Meet the IS-Instruments Team

IS-Instruments was founded by Dr. Michael Foster and Dr. Jonathan Storey in 2010, subsequently joined by Nicholas Bantin. Since then, the team has continued to grow to include some of the best and brightest minds with specialist knowledge and skills that put ISI on the leading edge in 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.

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 then moved into the field of LIDAR and remote sensing. He has worked in this area ever since, playing a key role in a number of 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, Open University and 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 through 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 to assembly and testing prior to delivery. Jon started IS-Instruments with Dr Michael Foster in 2010 to find innovative solutions for industrial problems in the process industry using their extensive knowledge of optical technologies.

Nicholas Bantin


Nicolas 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, rugby and travelling (when COVID allows!)

Dr Will Brooks

Senior Scientist

Dr Will Brooks 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.

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.

Dr French 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.

Outside of work, Richard enjoys teaching his daughter the essentials of engineering (“bash it with a hammer”) and believes the next project will be the production of a potato cannon. Otherwise, he can be found mountain biking around the Peak District, snowboarding (mostly backwards) or in the garage tinkering with his old rally car, one of his classic Minis or the old Land Rover he describes as ‘essential’ given the rural setting of his home.

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.

Naomi Bartels

Software Engineer

Naomi Bartels joined IS-Instruments as a Software Engineer in 2020. She is responsible for developing new Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools for the advancement of Raman instrumentation and analysis, modelling/drawing spectrometers and probes and assisting the team in their multi-partner collaborations across Nuclear Decommissioning, BioPharmaceuticals and the Foundation Industries.

Naomi has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanics, Robotics and Industrial Automation from The Hague University of Applied Science. Whilst at university, Naomi put her skills to good work using deep learning to train an algorithm for a robot used to patrol the corridors of a care home to recognise the difference between staff and patients. She was also involved with building a lifting aid for steel bars on a construction site.

Jessica Gabb

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.

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 has 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.

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What press/people have to say…

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 “David Stothard”

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

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