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PhD Student in Novel Sensor Technology for High-Temperature Environments


Project Description

Applications are invited for a full PhD scholarship in the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

Demand for sensors is considered to be the next growth engine and core business for semiconductor industry. Semiconductor sensors market is expected to reach $432 billion by 2020, with an estimated rapid annual growth rate of >10%. Among these sensors, AlGaN/GaN structures are considered as excellent candidates for a number of high-temperature wireless sensing systems. Their importance lies in their high-resistance to pollution and corrosive atmosphere, strong chemical inertness and high 2D electron gas density. Because of their large bandgap, AlGaN/GaN structures exhibit good thermal durability and resistance to harsh-environments. These sensors are expected to cover many needs and purposes such as: industry 4.0, flue-gas analyses, electrochemical, petrochemical, iron/steel manufacturing, O2 generation, agriculture cultivation…etc. Despite the above capabilities, these sensors suffer from some drawbacks, mainly (i) temperature dependence of electrode kinetics, and (ii) ageing of their sensing surface, that leads to sensor drift. These persist as limiting factors that hold back their widespread commercial and industrial development.
The aim of this PhD project is to design/implement a novel wireless sensor system based on hybrid AlGaN/GaN and sensitive films, that addresses the above mentioned constraints. The proposed sensor is expected to have several potential advantages, including:
• Operate at high-temperature environments, up to 600C;
• Fast sensing response with high sensitivity and selectivity;
• cost-effective, miniaturised and with self-diagnostics for calibration;
The novelty of this sensor system is the easy monolithic on-chip integration of this sensor on an ultralow power mode with RF functional blocks, including transceiver, read out signal, A/D, DSP units, would greatly reduce the system complexity for high-temperature wireless sensing. This will allow the sensor system to be deployed in hazardous environment, eg. greenhouse gas emissions from incinerators. The sensors could be either stand-alone devices or deployed as part of a sensor network.
The majority of the PhD work will be done at Liverpool JMU, using large multiphysics simulation techniques and electrical-characterisation facilities, hosted by the Electronics & Electrical Engineering Dept.. The expected analyses of transient sensor response and performance results will be published in industrial relevant journals and flagship conferences of high industrial impacts.

Qualifications:
The successful candidate should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Electrical/Electronic Engineering or a related subject. Good communication skills in written and spoken English are a must.
Essential knowledge of Semiconductor devices, characterisation.
Advantageous to have knowledge in device simulation.

Application Procedure:
In the first instance, interested candidates are encouraged to make an informal enquiry to the named academic supervisor, Dr B Benbakhti (), with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter indicating your interest in the project.

Contact details:
Dr Brahim Benbakhti Ph.D MIEEE FHEA
email:
tel.: +44 151 231 2249

Supervisory Team:
Director of Studies: Dr Brahim Benbakhti
Secondary supervisor: Prof Weidong Zhang

Funding Notes

This fully funded three year PhD Scholarship would comprise annual fees, a contribution towards running costs, plus an annual stipend of £14,777 per annum currently.

Location: LJMU (Liverpool, UK)

Duration: full-time, three years. The PhD studentship must be filled by September 2019.

How good is research at Liverpool John Moores University in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 7.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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