University of Edinburgh Featured PhD Programmes
University of Southampton Featured PhD Programmes
University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes

Fractional-order control for precision mechatronic systems

School of Engineering

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
Dr S S Aphale , Dr A ALIAKBAR JAMSHIDI FAR Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Integer-order control schemes aimed at high-precision positioning performance of mechatronic systems have been extensively researched thus far. Recent research suggests that fractional-order control schemes hold huge potential in expanding the envelope of performance for these mechatronic systems. This research aims at investigating and effectively exploiting the potential of fractional-order system theory to design high-bandwidth control schemes that deliver precise positioning at the micro/ nanometer scales.

The candidate will start by gaining a good understanding of the underlying linear and nonlinear dynamics that govern the performance of typical high-precision positioning systems (micro/nanopositioners). A review of existing literature should yield in a set of useable models for the linear dynamics as well as the nonlinear hysteresis and creep experienced by nanopositioners. Open-loop experiments to generate similar models used for designing and simulating proposed control techniques will be performed. A thorough understanding of fractional-order system theory followed by a critical review of existing relevant literature will be carried out to expose gaps in current knowledge and identify promising avenues of control design. Effective and robust control schemes designed to deliver high-bandwidth, high-precision positioning performance will be designed. These designs will first undergo rigorous testing via simulations followed by experimental validation on one of the nanopositioning platform available at the Centre for Applied Dynamics Research, University of Aberdeen. Finally, stability analysis, investigations regarding the robustness of proposed schemes under varying parameter regimes as well as performance optimization will be carried out. This research will end with a list of lessons learned as well as possible areas of future focus.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Electrical, Mechatronics, Control Engineering or Applied Mathematics.

It is essential that the successful applicant has a background in Understanding of basic modelling and control concepts, MATLAB / SIMULINK experience essential.

A strong background in control/applied mathematics is a must. Preferably, the prospective candidate must have a good understanding and experience in working with:

1. Linear and Nonlinear control
and at least one of the following concepts:
2. Fractional-order control
3. Optimization
4. Differential Equations
MATLAB and SIMULINK, will be used extensively throughout this project and LabView will be used for experiments as and when required.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘Self-funded’ as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

When applying please ensure all required documents are attached:

• All degree certificates and transcripts (Undergraduate AND Postgraduate MSc-officially translated into English where necessary)
• Detailed CV

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr S Aphale ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

This project is advertised in relation to the research areas of the discipline of Electrical Engineering. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for Tuition fees, living expenses and maintenance. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting THERE IS NO FUNDING ATTACHED TO THIS PROJECT.


San-Millan, A., Feliu-Batlle, V. & Aphale, SS. (2018). 'Fractional order implementation of Integral Resonant Control – A nanopositioning application'. ISA Transactions, vol. 82, pp. 223-231.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.