coupled with her ability to communicate complex innovative technologies to a wider audience brings additional and valuable exposure to the research being conducted and the real-world commercial solutions they represent.

Alex Poppe MPHYS

Software Engineer

Alex Poppe graduated from the University of Kent in 2019 with an Integrated Masters (1st Class Hons) in Physics and is currently finishing his PhD in applied machine learning in physics.

During the course of his PhD, he has collaborated on projects with researchers in both the University of Kent and the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. In the latter case, his work in the area of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) attempts to further the understanding of light-induced interactions between individual molecules and metallic surfaces to facilitate improvements to industrial catalysts, which are crucial components in pharmaceutical and other chemical industries. Alex applying his machine learning skills to help us solve challenges for our clients.

Dr Rhea Sam

Senior Scientist

Dr Rhea Sam joined ISI in 2023, having gained an MSc in Photonics from the Cochin University of Science and Technology before completing her PhD in Applied Physics from Osaka University. While completing her doctorate, she was involved in developing optical instrumentation for tip-enhanced ultra-low-frequency Raman microscopes. She also worked on the synthesis and characterisation of 2D nanomaterials.

Here at ISI, Rhea works primarily on developing our gas Raman spectroscopy instrument with its patented hollow core fibre technology. She is also involved with the assembly and testing of Raman spectrometers and probes and works on sample and data analysis.

Have a problem and need a solution? Talk to us.

What press/people have to say…

Jacobs first approached IS Instruments in 2017 when it was recognised that great advances were being made in the field of laser sensing and in particular Raman spectroscopy. Through Jacobs extensive knowledge of the various challenges within the nuclear industry, along with IS Instruments expertise in lasr based sensing technologies, they identified several applications for Raman spectroscopy to make nuclear… Read more “Dr Mike Wharton”

Dr Mike Wharton
Senior Chemist – Jacobs Laboratory Solutions and Specialist Consultancy

Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics has been engaged with IS-Instruments for five years, both as a customer and in partnership on a range of collaborative innovation projects. We are therefore somewhat uniquely placed in that we have experience of using ISI in our supply chain, and in working closely in scientific development. On both counts, we have found our engagement… Read more “Dr David Stothard”

Dr David Stothard
Head of Department, Lasers and Laser Systems, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics