This project will create a distributed sensor network to measure changes in atmospheric gases (N2O, methane, carbon dioxide, and moisture) in the immediate vicinity of soil and plant foliage. The sensor network takes the form of a sensitised optical fibre grid, interrogated tomographically [1,2], to generate information about spatial gas movement and evolution, so concentration changes can be imaged within an enclosed volume or gas clouds moving across an interface to form a two or three dimensional measure of local gas composition with time.
Imaging can be on small (near soil and leaf surface) or large scale (contiguous tessellation of sensor areas and volumes), enabling a systems approach to crop monitoring over large areas, influenced by local climate and ecosystems.
Applications include optimising crops for food production, and bioenergy, enabling sustainable agriculture, and monitoring ecosystems affected by fracking, landfill, pollution and climate change.
The PhD project will develop a functional prototype sensor array based on optoelectronics and optical fibre sensor instrumentation, that is capable of imaging gas cloud concentration changes. It will provide opportunities to acquire skills in developing photonic and imaging technology making this project an ideal platform to progress onto a post-doctoral research career path. It is suitable for a graduate in Engineering or Physical Science with interests in application of technology to bioscience.
Self-funded students and students who are able to secure funding from external sources such as CONACyT are welcome to apply
Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree (or equiv) in a relevant subject area including physics, material science, or engineering.