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Industry Sponsored PhD (BAE Systems) New Photonic Sensors for Monitoring Large Composite Structures


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Thursday, March 31, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Southampton United Kingdom Data Analysis Electrical Engineering Electronic Engineering Manufacturing Engineering Mechanical Engineering Optical Physics Materials Science

About the Project

Supervisory Team:  Christopher Holmes – University of Southampton,

Janice Barton – University of Bristol,

Khosru Rahman - BAE Systems,

Stuart Kitching – BAE Systems

Project description

Composite materials have revolutionised engineering, from highly efficient wind turbine blades that generate our electricity to composite wing aircraft that have significantly reduced the carbon footprint of flight. This PhD, supported by BAE Systems, develops advanced optical monitoring of composite material to tackle decarbonisation and sustainability of engineered structures.

Recent collaboration between the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton and the Composites Institute at the University of Bristol has developed a new type of optical sensor [1]. The sensor is based upon an ultra-thin glass sheet (50um thick) that can be connected to regular optical fibre and embedded into composite material. It provides unique in-plane and through-thickness strain information without compromising mechanical integrity of the composite in which it is placed.

In this PhD you will have the opportunity to develop this new platform and grow your skills in optical fibre fabrication and composite manufacture. You will collaborate across disciplines, with Teams from the University of Southampton and the University of Bristol developing technology that offers routes for tailored composite manufacture and assess fragility to impact and environmental events.

[1] Christopher Holmes, Mike Godfrey, Daniel John Bull, Janice Dulieu-Barton, ‘Real-time through-thickness and in-plane strain measurement in carbon fibre reinforced polymer composites using planar optical Bragg gratings’, Optics and Lasers in Engineering, Volume 133, 106111, (2020).

The PhD programme

Our world-leading research centre is a hive of activity with over 200 staff and students working on cutting-edge research to provide innovative solutions for real life problems in manufacturing, communication technology, defence, health care, renewable energy and the environment.

We are looking for the photonics pioneers of the future to join our vibrant research team and work alongside our world-class researchers to make history. Our PhD programme offers a solid start to any career in optics, photonics or engineering, whether you are planning to stay in academia or work in industry.

Candidate Requirements:

Applications would be welcome from candidates holding good degrees (1st class, 2:1 honours or MSc) in physics, materials science, mechanical or electronic engineering. Experimental skills are essential. In addition to the iCASE PhD studentship Award, this position includes an annual allowance to enable attendance at international conferences. This post is open to UK and EU citizens only, due to standard EPSRC eligibility requirements

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31st March 2022 for standard admissions.

Funding: full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

To apply for this studentship please submit an application for a PhD in the Optoelectronics Research Centre to the University of Southampton including the fact that you wish to do a PhD within Dr Christopher Holmes. Please see the following address for more details: https://www.orc.soton.ac.uk/how-to-apply/

Applications should include:

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page

For further information please contact:


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