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Tapered microstructure fibre and its application for bio-chemical sensing (SF19/EE/MPEE/WU)

Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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Dr Q Wu , Dr Darren Smith Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Currently there is an increasing demand for human health monitoring due to the development of the society. This requires to monitor a larger number of analytes, and hence it is crucial to develop an efficient and cost effective detection method. The existing techniques are based on electro-chemical and fluorescence detection, which need to collect samples and use expensive equipment for laboratory testing. Such a process is time-consuming, complex in operation and not capable of real time monitoring. It is therefore imperative to develop a novel bio-chemical sensor with advantages of high sensitivity, fast response, high reliability and suitability for 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 biological analytes of very low concentration. Our recent preliminary experimental results have 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 a high order resonant wavelength, which will improve both the sensitivity to RI and quality factor of the output spectrum, and doing so increase 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.

This project is supervised by Dr. Qiang Wu.

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. SF19/EE/MPEE/WU) will not be considered.

Start Date: 1 March 2020 or 1 October 2020

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 holds 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. Rahul Kumar, Yuankui Leng, Bin Liu, Jun Zhou, Liyang Shao, Jinhui Yuan, Xinyu Fan, Shengpeng Wan, Tao Wu, Juan Liu, Richard Binns, Yong Qing Fu, Wai Pang Ng, Gerald Farrell, Yuliya Semenova, Hengyi Xu, Yonghua Xiong, Xingdao He and Qiang Wu, “Ultrasensitive biosensor based on magnetic microspheres enhanced microfiber interferometer”, Biosensors and Bioelectronics,, 2019
2. Dejun Liu, Fengzi Ling, Rahul Kumar, Arun Kumar Mallik, Ke Tian, Changyu Shen, Gerald Farrell, Yuliya Semenova, Qiang Wu, Pengfei Wang, “Sub-micrometer resolution liquid level sensor based on hollow core fiber structure”, Optics Letters, vol. 44, no. 8, pp. 2125-2128, 2019
3. Peng Wang, Qiang Wu, Fuyan Wang, Yaping Zhang, Liying Tong, Tao Jiang, Chenjie Gu, Shuiping Huang, Hongxi Wang, Shizhong Bu & Jun Zhou, “Evaluating cellular uptake of gold nanoparticles in HL-7702 and HepG2 cells for plasmonic photothermal therapy”, Nanomedicine (Future Medicine), vol. 13, no. 18, 2018.
4. 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, vol. 271, 15 October, pp. 1-8, 2018.
5. 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
6. 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

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