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PhD Laser Gas Sensor Development for Combustion Processes using Tunable Diode Laser Spectroscropy.

A 36-month full-time, fully-funded PhD in collaboration with a number of industry partners, including Rolls-Royce, to further support the research work in laser gas sensors currently being carried out in an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Platform Grant.

Number of places



Home fee, Travel costs, International fee, Stipend


17 January 2018


30 September 2018


3 years


To be considered for the project, candidates must:

  • Possess, or be about to obtain,  at least an Upper Second (2.1) UK BEng Honours or MEng degree in a relevant engineering or physics related subject
  • Be highly motivated, independent and results-orientated, with excellent team-working skills
  • Adhere to Research Council (RCUK) eligibility criteria if a UK or EU national


Eligibility for RCUK studentships

  • Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.
  • EU students are only eligible for RC stipend if they have been resident in the UK for 3 years, including for study purposes, immediately prior to starting their PhD.
  • If an EU student cannot fulfil this condition then they are eligible for a fees only studentship.
  • International students cannot be funded from RC funds unless they are ‘settled’ in the UK. ‘Settled’ means being ordinarily resident in the UK without any immigration restrictions on the length of stay in the UK. To be ‘settled’ a student must either have the Right to Abode or Indefinite leave to remain in the UK or have the right of permanent residence in the UK under EC law. If the student’s passport describes them as a British citizen they have the Right of Abode.
  • Students with full Refugee status are eligible for fees and stipend.

Project Details

The Centre for Applied High Resolution research team at the University of Strathclyde have recently been awarded an EPSRC Platform Grant with the University of Edinburgh.  One of the main goal of this project is to assess novel methods for tomographic image reconstruction, by exploiting recent theoretical advances in WMS-based measurements.  These techniques may provide images of not only the concentration of a gas, but also the temperature and pressure profiles of the imaging plane for the first time.

The aim of this PhD studentship is to develop a WMS multi-species measurement and fitting approach to allow the simultaneous measurement of the concentration of three target gases (CO, CO2 and H2O), as well as the system temperature and pressure.  This measurement approach will be carried out in collaboration with the Agile Tomography team at the University of Edinburgh, to prove that multi-channel WMS can provide 2D planar images of species and temperature on aero engine exhausts.  This will be achieved with the support of Rolls-Royce. 

The student will begin by understanding the complexities of calibration free wavelength modulation techniques.  They will then model theoretical absorption spectra to ascertain which spectral features of the target gases are suitable for measurement in an aero engine exhaust plume.  The chosen spectra will then be measured experimentally to ensure suitability, and to measure the temperature dependence of their spectal parameters.  Field trials will then be carried out with the support of Rolls-Royce.

The project will start on 1 October 2018.

Funding Details

For UK and eligible EU nationals: Funding is provided for full tuition fees, along with a generous stipend and support with travel costs for the duration of the project.

For International (Non-EU) candidates: Funding is provided for tuition fees, but additional sources of funding will need to be identified to cover the stipend and other associated costs of the PhD programme.


The student will also be given the opportunity to carry experimental field trials and present their research at the consortium quarterly meetings, giving them direct access to,  and networking opportunities with a number of key industrial and academic partners.



The primary supervisor will be Dr Michael Lengden, a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Microsystems and Photonics (CMP) within the Institute for Sensors, Signals and Communications (InstSSC) in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering. Dr Lengden's research interests include fundamental spectroscopic measurements at high temperatures, applied tunable diode laser spectroscopy and gas composition measurements (Methane, Carbon Dioxide, NOx, SOx, Water Vapour), optical techniques for combustion diagnostics and the miniaturisation of optical sensors.

The secondary supervisor will be Professor Walter Johnstone of the Centre for Microsystems and Photonics (CMP) within the InstSSC. Professor Johnstone’s research expertise is in Laser spectroscopy, in particular tunable diode laser spectroscopy, and its applications to accurate measurements of gas concentration, temperature and pressure in harsh, particularly high temperature, environments such as fuels cells and gas turbine (aero) engines.

Contact us

How to apply

Candidates interested in applying should first email or tel: +44 (0)141 548 2875 for an informal discussion. Thereafter, they should submit their CV, academic transcript, and a covering letter outlining their suitability for the position, to him.

Following review of the application submissions, selected candidates will be invited for interview.

Application submission deadline is 31 August 2018.

The project will start on 1 October 2018.