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PhD Studentship in Optical fibre sensing for the protection of fusion tokamak magnets

Robinson Research Institute

Wellington New Zealand Electrical Engineering Mechanical Engineering Optical Physics Physics

About the Project

About Us

The multidisciplinary Robinson Research Institute is internationally recognised for the impact of our applied research into superconductivity and electromagnetic technologies. Our world-leading programmes in materials and engineering deliver globally sought-after graduates and transform tomorrow’s industries. Our 35 professional Scientists and Engineers are based within world-class facilities at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and deliver commercial outcomes and partnerships around the globe. Our mission is to develop and deliver world-changing new technologies that will enable a global sustainable future.

About the Project

This PhD project is part of a research programme in collaboration with MIT and a fusion energy company in the USA. Our Institute is delivering expertise in fibre sensing for cryogenic magnets, working at the cutting edge of science in this research area.

About the PhD

We have a fully funded PhD scholarship available for research into optical fibre sensing applied to quench protection in high magnetic field tokamak fusion magnets.

During the course of your PhD you will have the opportunity to contribute to the development of a core technology required to make clean fusion energy possible. You will be ready for the challenge of understanding the thermo-mechanical behaviour of materials at cryogenic temperatures, and optimizing the design and performance of sensing systems integrated within working magnets.

Your research work will include undertaking modelling, design, engineering and integration of optical cryogenic thermal sensing into high magnetic field magnets. The systems will be studied using lasers, optical spectrum analysers, cryostats, cryocoolers and high field superconducting magnets within our facility. Access to additional resources is available through the USA National Laboratories and the Plasma Physics facilities at MIT.

Throughout this research project you will have the opportunity to work with our supportive team of trusted scientists as well as researchers from other parts of New Zealand. You will have the opportunity to travel to our international collaborators at major international test facilities and to attend international conferences.


Applicants should have an engineering or science degree equivalent to the 4-year Honours degree in New Zealand, with 1st class or 2nd class (1st division) Honours, or an MSc/MEng or equivalent with high grades. We are seeking a highly motivated person with an excellent academic record, a good understanding of applied physics and engineering, and able to work well in a team. You will need to satisfy the requirements for admission as a PhD candidate at Victoria University and should ensure that you can satisfy the English language requirements.

Funding Notes

There is a stipend of $30,000 per annum, as well as payment of all university tuition fees. The scholarship is to be awarded for a period of 3 years.


For more information: Send an email titled “Re: Fiber optic sensing” to

Applicants should include the following:
(i) Curriculum Vitae
(ii) A summary of university grades
(iii) A statement detailing why you are interested in this project
(iv) Contact information for two potential referees.

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