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Fibre optic sensors for pH measurement in harsh environments

In this project, a novel pH sensor for high temperature, high pressure (HTHP) environments using a functionalised optical fibre will be developed.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


12 January 2018


3 years


Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a high 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake challenging multidisciplinary research. Experience in corrosion testing, electrochemistry or nanoparticle synthesis is highly desirable.

Project Details

In oil and gas production, the ability to accurately determine pH in harsh, downhole environments is critical for cost effective materials selection, risk assessment and condition monitoring. Despite the importance of such measurements, no reliable technique has yet been established that is capable of measuring pH in the relevant temperature range (100 – 200 C) at elevated pressure and in the presence of aggressive chemical species. Existing potentiometric-based pH sensors have relatively poor chemical and thermal stability and their response is compromised by the high salt concentrations typical of oil and gas production environments.

In this project, a novel pH sensor for high temperature, high pressure (HTHP) environments using a functionalised optical fibre will be developed. The accuracy and stability of the sensor will be evaluated in a standard HTHP autoclave against existing pH measurement techniques and used to validate pH prediction models, including one under development at National Physical laboratory (NPL). The potential impact of the project would be to establish a sensor technology capable of being deployed in the Oil & Gas sector and related industries such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

The candidate will be working between the University of Strathclyde and National Physical Laboratory developing the sensor technology and, typically, will spend 8 - 12 weeks per year at NPL (Teddington, UK).

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects. 

Funding Details

A full PhD studentship is available for 3 years available for EU/UK applicants. Application deadline: 30th April 2018


Primary supervisor - Prof Sudipta Roy

Secondary supervisor - Dr Todd Green

Co-supervisor - Dr G Hinds (National Physical Laboratory) 

Contact us

Ms Jacqueline Brown

+44(0) 141 574 5319

James Weir Building, 75 Montrose Street, Glasgow, G1 1XJ

How to apply

Apply for this PhD project here.

Please quote the project title in your application.