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PhD Development of Optoelectronic Sensor Systems to Support Materials Life Assessment (AWE)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof D Reid
    Dr W N MacPherson
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project looks to draw on the expertise within the CDT in Applied Photonics to support the development of novel technologies to support AWE in its mission to support and maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent.

In scenarios where electrical based measurements introduce an unacceptable safety risk, optical-based sensor technologies provide a viable alternative to obtain empirical data. Although optical sensing is a relatively mature field, many challenges exist that prevent these techniques from being readily deployed in a system context. These issues relate to not only sensors (in terms of performance, dimensions and packaging) but also extend to the supporting ancillary hardware.

This PhD project will look to develop solutions for making measurements in challenging environments and explore approaches that combine facets from both the photonics and electronics disciplines. The project will develop novel techniques, methodologies, and experimental hardware to enable measurements in situ of a variety of parameters.

In line with previous projects in this area, this project will increase the knowledge in technologies for sensing a number of parameters (including pressure, temperature and gas speciation), systems integration, and optoelectronic design.


The ideal candidate will have a 1st or 2:1 (or equivalent) in Physics, Electrical Engineering or a relevant discipline. They will be proactive and willing take ownership of project and demonstrate a greater balance towards an experimental aptitude.

A background in photonics, electronics and programming would be an advantage

Funding Notes

This 4-year (including CDT taught-courses) project is funded jointly by AWE and by the CDT in Applied Photonics, run by Heriot-Watt University. The annual stipend is approximately £16,000, which includes an enhancement from AWE. A substantial consumables and equipment budget is provided by a concurrent EPSRC grant. Travel funding for conference presentations is also available.



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