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3D Beamshaping for Laser Based-Manufacturing (EPS2022/13)


   School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

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  Dr R Carter, Prof J D Shephard  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Lasers are an integral part of modern high value manufacturing systems. One of the key advantages of lasers over more conventional tools is their flexibility; both in terms of scale (from ships to microchips) and in the ability to changing the “processing head” i.e. laser beam on demand. 

Significant progress has been made increase the flexibility of these lasers by shaping the laser beam i.e. to change the energy profile used for manufacturing. However, these beam-shaping processes only work in 2D – i.e. at the focus. In this project we will explore the possibilities for shaping beams in 3D – i.e. in a focal volume – which represents a huge advantage for applications in drilling, glass processing and surgery.

This PhD will be supervised by Dr Richard Carter and Prof Jon Shephard who are both working in the High Power Laser Applications group which drives forward laser-based manufacturing research. It will be associated with a £600k 3 year funded research project (EP/V006312/1) which has a full time post doc working in related areas and will be housed in the new multi-million pound National Robotarium as part of the High Precision Manufacturing Labs.

Our research is part of the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences (IPaQS), a centre of excellence in photonics consisting of 150 researchers working across photonic physics, engineering photonics and quantum sciences, with extensive laser laboratory, cleanroom and analytical facilities.

We are proud that Heriot-Watt University has very recently received the 2021 Queen’s Anniversary Prize for pioneering research in the frontier science of photonics. The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are the highest national Honours available to the UK’s further and higher education sector. Heriot-Watt University was selected for its ground-breaking and sustained research that has helped advance photonics technology in the last five decades. This PhD project will contribute to this legacy.

How to Apply

1. Important Information before you Apply

When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:

(a) in ‘Study Option’

You will need to select ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Postgraduate Research’. ‘Programme’ presents you with a drop-down menu. Choose Chemistry PhD, Physics PhD, Chemical Engineering PhD, Mechanical Engineering PhD, Bio-science & Bio-Engineering PhD or Electrical PhD as appropriate and select September 2022 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)

(b) in ‘Research Project Information’

You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project. Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the potential supervisor’s name.

This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.

Please note that once you have submitted your application, it will not be considered until you have uploaded your CV and transcripts.


Funding Notes

There are a number of scholarships available which offer funding from between 3 and 3.5 years at an average stipend rate of £15,000 per year.
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