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Autonomous wireless optical energy harvesting systems for smart homes and indoor applications

Project Description



Smart homes and buildings are becoming more popular and widely deployed. One main attractive feature in them is their ability to save energy and reduce carbon footprint via energy harvesting and powering devices autonomously. Devices, such as mobile phones, and sensors can be charged/powered using the unutilized energy in the surrounding environment if proper and efficient energy harvesting techniques are exploited.

Energy harvesting allows sensors and devices to be placed anywhere without having to worry about easy access to electricity mains or continuous change of batteries. This would be an appealing technology in indoor applications where users have portable devices, sensors, or equipment that have wireless power capability. Examples include (but are not limited to) smart homes, offices, the growing market of surgical devices requiring flexible cable-free operation, and applications with wearable sensors.


This PhD will focus on proposing the use of LED-based light sources primarily used for lighting in indoor applications for energy harvesting purposes. The LED-based sources of illumination not only have the potential to be used as a source of energy for harvesting applications, but also as sources of information in optical wireless IoT. The PhD student will investigate if the solar PV cells used for the energy harvesting system can also be used as the optical detector in an optical wireless receiver.

The research will also involve the design and modelling of modulation schemes for achieving fast and efficient data communication simultaneously with maximised energy harvesting in a typical indoor channel. In addition, the PhD student will investigate suitable optical structures for the transmitter and the receiver in order to optimise data transfer, facilitate alignment and simplify receiver design.

The project will need a good knowledge base in optical communications and will involve system modelling and simulation using appropriate software such as MATLAB (or similar). Following performance validation by software simulation, the PhD student will be expected to design, build and test a hardware prototype to substantiate the proposed outcome.

The research also directly addresses Goals 7, 11 and 12 of UN SDGs; namely Affordable and Clean Energy, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Responsible Production and Consumption.


The successful applicant will normally hold a minimum UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered.

The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate a solid educational background in communication systems. The successful candidate should have strong self-motivation and dedicated passion for research, in addition to the willingness for team-working and the ability to deliver research outcomes to meet deadlines.

The following are also desirable:
• Experience of power electronics and wireless power transfer systems
• Strong mathematical background
• Experience with MATLAB/Simulink
• Practical skills with building and testing electronic circuits
• Experience in publishing research outcomes in conferences and journals

Research Strategy and Research Profile

Glasgow Caledonian University’s research is framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, We address the Goals via three societal challenge areas of Inclusive Societies, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Environments. For more.

This project is part of the research activity of the following Research Groups –
• Cyber Security, Networking and Communications (CSNC) research group
• Smart Connectivity and Sensing research group

How to Apply

Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. Applicants should complete the online GCU Research Application Form, stating the Project Title and Reference Number (listed above).

Please also attach to the online application, copies of academic qualifications (including IELTS if required), 2 references and any other relevant documentation.

Please send any enquiries regarding your application to: Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview.

For more information on How to apply and the online application form please go to

Dr Salma Mohamed –

Funding Notes

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