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Simultaneous optimization of damping and tracking controllers for precision positioning systems

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Aphale
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Precise positioning is a key enabling technology in many technological systems such as disc drives, nanopositioning systems for atomic force microscopes, medical robotics etc. The positioning performance of most positioning systems is marred by two main limitations:

i. Resonance-induced vibrations causing mechanical fatigue as well as unwanted distortions in positioning.
ii. Nonlinear effects in actuators causing errors in positioning.

Traditionally, these effects are minimized using a dual-controller or dual-loop control strategy where the inner loop employs a damping controller that reduced the resonance-induced vibration artefacts and the outer loop employs a tracking controller that reduces the positioning errors due to actuator nonlinearities. In this implementation, a damping controller is designed first and then a suitable tracking controller is formulated.

Though this technique is prevalent and works well, recent investigations by our group have shown that substantially better performance (in terms of positioning bandwidth as well as positioning accuracy) can be extracted if the two control loops are designed and optimized simultaneously.

This project aims at furthering this research agenda and formulating novel control algorithms that deliver simultaneously optimized damping and tracking performance, resulting in improved positioning. The main target will be nanopositioning systems used in atomic force microscopes, high-density data storage systems etc. Such control algorithms can also be applicable to structural damping problems and this project will also investigate the feasibility of the formulated control techniques to structural damping of civil structures such as pedestrian foot-bridges etc.

The successful candidate should have, or expect to have an Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Electrical Engineering. Knowledge of Linear control systems, MATLAB and SIMULINK.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project, it is for self-funded students only.

References

Application Process:

Formal applications can be completed online: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply. You should apply for PhD in Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct College for processing. Please ensure that you quote the project title and supervisor on the application form.

Informal inquiries can be made to Dr S Aphale, ([email protected]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Graduate School Admissions Unit ([email protected]).

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