(a) How does the project fit with the Imaging, Sensing and Analysis scope of Centre?
The project is focused on developing new sensor technology for Hydrogen: an increasingly important – yet
notoriously difficult to detect – molecule.
(b) What are the key academic and industrial research questions the project aims to answer?
FCAP have already developed novel stand-off H2 detection systems based upon a combination of pulsed
lasers and single-photon detector instrumentation. The performance demonstrated is impressive, but the
embodiment of such high-cost, high-complexity technology precludes application in many of the scenarios
which need it most. The key question is therefore: can lasers be displaced by far more compact, cost-
effective and energy efficient UV LED sources? How might such LEDs be optimized for this application?
(c) Where is the novelty of the project, and in what industrial / academic context?
Hydrogen detection by optical means is in its infancy, and yet has already attracted significant interest from
large industrial interests. Such end users care about not only performance, but the practical application of
this technology. We have already used our laser-based instrumentation in never-before achieved
measurement applications, and fully expect LED-based devices to enjoy similar impact. The combination of
bespoke deep-UV LED arrays and single-photon detection in the context stand-off molecular detection is
(d) What is the methodology to be used, and what will the student actually be doing? We wil develop stand-off Raman instrumentation for H2 detection. The candidate will be involved at all parts of the development cycyle, from optical modelling, design and experimentation; semiconductor design and interfacing; digital control & instrumentation; and system integration. This will draw deeply on experimental skills (electronic, laboratory and mechanical design) and the knowledge base of the candidate. This is a highly applied project, and there is opportunity for the candidate to interact with potential industrial consumers of this technology (e) What makes this a doctoral thesis project rather than a shorter piece of work? The proposed programme encompasses a wholesale departure from our previous technological emboduments, and requires a bottom-up redesign of all of the subsystems which comprise the integrated device. Each one of these subsystems represents an interesting challenge in itself, and the resulting thesis could be subdivided by chapter based upon each subsystem. That the project requires in-depth investigation of basic physical principles; mechanical, electronic and optical design; and integration make this ideally suited to a doctoral thesis in length, and the highly applied aspects of the work make it particularly well-suited to the Eng.D scheme.
- A Masters level degree (MEng, MPhys, MSc) at 2.1 or equivalent.
- Desire to work collegiately, be involved in outreach, undertake taught and professional skills study.
- First of upper-Second class degree in Physics
- Understanding of optical and semiconductor physics
- An ability to review relevant pre-existing literature
- Desire to undertake an experimental project which encompasses optics; lasers; interfacing to instrumentation; mechanical and electronic design and fabrication (the appropriate knowledge will be supplied); system integration; analysis of results;
- Strong desire to develop and interface to digital electronics subsystems
- A strong desire to interact with external end-users of the developed technology
- Pre-existing knowledge of interfacing, computer programming (matlab, labview, python, etc.)
The candidate will be working as part of a team operating between the Institute of Photonics, University of
Strathclyde; and the wider Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics. We are a highly motivated team who
combine academic excellence with advanced engineering principles in order to bring benefit to the UK
economy and its citizens. As such, we enjoy excellent links with industrial partners and the candidate will be
able to experience translation of their technology from research laboratory to end use
We are a professional R&D organisation, and as such maintain core hours of operation. However, we are
flexible in our approach and welcome such discussions