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  Doctor of Engineering (EngD) - Beam steering systems for remote sensing applications (Fraunhofer and Heriot-Watt University)

   School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

  Prof D Reid,  Friday, May 31, 2024  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project seeks to investigate novel beam steering techniques for use in remote sensing applications. Remote sensing covers a wide range of industrial applications, such as automotive Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR), over-the-fence pollutant monitoring, stand-off chemical sensing, underwater imaging, and many more. Free space optical communications also has a need for robust beam steering. All of these applications have a requirement to scan a laser beam across a field of interest, and often, the beam steering opto-mechanics is the limiting factor when it comes to system miniaturization. Over the course of this EngD the student shall investigate non-mechanical beam steering such as phased-array and wavefront manipulation, compact Risley prisms and micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) based approaches. Collaboration with the Photonic Instrumentation Group at Heriot Watt University will look at application of breakthrough photonic concepts in real-world sensor prototypes. The work will involve collaboration with end-user companies on industrial research projects. The diverse range of technologies to be investigated, the collaboration with end user companies and the applied nature all make this an EngD rather than a PhD project.

The student shall be mainly working in one of Fraunhofer’s optical labs. Some computer modelling, instrumentation control software development and data analysis shall be required. There will be numerous opportunities to see systems they develop tested in real world sensor systems in different environments. There will be opportunities to work with Fraunhofer’s collaborators and customers in multi-partner project teams. There will be the requirement to participate in project meetings, field testing and demonstrations – exposing the student to a broad range of experiences. We expect the student to be based in the Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow – where our labs and offices are based.

Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We would be happy to have informal discussions with candidates about flexible working options.

CDT Essential Criteria

A Masters level degree (MEng, MPhys, MSc) at 2.1 or equivalent.

Desire to work collegiately, be involved in outreach, undertake taught and professional skills study.

Project Essential Criteria

Desire for hands-on laboratory based R&D, interest in computer control of instrumentation, interest in developing systems for field testing.

Project Desirable Criteria

Basic optical design, computer literate with programming skills.


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, and attend outreach training.

Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This four-year project (including CDT taught courses) is funded jointly by the EPSRC CDT in Applied Photonics, managed by Heriot-Watt University and the industrial sponsor. The first year annual stipend is the UKRI minimum stipend, the stipend in years 2, 3 and 4 includes an enhancement from the industrial sponsor. A substantial consumables and equipment budget is provided by a concurrent EPSRC grant. Travel funding for conference presentations is also available.

Register your interest for this project