Meet the Team
ISI was set up in early 2010 by Dr Michael Foster and Dr Jonathan Storey with Nicholas Bantin.
The directors are world-leading experts in optical filtering systems and laser-enhanced remote sensing instrumentation, as well as Photon Counting Techniques and high-precision interferometry. Dr Foster has been an author on 19 peer-reviewed publications and over 50 conference proceeding and technical reports. Dr Storey has authored 9 peer-reviewed publications and over 30 technical reports and conference proceedings.
Dr Michael Foster – 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. In 2010, with Dr Jonathan Storey, Michael set up IS-Instruments to develop innovative solutions to industrial problems using optical instrumentation.
Outside of work, Michael is a keen golfer, an avid skier and recently has taken up running triathlons.
Dr Michael Foster Research Gate page, Click Here
Dr Jonathan Storey – 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.
Outside of work, Jon is a committed family man with a wife and 3 year old daughter. If he ever has any spare time he enjoys the occasional round of golf and reading a good book. Given the continuous round of DIY he also enjoys, the spare time doesn’t happen too often!
Nicholas Bantin – Director
Nicolas Bantin is a former investment banker who worked in the City of London for more than 30 years with 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.
Dr William Brooks – Senior Scientist
Dr Will Brooks joined IS-Instruments in 2016 as 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 this role, Will uses technology innovation to take ideas from concept, through the technology readiness levels, to product.
Will has a background in chemistry and electronic materials, receiving his B.Sc (Hons) degree in Chemistry in 2006 from the University of Wales, Bangor. He went on to obtain 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).
Outside work, Will spends most of his time entertaining his small son and house renovation. If/when he finds the time, he also plays the piano, reads (in the middle of a fascinating book on near eastern late antiquity), cycle, and when COVID isn’t getting in the way, he also enjoys travelling!
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, ranging from the Nuclear sector to Biopharmaceutical industries.
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 that has 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 went on to spend some time as a science teacher specialising in teaching physics before going on to join IS-Instruments.
Outside of work Charles practises the guitar and enjoys building and working on his custom gaming computer. When he gets the opportunity, he also enjoys scuba diving and playing football.
Dr Richard French – Senior Systems Scientist
Dr Richard French 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, and was the Principle Investigator of a >£16m grant portfolio for multiple EU, Innovate-UK, EPSRC & STFC collaborative R&D grants.
Whilst 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 which rely on advanced manufacturing has generated significant impact.
Dr French works closely with other R & D companies including i3D robotics to develop compact, remote sensing instrumentation and intelligent vision systems for application in Robotics, Nuclear Decommissioning, Industrial Biotech, Welding & Additive Manufacturing, and Construction and Rail sectors.
Outside of work, Richard enjoys teaching his daughter the essentials of engineering (“bash it with a hammer”) and has the idea 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.
Naomi Bartels – Software Engineer
Naomi Bartels joined IS-Instruments as a Software Engineer. 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.
Outside of work, Naomi enjoys drawing – with actual pencils and paper – playing video games and, travel restrictions permitting, snowboarding.
Sarah Marsh-Collings – Information & Dissemination Manager
Sarah Marsh-Collings was brought on board to help raise the profile of IS-Instruments to 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. Outside of work, Sarah has a passion for old American cars and has owned many including a customised 1950’s Chevrolet Fleetline Fastback and a Dodge Ram Dayvan. She also enjoys walking her dogs, playing tennis, kayaking, keeping an eye on seismic activity around the world, and cooking up a feast for friends and family.