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EngD or PhD Hybrid Optical-Digital Coherence Tomography

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Tom Vettenburg
    Prof D Reid
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Optos Plc is leading provider of diagnostic devices for the eyecare professional. Research and innovation at Optos has led to ultra-wide field-of-view devices that facilitate accurate diagnoses. Imaging of the retina at the back of the human eye is essential for a timely diagnosis of diseases such as macular degeneration. Of growing importance here is optical coherence tomography (OCT), a technique that enables three-dimensional depth ‘sections’ of the retina. However, aberrations blur the peripheral of the field-of-view; precluding the detection of some diseases in an early stage. This project aims to overcome this limitation.

The aim of this project is to develop a hybrid optical-digital imaging technique that is tolerant to the inherent optical imperfections in the eye and imaging optics. The first objective of this project is to overcome the aberrations introduced by the anterior segment of the human eye. A hybrid, optical-digital, approach will be investigated, specifically for wide-field imaging. The second objective is to develop the first Hybrid Optical-Digital OCT system, exploiting the depth information to obtain sharper lateral resolution. The main challenge in this project is deriving the optimal phase-modulation for the hybrid imaging system. This will require accurate modelling of complex optical-digital system and a detailed analysis of different options. A secondary challenge is to strike the optimal balance between light-efficiency and diffusion-suppression in the hybrid OCT system. Finally, with an eye on commercialisation, a method must be developed to compute spatially-variant deconvolutions in real time.

The development of this first hybrid optical-digital OCT device will enable high resolution over the entire field-of-view. Its development will also lead to an improved knowledge of birefringence in the retina and other optical properties of the human eye. The outcomes of this project directly translate to opportunities for commercialisation by Optos Plc.

Candidate Information

This project may proceed as either an EngD or PhD project, depending on the specific experience and interests of the candidate. Further information about this is available from Dr. Tom Vettenburg

The EngD is an alternative to a traditional PhD aimed at students wanting a career in industry. Students spend about 75% of their time working directly with a company in addition to receiving advanced-level training from a broad portfolio of technical and business courses. On completion students are awarded the PhD-equivalent EngD.

Essential Criteria

The successful candidate should:
• hold, or be close to completing, a degree (ideally MSc) in physics, optics, or related discipline,
• be keen to develop the skills to theoretically simulate, design and build optical experiments in the lab and analyse data,
• have good communication skills, both verbally and written.
• be capable of analysing and interpreting experimental data
• enjoy working independently on a unique and challenging problem, yet capable of interacting well with a multidisciplinary team
• have good communication skills, both verbally and written

Desirable Criteria

The ideal candidate would also have:
• solid programming skills for simulations of experiments and analysing data,
• demonstrable prior experience with optical experiments.

Working Environment

EngD: The successful candidate will be based at the premises of Optos Plc in Dunfermline, and conduct research within the research and development department of Optos. The project will be supported academically through the University of Dundee. While a student is not expected to spend extended periods of time at the University, some specific experiments may have to be conducted at the physics department in the School of Science and Engineering. Although all of Optos’ research it concentrated here in Scotland, it is a Nikon company with a worldwide customer base. This pairs an outstanding research environment with the experience of working in a global company.

PhD: The candidate will be based mainly at the university; however, extended periods will at Optos will be required to learn about the latest in ophthalmology, and to translate experimental findings and proto-types into complete instruments.

Flexible Research Working
The proposed project can be carried out with a certain degree of flexibility as long as a proper level of commitment and professionalism is provided by the candidate. Specific work arrangements can be discussed with potential candidates in order to meet specific personal needs.

Optos Plc is an Equal Opportunities Employer that values and is committed to diversity in its workforce. The University of Dundee has been awarded HR Excellence in Research and received an Athena SWAN award, reflecting its commitment to equal opportunities, family friendly policies, and creating an inclusive working environment.

Funding Notes

This 4-year (including CDT taught-courses) project is funded jointly by Ceres Holographics and by the CDT in Applied Photonics, run by Heriot-Watt University. This academic supervisor for the project is based at the University of Dundee. The annual stipend for a EngD project is £20,777 or for PhD project £16,277.. A substantial consumables and equipment budget is provided by a concurrent EPSRC grant. Travel funding for conference presentations is also available.
The successful applicant will be a full-time registered student of the University of Dundee as well as a non-graduating student of Heriot-Watt University.

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