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Doctor of Engineering (EngD) - Underwater optical wireless communications (Fraunhofer and University of Strathclyde)

   School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

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  Prof D Reid, Dr Iman Tavakkolnia  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Free-space optical communications is an emerging field that is likely to form a key strand of the next generations of communications protocols. The development of micro-LEDs and visible laser diode sources has enabled high speed underwater data transfer. The emergence of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), combined with the expansion of underwater infrastructure including surveying and monitoring demands robust communication channels between systems and control bases.

This project seeks to exploit advances in new optical sources and detectors together with optical design to develop robust optical communications in real world underwater environments. Challenges will include fundamental optical communication channel modelling combined with a system engineering approach to integrate these systems onto practical devices with a view to real world deployment and demonstrations.

Working within the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics alongside researchers, engineers, and other students, the candidate shall have the opportunity to work in multidisciplinary teams within project consortia spanning across academia and industry. Academic support will be provided through University of Strathclyde whose world-leading LiFi Research and Development Centre specialise in optical wireless communication. 

The candidate will be based in the Technology and Innovation Centre where both Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics and LiFi Research and Development Centre are based in. The candidate will gain expertise in a wide range of optical technologies and will work with researchers and engineers in Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics and LiFi Research and Development Centre. Experimental proof-of-concept demonstration is an important aspect of this project, and the candidate will learn details of experimental work and prototyping during this project. The work also involves theoretical and simulation work. Therefore, flexible work is possible.

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


Project Desirable Criteria

Degree in Electrical Engineering with expertise in Digital Communications


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.

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