University of Edinburgh Featured PhD Programmes
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Featured PhD Programmes
University of Glasgow Featured PhD Programmes

PhD in Instrumentation/Electronics: Development of a Novel Portable Ion Mobility Spectrometer

Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics

About the Project

Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is a versatile analytical technique that allows general-purpose chemical detection and measurement. This popular technique offers high sensitivity (with detection limits routinely in the part per billion-range) and fast response times of just a few seconds. IMS is routinely used for a wide range of applications, including detection of contaminants in the pharmaceutical industry, in law enforcement for the detection of narcotics and is well known for its deployment by border agencies (e.g., aviation) and for military purposes to detect explosives and chemical weapons.

The Mass Spectrometry & Instrumentation (MSI) research group at the University of Liverpool has experience developing bespoke analytical instrumentation, including ion mobility spectrometers and mass spectrometers ( [1]. You will join the research group and be based in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Electronics ( at the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with Sensor City (

In this PhD project you will undertake research developing a custom handheld ion mobility spectrometer utilising novel detection technology, developed in the MSI lab, that allows high sensitivity (at very low cost). More details about the project are available upon request. As part of the project you will have opportunities for national and international travel to present your research at renowned conferences with visits to industrial and academic partners. Due to the nature of this research it is very likely to result in new inventions and the University is very supportive in this regard (with respect to supporting patent applications and aiding commercialisation activities).
You should have a strong background and passion for electronics (electronics design, schematic capture, PCB layout, writing firmware, etc.). Ideally, you should have a degree in physical sciences, mathematics or an engineering discipline (e.g., electronics engineering). Masters level students are encouraged to apply. If you have a strong Bachelor’s degree or have relevant experience (e.g., prior project experience, related work experience, significant electronics project portfolio, publications, demonstrable interest in the topic, etc.), you are also encouraged to apply. In exceptional circumstances those with a non-traditional educational background will be considered, dependent upon relevant experience. A strong interest and familiarity with electronics is essential. Applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are interested, please email Prof Simon Maher () with the project title in the subject of your email and include a copy of your CV.

Funding Notes

The project is open worldwide, to applicants of any nationality. It is unfunded and applicants are encouraged to contact the Principal Supervisor directly to discuss their application and the project.

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses as well as research costs of £3000 per year.

A fee bursary may be available for well qualified and motivated applicants.

Details of costs can be found on the University website.


[1] Simon Maher, F. Jjunju, and S. Taylor. "Colloquium: 100 years of mass spectrometry: Perspectives and future trends." Reviews of Modern Physics 87, no. 1 (2015): 113.

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here

The information you submit to University of Liverpool will only be used by them or their data partners to deal with your enquiry, according to their privacy notice. For more information on how we use and store your data, please read our privacy statement.

* required field

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2021
All rights reserved.