David Jackson obtained his PhD from Birkbeck College, University of London, in 1964. His thesis was entitled, “The Measurement of Short Lifetimes of Excited States of Nuclei”.
During his PhD research, he developed a very fast coincidence circuit, based on avalanche transistors, with a time resolution of 10 ps, which was the fastest in the world at that time.
David was appointed to a lectureship in 1965 at the University of Kent and Professor of Applied Optics in 1985 and is now Emeritus. At Kent he started a laser light scattering research programme and, over time, he explored the versatility of this technique for a wide range of substances including the rare gases. This activity required development of high resolution piezo-electrically scanned Fabry-Perot interferometers, their electronic adjustment, sensitive digital signal averaging, photon counting and electronic peak finding, essential tools for his subsequent research into fibre optic sensing.
David developed the first laser Doppler anemometer and vibrometer outside the US. He introduced the first all optical fibre Mach Zehnder closed loop interferometer at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington. He subsequently established a fibre optic sensor group at Kent. A range of sensors has been developed including: distributed temperature and strains sensors sensing range >30km, 10000C temperature probes, submicro-gravity accelerometers, subsea current sensing, miniature radiation probes.
In addition he has designed and implemented multiplexing techniques for Fibre Bragg sensors and fibre interferometers miniature medical probes for temperature and pressure. He has also built tuneable sources for OCT systems. He instigated the first OCT project at the University.