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Optical coherence tomography (OCT)


   The Dodd-Walls Centre

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a real time, non-invasive and non-contact imaging modality for translucent and transparent tissue capable of providing morphological images at the micron scale resolution at more than 1mm depth penetration. First developed in 1991 for measuring the human retina, OCT's fields of application have been extended to a wide variety of tissues and non-biological structures. Conventional OCT is based on measuring the back reflection of light induced by changes of refractive index in the sample. Although the information gain of purely structural images is high, poor contrast can make structures difficult to be identified. Therefore, OCT was extended to exploit other light properties for better contrast and quantitative measurements. In this context, we develop optical biopsies using OCT and new contrast agents such as birefringence, mechanical compression, chromatic dispersion and elastography. We have a range of projects with industrial and clinical collaborators to study samples like the inner ear, articular cartilage and the impact of botrytis on grapes. Projects will include components of data processing and machine learning or optical designs and will make use of the existing OCT systems based in the biophotonics laboratory in Auckland.

The wider context

The Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies is a national Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE)and a world-class organisation which builds on Aotearoa-New Zealand’s (NZ) internationally acknowledged strength in the fields of quantum optics, photonics, ultracold atomic gases, and precision atomic physics. Photonics, the manipulation of the quantum building blocks of light, and the precision control of matter at the atomic scale through the use of light, underpin technological development in areas such as computing, advanced sensing technologies and medical imaging, and communication.

The Dodd-Walls Centre, hosted by the University of Otago, involves six universities in NZ. Your PhD project while based at one institution will allow you to collaborate with researchers from across the Centre. More information about our Research Centre can be found here: https://doddwalls.ac.nz/

The Dodd-Walls Centre mission

  • To solidify our position as a Research Centre that is recognised as one of the world’s leading organisations in the field of photonic and quantum technologies,
  • To train and develop skilled staff and students to the highest international standards,
  • To capitalise upon the international investment in quantum and optical sciences for the benefit of New Zealand,
  • To support the rapidly growing high-tech industry sector, thus ensuring New Zealand’s economic diversification and providing career pathways for the outstanding people that we train,
  • To provide support for New Zealand’s climate action through improved environmental measurement and monitoring, and,
  • To ensure that the benefits of advances in science and technology, especially in photonics and quantum technologies, are available to all.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must meet the University of Auckland entry requirements for admission to a PhD. Award of the scholarship is conditional on the university accepting your enrolment. The successful applicant will be guided through the process of formally applying for admission.

This is an interdisciplinary project so applicants from a wide range of academic backgrounds will be considered. Applications should have strong undergraduate knowledge in some of these areas:

  • science or engineering especially physics, mathematics or computer science. Projects will include components of data processing and machine learning or optical designs.

This project is based in Auckland, New Zealand and is available for immediate start.

How to apply

To express your interest in this scholarship and PhD research opportunity, please prepare the following items:

  • A brief CV including qualifications, academic achievements, list of publications, work history, and references.
  • A copy of your academic transcript(s).

Please submit your application via email to the main supervisors of this project Frederique Vanholsbeeck () who will guide you through the scholarship application process.


Funding Notes

The successful applicant will receive a PhD scholarship of NZ$28,500 stipend per annum plus fees. The stipend is for three years. The scholarship is tax-free.
We also provide funding to support research, including for travel to visit collaborators and attend conferences.

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