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Scattering, Imaging, Monitoring & Real-Future Prediction

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Curtis
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

We often wish to image or monitor changes in the interior of the Earth from measurements made on its surface or within boreholes. For example, the subsurface distribution of fluids, stress fields, chemistries and heat are all affected by the injection and circulation of fluids in the Earth’s subsurface to extract geothermal energy or to store natural gas or CO2 in rock pore space. They are also affected by the extraction of fluids such as water or hydrocarbons, or of solids such as ores, and by natural phenomena such as magma movements, volcanic eruptions & earthquakes. Such activities are of global interest to industry, governments & academia.

Subsurface effects are usually monitored using Geophysical measurements. These often involve injecting seismic or electromagnetic waves into the subsurface and recording the waves that emerge at the surface after being scattered in complex ways by variations in fluid or rock properties in the subsurface. Alternatively one can simply record and analyse the ambient or background geophysical wavefields that always reverberate within the Earth. By repeating the recordings at different times, changes in the recorded wavefields allow us to detect changes in the subsurface properties.

These PhD projects will develop new methods to image, monitor and interpret changes within the Earth’s subsurface, and apply them to the above industrial and academic activities. Four of the PhDs will be conducted within the “Edinburgh Interferometry Project” (EIP – an industrially-funded research consortium), in collaboration with three partner companies which all have excellent industrial research laboratories. Two of the PhDs will be within the EU project “WAVES”. All methods developed may also be applicable to monitor the interior of other media (e.g., flaws in industrial materials or changes inside humans in medical imaging).

6 PhD projects will be designed according to applicants’ interests and capabilities around the following themes, each using wave theory, interferometry, inversion, mathematics & computation in varying degrees:

Requirements. We seek applicants with demonstrated quantitative backgrounds including strong skills in mathematics, physics, or some other related discipline. These positions are open to all nationalities, but strong English language skills (speaking, reading and writing) are essential for the University’s entrance requirements.

You will be trained in other relevant specialities. The University of Edinburgh is a world-class institution which has equipment to perform field tests, large data sets of industrial seismic surveys and global seismological seismograms, huge computing power for data analysis, courses in all necessary programming skills, and experts in the mathematics and physics of waves, imaging and inversion. Through our partners we have access to laboratories to explore acoustic, elastic and electromagnetic wave phenomena, and expertise on both theoretical and experimental physics. You may make extended visits to partner companies, providing a unique opportunity to learn about both academic and industrial scientific research in the best laboratories in the world. You will have the opportunity to visit and present your work to the Mathematical, Physical and Geophysical communities at international conferences and workshops. You will be able to collaborate with previous, current and future members of our research team. You will carry out your research in a supportive environment in which we assure equal opportunities for all.

For more information contact: Prof. Andrew Curtis ([email protected])
Apply on-line at:

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