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An Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Development, Production and Characterisation of Laser-Machined Micro-Optics, PowerPhotonic

  • Full or part time
    Prof D Reid
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project not available to non UK/EU applicants.

The EngD is an alternative to a traditional PhD aimed at students wanting a career in industry. Students spend about 75% of their time working directly with a company in addition to receiving advanced-level training from a broad portfolio of technical and business courses. On completion students are awarded the PhD-equivalent EngD.


PowerPhotonic has pioneered an innovative laser micro-machining process for the production of precision, free-form micro-optics. Our manufacturing technology, based on fundamental research carried out at Heriot-Watt University, enables us to rapidly iterate prototypes without setup costs at short turnaround times, and to cost-efficiently produce high-volume custom optics.

The successful applicant will investigate new and improved methods of optical design that facilitate our unique production capabilities and utilise our applications know-how; be involved in the characterisation and continuous improvement of our fabrication technologies; and advance existing and explore new approaches to product metrology and qualification.

During the course of the project, the applicant will build a diverse skillset in the modelling, optimisation and realisation of optical surfaces and the production tools used to make them. As such, they should have an enthusiasm for tackling challenging problems across a range of topics such as numerical and analytical optics, laser-based materials processing, and optical surface metrology, as well as technologies associated with these topics.

We expect this project to substantially further the company’s capabilities. Previous development work carried out by PowerPhotonic has advanced the state-of-the-art in laser-based materials ablation and polishing, and led to novel approaches to optical challenges e.g. in single- and multi-mode laser beam shaping, complex micro-lens arrays, and the collimation and correction of high power laser diode stacks. This enables us to address a diverse customer base including medical, defence, telecom, and industrial and academic research.

We regularly disseminate our findings through conference presentations, published papers and application notes, and have several granted and pending patents on associated topics. This project will give the successful applicant an opportunity both to contribute to ongoing research efforts, and to help shaping the development strategy of a dynamic, fast-growing innovator in micro-optics.

Funding Notes

This project is available to UK/ EU applicants only.

This 4-year (including CDT taught-courses) project is funded jointly by PowerPhotonic and by the CDT in Applied Photonics, run by Heriot-Watt University. The annual stipend is £21,503 which includes an enhancement from Powerphotonic A substantial consumables and equipment budget is provided by a concurrent EPSRC grant. Travel funding for conference presentations is also available.

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