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Tapered microstructure fibre and its application for bio-chemical sensing (Advert Reference: SF18/MPEE/WU)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Currently there is an increasing demand of human health monitoring due to the development of the society. This requires monitor larger number of analytes and hence it is crucial to develop an efficient and cost effective detection method. The existing techniques are based on electrochemical and fluorescence detection, which need to collect samples and use expensive equipment to do the test in the laboratory. This process is time-consuming, complex operation and not capable of real time monitoring. It is hence imperative to develop a novel bio-chemical sensor with advantages of high sensitivity, fast response, reliable and on-site analysis.

The hypotheses of this project is that a tapered microstructure singlemode-multimode-singlemode (SMS) fibre structure can achieve very high refractive index (RI) sensitivity. By proper surface functionalisation on the tapered microstructure SMS fibre structure, the sensor can be used to detect very low concentration biological analytes. Our recent preliminary experimental results demonstrated that a tapered SMS fibre structure alone has RI sensitivity better than 10000 nm/RIU compared to conventional sensors with 2000 nm/RIU. The introduction of microstructure will excite high order resonant wavelength, which will improve the sensitivity to RI and improve quality factor of the output spectrum and hence improves the detection limit. We believe creating a microstructure on a tapered SMS fibre structure will improve RI sensitivity of the sensor to the order of 105 nm/RIU. Assuming appropriate functionalisation, it is possible to use this sensor to detect very low concentration bio-chemical samples. In this project a variety of modelling tools will be used to simulate the RI sensor and experimental investigation will be carried out to demonstrate the application for bio-chemical sensing.

Please note eligibility requirement:

* Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
* Appropriate IELTS score, if required

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/MPEE/WU) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2019 or 1 June 2019 or 1 October 2019

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded research project


1. Dejun Liu, Rahul Kumar, et al and Qiang Wu, “High sensitivity optical fiber sensors for simultaneous measurement of methanol and ethanol”, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, Accepted.
2. Dejun Liu, Qiang Wu, et al, “Hollow Core Fiber Based Interferometer for High Temperature (1000 °C) Measurement”, IEEE Journal of Lightwave Technology, vol. 36, no. 9, pp. 1583-1590, 2018
3. Fangfang Wei, Arun Kumar Mallik, Dejun Liu, Qiang Wu, et al, “Magnetic field sensor based on a combination of a microfiber coupler covered with magnetic fluid and a Sagnac loop”, Scientific Reports, vol. 7, 2017 (Q1)
4. Lei Sun, Yuliya Semenova, Qiang Wu, et al, “High sensitivity ammonia gas sensor based on a silica gel coated microfiber coupler”, IEEE Journal of Lightwave Technology, pp. 2864-2870, vol. 35, no. 14, 2017. (Q1)
5. Guorui Zhou, Qiang Wu, et al, “High Sensitivity Refractometer Based on Reflective Smf-Small Diameter No Core Fiber Structure”, Sensors, vol. 17, no. 6, 2017.
6. Youqiao Ma, Nghia Nguyen-Huu, Jun Zhou, Hiroshi Maeda, Qiang Wu, et al, “Mach-Zehnder Interferometer-based Integrated Terahertz Temperature Sensor”, IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, Jan. 2017 (Q1)
7. Dejun Liu, Wei Han, et al and Qiang Wu, “High sensitivity sol-gel silica coated optical fiber sensor for detection of ammonia in water”, Optics Express, Vol. 24, no.21, pp. 24179-24187, 2016
8. Zhaochuan Zhang, et al, Qiang Wu, Bai-Ou Guan, and Jacques Albert, “Plasmonic fiber-optic vector magnetometer”, Applied Physics Letters, 108, 101105 (2016); doi: 10.1063/1.4943623
9. Dejun Liu, Arun Kumar Mallik, et al, Qiang Wu, “High sensitivity refractive index sensor based on a tapered small core single-mode fiber structure”, Optics Letters, vol. 40, no. 17, pp. 4166-4169, 2015
10. Youqiao Ma, Gerald Farrell, Yuliya Semenova and Qiang Wu, “A hybrid wedge-to-wedge plasmonic waveguide with low loss propagation and ultra-deep-nanoscale mode confinement”, Journal of Lightwave Technology, vol. 33, no. 18, pp. 3827-3835, 2015
11. Qiang Wu, et al, “UV exposure on a single-mode fiber within a multimode interference structure”, Optics Letters, vol. 39, no. 22, pp. 6521-6524, 2014

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