In this project we seek to develop a multi-mode microneedle sensor that can measure electrical properties and physical tissue changes concurrently. Such changes are of great importance in diseases such as Motor Neuron Disease, inflammation and peripheral artery disease. Our micro-needle sensors will be fabricated by: (i) laser machining of suitable starting structures, including fine capillary tubes; and (ii) subsequent attachment of a sensing membrane and deposition of electrodes. The fabricated micro-needle sensors will be placed precisely into skin tissue to sense either electronic signals (e.g. nerve impulses) or physical tissue changes (indicative of capillary blood flow or inflammation changes). With these combined approaches, this project establishes a route towards multi- measurement diagnostic/monitoring capabilities with minimally invasive probes.
The PhD project will focus on the manufacturing aspects of these microneedle sensors, as part of a multi-disciplinary team working across Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities to design, manufacture and test these devices. The team involves manufacturing, microneedle and tissue mechanics experts at Heriot-Watt, together with a clinical neurophysiology expert at the University of Edinburgh.
Candidates should have a background in physics or engineering (a good knowledge of lasers and photonics is ideal but not essential). They must be flexible and willing to learn new skills and knowledge in this multi-disciplinary project.
The project is funded by internal university funds. Project specific equipment and materials etc is provided via an associated EPSRC project. A full stipend of £15,285 per annum (tax free) is payable.