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Doctor of Engineering (EngD): Optical Fibre Sensing for Offshore Renewable Energy (Fraunhofer)

  • Full or part time
    Dr W N MacPherson
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, December 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project not available to non UK/EU applicants.

Project Description:
Distributed optical fibre sensing is a topic of great industrial relevance. Exploiting different forms backscatter from optical fibre to measure the local environment at any position in the fibre has enabled the development of perimeter sensing, cable monitoring, oil and gas pipeline/ well monitoring and smart structures.

Fraunhofer CAP have had recent projects on combining distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) with distributed temperature sensing (DTS) to create a multifunctional sensor system. Working with EMEC, Fraunhofer CAP have been able to demonstrate these techniques in marine power cables to detect power cable strumming on a live dynamic umbilical for the first time.

There is much to be done in the optimisation of the data acquisition and analysis. There is a need to find the limits of the DAS/DTS systems – can we turn installed power cables into distributed microphones? How accurately can we determine cable burial depth using DTS combined with DAS? We also want to consider other methods such as Brillouin scattering to measure strain and temperature. Modelling and experimental activity would be involved in this industrial research project. Active involvement in collaborative projects will be expected and we will aim to trial sensor systems on installed offshore cabling. There will also be the opportunity to explore other types of fibre sensors such as fibre Bragg gratings and long period gratings.

Candidate Information:

Essential Criteria:
Numerate and comfortable with data analysis
Equally happy to carry out hands on lab work alongside software development and data analysis

Desirable Criteria:
Working with optical fibres

Company Information:
The student will be working at the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in Glasgow. We have a number of laser optics research laboratories and it is where we have a breadboard distributed optical sensing system that will be a key part of the hardware the student will become familiar with. We also have a range of fibre processing equipment – including fibre splicers, flame brushing and laser inscription capabilities that will be explored in order to fabricate other types of fibre sensors. The student will join an existing cohort of students within Fraunhofer CAP and will be expected to work with researchers and other students alike where required. Fraunhofer CAP students get exposure to industrial research projects and get to see photonics progress from the laboratory table to field demonstration. There is also a weekly Fraunhofer CAP journal club in which the student would be expected to participate.
The academic supervision will be shared by Dr William Macpherson at Heriot Watt and Dr Brian Sellar at Edinburgh. This reflects the cross disciplinary nature of the project combining optical sensor development with marine renewable energy applications.

William MacPherson is an Associate Professor in Physics and a member of the Applied Optics and Photonics research group in the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences. His research interests are centred around the application of optical and fibre-optic techniques for measurement and instrumentation. This work includes high bandwidth temperature and pressure sensors for aerodynamic and explosion monitoring, novel fibres for structural monitoring, vibration and acceleration measurement, and studies into potential sensing applications of novel microstructured fibres. Many of these projects have been in collaboration with industry (such as QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce, Land Rover, Image Automation), and other Universities (including Oxford, Bath, Sheffield, Aston, Birmingham, and Leeds Universities).

Brian Sellar and his team work within the Institute for Energy Systems (IES) at the University of Edinburgh at the interface of industry and academia in the area of marine sensor development, sensor-system integration and data processing for offshore renewable energy (ORE) applications. Capturing and exploiting novel and high-resolution datasets of significant value to the ORE sector (e.g., for system design and system operation) the team has strong relationships with companies and international research groups and has a leading role in multiple internationally collaborative projects (e.g., the €5M EC H2020 Realtide project and the OCEANERA-NET Resourcecode project). The student will benefit from engaging with this applied measurements team and the wider multidisciplinary members of the IES - comprising 25 Staff, 25 Postdocs and a PhD community of over 75 international students.

Flexible Working:
Happy to have discussions on flexible working.

Funding Notes

This 4-year (including CDT taught-courses) project is funded jointly by the EPSRC CDT in Applied Photonics, run by Heriot-Watt University and the Industrial Sponsor. The annual stipend is £20,777, which 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.

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