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Doctor of Engineering (EngD) Intelligent and directed laser-based spectroscopy(Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd)

School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

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Prof D Reid , Prof S Marshall No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Laser-based spectroscopic techniques - encompassing LIBS, Raman and deep-infrared absorption spectroscopy – offer unprecedented performance for molecular and elemental diagnostics. They are however highly directional – dictated by the spatial properties of the probing laser beam. This is highly beneficial when one is interested in ascertaining the nature of substances with a high degree of spatial resolution – perhaps measuring the composition of single particles contaminating an otherwise clean surface – but identifying and vectoring the beam to such regions of interest is challenging. Such a possibility is becoming ever more practical as the availability of ultra-compact, high-power computer systems increases apace. By combining such directed laser-based spectroscopic techniques with computer-aided vision and beam scanning technology, regions of interest can autonomously be identified and characterised.

An exciting opportunity exists to develop and refine the spectroscopic work of the team at the Fraunhofer centre by combining their laser-based systems with the extensive signal processing expertise of Professor Marshall’s group to generate novel and automated sensing modalities. Through this synergy, the utility and potential of our combined signal processing techniques and laboratory-based sensing systems will be realised. The potency of the resulting technology will then be evaluated in a range of timely and high-value applications such as the scanning and sorting of plastics in recycling, screening and protection in the food and drink industry, medical diagnostics and environmental and contamination monitoring.

This project has a broad technological coverage encompassing two exciting and complementing fields of science – laser physics and spectroscopy, and signal processing and computer-aided vision. In the photonics aspects, the prospective student will be exposed to the laboratory-based experimental laser physics, as well as opto-mechanical, electronic and spectroscopic instrumentation design. In parallel, the same person will be responsible for the development of advanced signal and image processing algorithms (involving for instance fitting the data to the library, spectral and spatial features extraction, object detection and identification based on the gathered information). As such this represents an ideal challenge for the broadly-skilled student but also can be tailored to meet the strengths/aspirations of particular candidates.

This programme will aim to strengthen the link between two complementing fields of study, enabling game-changing applications of spectroscopic systems. The synergistic development of both photonics and signal processing strands will empower implementation of novel and unprecedented solutions in both of these fields.

Candidate Information

Essential Criteria
- broadly-skilled student, capable of grasping and merging two, usually independent, fields of science.
- first- or upper-second degree background in computer science, signal processing or physics
- strong ability and desire to set-up experimental systems and put theory into practice
- strong mathematical and computer programming skills
- Ability to work with as part of a wider team, and demonstrate initiative when tasked with lone working.
- Desire to interact with industrial end-users

Desirable Criteria
- Knowledge of programming languages such as Matlab, Python, C
- Aptitude to program microcontrollers and field programmable gate arrays (FPGA’s)
- Experience in setting up optical and laser-based systems
- Industrial background and experience in executing commercial projects

Working Environment
This applications-focused EngD Programme is centred on combining state-of-the-art signal and image processing techniques with advanced laser-based spectroscopy techniques. The project will be divided between the Centre for Signal and Image Processing (CeSIP) at the University of Strathclyde, led by Professor Stephen Marshall, and the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in Glasgow – the first Fraunhofer centre in the UK.

Such a collaboration plays to the strengths and aspirations of both institutions who share a common desire to contribute to the knowledge-based economy through high-technology innovation. Fraunhofer is the most popular destination for technology graduates in Germany to continue their studies towards doctorate level degrees. It is hoped that there will be the opportunity for the student to spend some time at the sister Fraunhofer institute – The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF in Freiburg, Germany.

Flexible Research Working
We are a professional R&D organisation, and as such maintain core hours of operation. However, we are flexible in our approach and welcome such discussions

Funding Notes

EngD stipend of approximately £20,000, plus fees paid.

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