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Optics-based distributed magnetic field and temperature sensor

   Robinson Research Institute

  Dr Grant Williams, Dr S Chong  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A fully funded PhD scholarship is available for research into developing a new class of magnetochromic composites for fibre-optics based magnetic field and temperature sensors. The successful candidate will join the world leading Robinson Research Institute [1] at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) at Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

The candidate will undertake materials preparation using solid-state chemistry and thin film fabrication as well as assist in the setting up of a magneto-optical test rig on the Quantum Design physical property measurement system (PPMS). The materials will be characterised and studied by x-ray diffraction, SEM, TEM, photoluminescence, magnetometer, and physical property measurement system (PPMS). Access to additional resources is available through our affiliation with the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology [2]. 

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to contribute to the fundamental understanding of the intrinsic properties that enable the magneto-piezochromic effect (similar to a magnetoelectric effect) plus investigate ways to optimize the stress-strain transfer between the magnetostrictive and piezochromic phases, and fibre-optics sensor set-up. There is also the opportunity for the candidate to work with researchers from other parts of New Zealand, and travel abroad to attend international conferences (subject to COVID-19 travel restrictions)


Applicants should have a degree equivalent to the 4-year Physics (Honours) degree in New Zealand, with 1st class Honours, or an MSc or postgraduate Diploma with high grades. We are seeking a highly motivated person with an excellent academic record, a good understanding of materials science/physics, and the ability to work well in a team. Candidates should satisfy the requirements for admission as a PhD candidate at Victoria University and applicants should ensure that they can satisfy the English language requirements [3]. 

How to Apply

Please send an email to Prof. Grant Williams () and Dr. Shen Chong () with PhD scholarship in “Optics-based distributed magnetic field and temperature sensor” in the subject line. Please include the following information,

·        A full curriculum vitae, including your university transcripts

·        A statement detailing why you are interested in this project

·        The names of at least two people who are prepared to act as referees

·        Evidence of your English language ability

·        Your expected starting date

For more info about applying for PhD Scholarships at Robinson Research Institute please see our Postgraduate Page.

Important - application steps and information

For applicants who are not NZ Citizens or Permanent Residents, we recommend you check the NZ Immigration website for updates related to Covid19 restrictions on entry to New Zealand:

Funding Notes

This PhD project is part of a newly funded research programme on ‘Optics-based distributed magnetic field and temperature sensor for enhanced power infrastructure reliability’, which involved researchers from Victoria University of Wellington and University of Boudreaux.
The successful PhD applicant will receive a stipend of $30,000 per annum for 3 years, as well as payment of all university tuition fees.


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