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Development of novel fibre-based thermometers for harsh environments

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Supervisor: Prof Francesco Poletti
Co-supervisor: Dr Eric Numkam Fokoua, Dr Joris Lousteau

Project description

When immersed in a harsh environment, i.e in ionizing radiation, silica glass, one of the most transparent materials known to date, quickly becomes opaque. Consequently, light coupled into a silica optical fiber can no longer propagate, completely debilitating the integration and deployment of fibers and fiber-based sensors in environments such as nuclear power plants, large experimental facilities (i.e. CERN) and even in space. Although made of the same silica material, hollow-core optical fibers circumvent this problem by guiding light in a vacuum or air-filled core. They are therefore an excellent platform for a range of fiber-based sensing devices for deployment in harsh environments.

In this project, we will design, fabricate and characterise a hollow-core phosphor tipped fibre-optic thermometer with enhanced immunity to high gamma radiation fluxes. Suitable fibres will be developed to operate in conjunction with the selected phosphors. We will also investigate the feasibility of employing different coatings materials to extend the range of temperatures that can be. This work will be in close collaboration with our partners at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) where the phosphors will be developed and the thermometers characterized.

The successful student will work within the ORC’s world class team at the forefront of optical fiber research and will have full access to state-of-the-art research facilities both here and at NPL. They will develop a wide range of highly employable skills from theoretical fiber design to fabrication and characterization and ultimately integrating the fibers into working device prototypes.
Please contact Dr Eric Numkam Fokoua () for informal inquiries.

The PhD programme

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) PhD comprises a solid education for a research career. The structured first year involves attending our training programme running in parallel with carrying out your research project. This provides a smooth transition from your degree course towards the more open-ended research that takes place in the following years under the guidance of your project supervisors. We expect the vast majority of our students to present their work at international conferences and to write papers in leading academic journals as their research progresses. Students will emerge from the PhD with skills at the forefront of future photonics research and will benefit from the many opportunities to interact with the wider community of PhD students across the Southampton Campus through academic, sporting and cultural events.

The ORC is one of the world’s leading photonics research institutes. Its Microstructure Optical Fibre group has made pioneering advances and ground-breaking contributions in specialty optical fibers, which now have widespread applications. A PhD here has enabled our past graduates to make successful careers in academia, in national laboratories, and as scientists or business leaders in industry.

Key facts

Entry requirements: first or upper second-class degree or equivalent

Closing date: Applications are considered all year round

Duration: typically three years (full-time)

Funding: full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. . Overseas students who have secured external funding are welcome to apply.

Assessment: nine-and 18-month reports and viva voce determine progression to PhD; progression reports, viva voce and thesis examination.

Start date: typically October


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