Electronic Engineering Department, The Chinese University of Hong Kong - Prof MACPHERSON, Emma
Associate Professor
BA, MSci, PhD (Cantab)
homepage Rm 426, Ho Sin Hang Engineering Building phone Tel: +852 3943 8260 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research Interests:

Terahertz imaging and spectroscopy of biomedical and related materials, Liquid crystal based terahertz devices, Terahertz metamaterials, Probing chemical processes, Molecular modeling

Research Highlights



Resume of Career

Emma MacPherson (nee Pickwell) studied Natural Sciences for her undergraduate degree at Cambridge University followed by an MSci in Physics where she specialised in Semiconductor Physics. After Cambridge, she worked on optical packet switching at BT labs, Martlesham, UK. In February 2002 she started working as a research assistant at TeraView Ltd, a company specialising in terahertz imaging which had spun out of Toshiba in 2001. She started her PhD with the Semiconductor Physics Group at Cambridge University and TeraView Ltd in October 2002. Her PhD thesis was entitled, ‘Biological applications of terahertz pulsed imaging and spectroscopy’ - her PhD work focused on understanding contrast mechanisms in terahertz images of skin cancer. Having completed her thesis in 2005, she worked for TeraView Ltd as a Medical Scientist until moving to Hong Kong in 2006. Prof MacPherson set up a terahertz laboratory at the Department of Electronic Engineering, CUHK during her post between 2006 and 2009 as an assistant professor. She spent 3 years at HKUST as a visiting assistant professor (September 2009 -2012). She returned to the Department of Electronic Engineering, CUHK in Sept 2012. Prof MacPherson represents Hong Kong on the International Organising Committee for the Infrared and Millimeter Wave and Terahertz Wave conference series and will be Chair of the 2015 conference which will be held at CUHK.

Current Research Interests

Terahertz imaging and spectroscopy of biomedical and related materials, Liquid crystal based terahertz devices, Terahertz metamaterials, Probing chemical processes, Molecular modeling

Highlights of Recent Research Achievements

  • US Patent (No. 61/573,091) filed on 31 August 2011 for the invention entitled 'Terahertz in Plane and Terahertz Out-of-Plane (TIP-TOP) Switching Liquid Crystal Devices'. E MacPherson, H Park, Fan Fan, VG Chigrinov and EPJ Parrott.

Taught Courses

  • Telemedicine and Mobile Healthcare
  • Sound & Light Waves in Medicine
  • Biomedical Information Engineering
  • Introduction to Biomedical Engineering: Biomedical Instrumentation
  • Basic Circuit Theory
  • Advanced Engineering Mathematics
  • General Education, United College

Honors and Awards

  • International Young Scientist Award, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2011-2012.
  • CUHK Engineering Faculty's Outstanding Thesis Award 2011, M.Phil Thesis Title: 'Investigating Biomedical Applications with Terahertz Pulsed Imaging in Reflection Geometry', Ming-Yiu Sy.
  • HKUST ECE department's Best Final Year Thesis Award and President's Cup Finalist. Title: Terahertz Spectroscopy of Aggregation Induced Emission Materials, Xinwai Wan.

External Service in Recent 3 Years

  • Conference chair for the Infrared, Millimetre and Terahertz Waves 2015 conference to be held in Hong Kong.
  • Member of the international Organising Committee for the Infrared, Millimetre and Terahertz Waves conference Series, 2009-present.
  • Chair of student prize sub-committee for the Infrared, Millimetre and Terahertz Waves conference Series, Sep. 2010-2013.
  • Journal Administrator for the IEEE Transactions on Information Technology in Biomedicine (TITB), 2008-2013.
  • Associate Editor for IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Annual Conference.
  • Guest Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Circuits and Systems, 2007-2008.
  • Reviewer for the Institute of Physics Journal, 'Physics in Medicine and Biology'.
  • Reviewer for the Journal of Biomedical Optics (SPIE).
  • Reviewer for the Optical Society of America journal, 'Optics Express'.
  • Reviewer for IEEE International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS)'
  • Reviewer for Trends in Analytical Chemistry (Elsevier).
  • Text book reviewer for the Cambridge University Press, UK.
  • Text book reviewer for John Wiley and Sons, UK.
  • Text book reviewer for Springer, US.

Publications for the Past 3 Years

(note: My students' and post-docs' names are underlined; my name is in bold.)

  1. PLOS-ONE: Yiwen Sun, Zexuan Zhu, Siping Chen, Jega Balakrishnan, Derek Abbott, Anil T. Ahuja, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Observing the temperature dependent transition of the GP2 peptide using terahertz spectroscopy', Public Library of Science, 7 (11) e50306, 2012.

  2. APL: Hongkyu Park, Zhe Huang, Edward P. J. Parrott, HP Chan, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Accurate photoconductive antenna characterization using a thin film polarizer', Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 101, pp. 121108, Sept 2012.

  3. OPEX: Hongkyu Park, Edward P. J. Parrott, Fan Fan, Meehyun Lim, Haewook Han, Vladimir G. Chigrinov, and Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Evaluating liquid crystal properties for use in terahertz devices', Optics Express, Vol. 20, Issue 11, pp. 11899-11905, 2012.

  4. QIMS: Calvin Yu, Shuting Fan, Yiwen Sun, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'The potential of terahertz imaging for cancer diagnosis: A review of investigations to date'. Quant Imaging Med Surg, Vol. 2, pp. 33-45, 2012.

  5. JBO: Edward Parrott, M. Y. Sy, V. P. Wallace, T. Blu, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Terahertz pulsed imaging in vivo: measurements and processing methods', J. Biomed. Opt., Vol. 16, 106010, 2011.

  6. JMS: Edward Parrott, Yiwen Sun, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Terahertz spectroscopy: its future role in medical diagnoses', Journal of Molecular Structure, Vol. 1006, Issue 1, pp. 66-76, 2011.

  7. PMB: Caroline B. Reid, Anthony Fitzgerald, George Reese, Robert Goldin, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, Adam P. Gibson, Vincent P. Wallace. 'Terahertz pulsed imaging of freshly excised human colonic tissues', Phys. Med. Biol., Vol. 56, pp. 4333-4353, 2011.

  8. WJR: Yiwen Sun, Ming Yiu Sy, Yi-Xiang J Wang, Anil T Ahuja, Yuan-Ting Zhang and Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'A promising diagnostic method: terahertz pulsed imaging and spectroscopy', World J Radiol, Vol. 3(3), pp. 55-65, 2011.

  9. IPSE: Yang Chen, Yiwen Sun, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Total variation deconvolution for terahertz pulsed imaging', Inverse Problems in Science & Engineering, Vol. 19, Issue 2, pp. 223- 232, 2011.

  10. Bio Phys J: Yiwen Sun, Yuanting Zhang and Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Investigating antibody interactions with polar liquids using terahertz pulsed spectroscopy', Biophysical Journal, Vol. 100, Issue 1, pp. 225-231, 5 Jan. 2011.

  11. JTST: Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Practical considerations for in vivo THz imaging', invited paper for J. Terahertz Science and Technology, Vol. 3, No. 4, Dec. 2010.

  12. PMB: Stanley Sy, Shengyang Huang, Yi-Xiang J Wang, Jun Yu, Anil T Ahuja, Yuan-ting Zhang and Emma Pickwell-MacPherson 'Terahertz spectroscopy of liver cirrhosis: investigating the origin of contrast', Physics and Medicine in Biology, Phys. Med. Biol., Vol. 55, pp. 7587-7596, 2010.

  13. Bio-OPEX: W. C. Kan, W S Lee, W. H. Cheung and Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Terahertz pulsed imaging of knee cartilage', Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 1, Issue 3, pp. 967-974, 2010.

  14. EJAP: MYM Wong, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, J.C.Y. Cheng and YT Zhang, 'The effects of pre-ejection period on the cuffless systolic blood pressure estimation using', European Journal of Applied Physiology. (Accepted Aug. 2010, online ahead of print).

  15. FNL: Yang Chen, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Improving extraction of impulse response functions using stationary wavelet shrinkage in terahertz reflection imaging', Fluctuation and Noise Letters, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 1-8, 2010.

  16. PMB: Caroline B. Reid, Adam P. Gibson, Jeremy C. Hebden, Jan G. Laufer, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson and Vincent P. Wallace, 'Accuracy and resolution of THz reflection spectroscopy for medical imaging', Physics and Medicine in Biology, Vol. 55, pp. 4825-4838, 2010.

  17. J Physiol Meas: MYM Wong, Emma Pickwell-MacPherson and YT Zhang, 'Contactless and continuous monitoring of heart rate based on photoplethysmography on a mattress', Physiol. Meas., Vol. 31, pp. 1065-1074, 2010.

  18. OPEX: Yang Chen, Shengyang Huang, and Emma Pickwell-MacPherson, 'Frequency-wavelet domain deconvolution for terahertz reflection imaging and spectroscopy,' Opt. Express, Vol. 18, pp. 1177-1190, Jan. 2010.

Link to Terahertz Imaging and Spectroscopy


Link to IRMMW-THZ 2015 Conference