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Lidar Frequency Scanning Interferometry system for high-precision volume metrology (WS13)

Project Description

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

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Project information

This project will be run in close collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory and the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford. It will involve the development of a Lidar interferometer (also known as FMCW, Ladar, Frequency Scanning Interferometry ‘FSI’ or Wavelength Scanning Interferometry ‘ WSI’) to measure the shape of large scale aerospace structures, to an accuracy of a few micrometres, at distances of 10 m or more. Current laser trackers measure distance to a retro-reflective sphere placed in contact with the component’s surface – an indirect, labour-intensive and slow process.

The new system will make measurements directly from the component’s surface, which will provide dramatic improvements in coordinate acquisition rate and allow the automation of key processes such as robotic assembly and machining to much higher precision than is currently possible. Additional measurement capability, in particular of surface roughness and vibration, will be implemented at no additional hardware cost, while key system components will be integrated in photonics chips to provide environmental stability and reduced range uncertainty.

The successful applicant will become a member of the £30m EPSRC- and industry-funded Advanced Metrology hub, a collaboration between the universities of Huddersfield (lead), Loughborough, Sheffield and Bath. He/she will be based in the Optical Engineering research group at Loughborough. Dedicated equipment available for this project includes tunable lasers, laser vibrometers, wave-meter, and opto-mechanical hardware, 40 industrial collaborators, including National Physical Laboratory, Renishaw, Hexagon, Airbus and Rolls Royce, provide opportunities for eventual commercialisation of the developed technology.

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Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a physical sciences, engineering, or related subject. Experience in one or more of the following areas will be an advantage: optical design, interferometry, photonics integration, instrumentation, signal processing, good working knowledge of one or more programming languages (C++, MATLAB).

Funding Notes

Please note that studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and other advertised projects starting with advert reference ‘WS’ for the School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering.

If awarded, each 3-year studentship will provide a tax-free stipend of £15,009 p/a, plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £4,327 p/a). While we welcome applications from non-EU nationals, please be advised that it will only be possible to fund the tuition fees at the international rate and no stipend will be available. Successful candidates will be notified by 30th September 2019.

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