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  Doctor of Engineering (EngD) - Remote, range-resolved ultra-violet Raman spectroscopy for safety in hydrogen fuel and nuclear industries (Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics and University of Strathclyde)

   School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

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

About the Project

The detection and monitoring of substances at range is extremely important to several industrial production and safety processes. This program will be focused on remote gas sensing in air using Raman scattering for safety in nuclear and hydrogen fuel industries. Raman scattering signal, albeit weak, provides a unique signature of chemical substance, making it an excellent tool for substance identification.

The strength of the Raman signal increases with a shorter excitation wavelength. Therefore, combining UV Raman spectroscopy with single photon detectors creates an excellent technology for remote gas monitoring applications. The project will develop a novel remote gas sensing system platform using state-of-the-art technologies in light sources, spectral analysis, and single-photon detectors.

The development will include optimisation of operational wavelength range to maximise technology sensitivity, study of Raman spectra of different molecules in a desired spectral range and designing a suitable spectrometer system. As a result, deployable prototypes will be tested for the realistic end-user scenario. Such an endeavour would represent a highly timely, novel and disruptive achievement. Our use of single-photon detectors also plays an essential role in the UK Quantum Technologies agenda, and will result in a timely and highly innovative early industrial application of these devices.

The successful candidate will be part of Fraunhofer UK sensing team led by Dr David Stothard and based in the heart of Glasgow City Innovation District.

CDT Essential Criteria

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

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

Project Essential Criteria

First or upper-second class degree in Physics.

Understanding of optics and spectroscopy.

An ability to review relevant pre-existing literature.

A systems-based approach to problem-solving.

Desire to undertake an experimental project encompassing optics; lasers; interfacing to instrumentation; mechanical and electronic design and fabrication (the appropriate knowledge will be supplied); system integration; analysis of results.

To be practical and self-motivated.

A strong desire to interact with external end-users of the developed technology.

Project Desirable Criteria

Pre-existing knowledge of interfacing, computer programming (MATLAB, LabView, Python etc.)

Computer interfacing and experimental control are desirable; we are relaxed regarding the particular programming language used but Python has garnered considerable traction within the centre.

An interest in electronics and instrumentation.

Once the system is developed, there is scope for considerable in-field evaluation of resulting technologies. A desire to embrace experimental validation in such an environment would also be desirable.


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.

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