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Advanced Optical Fibre Sensors for Real-Time Environmental Monitoring Applications

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Reference Number: KKC-2018-PhD-2

Project Summary:
This project will focus on the design and implementation of advanced optical fibre-based sensors for environmental monitoring applications such as quality of fresh water and air. The sensors will be based on specialty optical fibres integrated with advanced nano-materials such as graphene and carbon nanotubes to achieve real-time sensing applications with high sensitivity and selectivity of targeted measurands.

Specific Requirements of the Project


The ideal candidate will have a good honor degree in Electronic Engineering/Engineering Science/Applied Physics. Specific qualifications and experience of the candidate in electronic device fabrications and material processing will be a bonus. The student involved in this project will be trained up and challenged with a multi-disciplinary environment and can have beneficial outcomes for all researchers involved. The project will help the student involved to explore his/her multi-disciplinary skills and improve communication skills in presenting complex scientific and engineering ideas to a wider audience. In addition, the project output integrates research, knowledge exchange and aims at the forthcoming REF. The student will get an opportunity to improve his/her multi-disciplinary skills and engage in knowledge exchange. The proposed supervisory team is a part of the Elite “Advanced materials and Surface Engineering Research Centre” and this project will produce a highly skilled and employable research student.

Project Aims and Objectives


The role of optical fibres as a medium for information transfer has found many applications in the world today. One of these applications is on environmental sensors, where slight perturbations in the ambient environment can be remotely detected through modulation of light at selected points along the optical fibre cable. These perturbations could exist in the form of variations in refractive index, temperature or strain. This project will focus on the design and implementation of advanced optical fibre-based sensors, consisting of specialty fibres such as long period fibre gratings (LPFGs) and modal interferometers (MDIs), which are individually fabricated from photonic crystal fibres (PCFs) or multimode fibres (MMFs), integrated with carbon nano-materials. The integration process involved the deposition of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene on specialty fibres. These carbon nano-materials with their unique properties modified the sensing scheme of the conventional sensors, allowing them to gain immunity from certain free spectral range limitations, extend their operation range and also present the potential for multi-parameter sensing. With specific functionalization of the nano-materials coated on the fibres, high sensitivity with high selectivity of targeted measurands are expected. These advanced fibre sensors could not only able to continuously measure variations in their ambient environment while only acquiring errors mainly from source power fluctuations, but also exhibited comparable performances in terms of their stability, repeatability and reproducibility.

This project will comprise of challenging aspects both in terms of theoretical studies and experimentation. However, the gains we can achieve from here will be of importance to many in the scientific arena as well as the industry in general. Supported by the strong foundation of nano-material research at MMU, the supervisory team comprises of multi-disciplinary experts in the field of optics, nano-materials, as well as material analysis. As such we are confident of achieving the stated goals of our project and look forward to further external grant bidding ahead.

Project is open to: Home/EU and overseas

Informal enquiries can be made to
Dr Kin Kee Chow
Tel ext. 1632 email

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