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Doctor of Engineering (EngD): Advanced holography for augmented reality head-up displays (Ceres Holographics Ltd and University of Dundee)

School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

Edinburgh United Kingdom Electrical Engineering Optical Physics Physics

About the Project

The EngD is an alternative to a traditional PhD aimed at students wanting a career in industry. Students spend about 75% of their time working directly with a company in addition to receiving advanced-level training from a broad portfolio of technical and business courses. On completion students are awarded the PhD-equivalent EngD.


The candidate will have, or expect to obtain, a 1st or 2:1 honours degree in physics or a related subject. A background in optics or applied optics would be an advantage.

The successful applicant will have good communication skills, both verbal and written to enable them to work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team. The ideal candidate will also be keen to develop skills to theoretically simulate, design and build optical experiments and analyse data.

Programming skills for simulating experiments and analysing data as well as demonstrable prior experience with optical experiments would be an advantage.

The project is fully funded for four years including fees and a stipend for eligible students. successful applicants will be part of a small yearly cohort that will meet for networking, technical and MBA courses as well as professional skills workshops.

More information on the course programme, funding and support can be found by visiting the programme section of our website, or getting in touch with our administration team.


Ceres Holographics is at the forefront of volume hologram production in photo-polymerisable film. This has wide ranging applications, including augmented reality head-up displays for the automotive market. Such displays can be used for displaying driver and traffic information on the windshield of a car. While currently marketed technology displays the image only 2.5m in front of the driver, there is a high demand for a device that can project an augmented reality information, which appears to be 10-200m in front of the car, overlaying the driver’s view of the landscape.

Significant challenges have to be overcome to realise the commercial potential of this technique, most notably the unacceptable size of such systems created by current technology. Ceres Holographics has the unique expertise to write custom high precision volume holograms in a transparent photo-polymerisable film. This allows it to selectively diffract red, green, and blue laser light from a hologram in the windscreen, thereby creating a digital virtual image for the driver in a much smaller system. However, as with any form of laser imaging, the long coherence length causes speckle that is unacceptable to the image quality. There are currently no sufficiently good solutions to this problem. This project specifically aims to overcome laser-speckle to create a high quality augmented reality projection that can be integrated into a car. To project images over a larger field-of-view, the research engineer candidate must devise an optical system that optimises both the projector optics and the holographic element. At present, there is no viable method to produce digital augmented reality images within a car.

The successful candidate will investigate several proposed solutions for their efficacy and develop novel alternative methods for to enable viable augmented reality via holography with superior quality.


The CDT in Applied Photonics provides a supportive, collaborative environment which values inclusivity and is committed to creating and sustaining a positive and supportive environment for all our applicants, students, and staff. For further information, please see our ED&I statement Forming a supportive cohort is an important part of the programme and our students take part in various professional skills workshops, including Responsible Research and Innovation workshops and attend Outreach Training.

Funding Notes

Funding for this position may vary depending on the nationality/status of the applicant.

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