Postgraduate research opportunities

PhD Studentship in Optoacoustic (laser ultrasound) sensing for remote, chemical process monitoring

A 42-month full-time, fully-funded PhD, supported by the EPSRC and focusing on remote sensing for bio-/chemical sensing and monitoring. The sensors will be wireless and optically excited, making them suitable for minimum impact on the tested system and hazardous or sterilised environments.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Travel costs, Stipend

Opens

11 February 2021

Deadline

15 June 2021

Duration

42 months

Eligibility

To be considered for the project, candidates must:

  • Possess a minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) first degree or postgraduate Masters qualification in a relevant engineering or science subject.

Required skills

  • Enthusiasm for research and innovation is essential.
  • Excellent report writing and presentation skills are desirable.
  • Experience in experimental research and/or experimental chemistry skills would be appreciated.

UKRI Studentship Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for UKRI funding has changed for studentships commencing in the 2021/22 academic year. Now, all home and international students are eligible to apply for UKRI funding which will cover the full stipend and tuition fees at the home rate (not the international rate). Under the new criteria, UKRI have stipulated a maximum percentage of international students that can be recruited each year against individual training grants. This will be managed at the institutional level for all EPSRC DTP and ICASE grants. For EPSRC CDT grants, this will be managed by the individual CDT administrative/management team. For ESRC and AHRC studentships the final funding decision will be made by the respective grant holder.

 

To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

 

The residency requirements are based on the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) Regulations 2007 and subsequent amendments. Normally to be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education).

If a student does not meet the criteria above, they will be classed as an international student. The international portion of the tuition fee cannot be funded by the UKRI grant and must be covered from other sources. International students are permitted to self-fund the difference between the home and international fee rates.

Project Details

Applications are invited for a research studentship supported by the EPSRC, in the field of optoacoustic (laser ultrasound) sensing leading to the award of a PhD degree and starting in October 2021. It is an excellent opportunity for experimental research as well as engaging with industry.

 

The anticipated research outcome will be remote, optically excited surface acoustic wave based sensors with the capability to observe real-time chemical events at hazardous environments with relevant sensitivity levels and at low cost. This is a breakthrough technology and using it for chemical sensing will also open the door to environmental, healthcare and biomedical applications, where remote ultrasonic sensing/monitoring are needed in sterilised or corrosive environments. It will be able to compete commercially against established but much more complex optical based sensing techniques.

 

The optoacoustic sensors will use lasers to generate and detect ultrasound and will be used for sensing in gas and liquid phase. Applications include differentiation of liquids (e.g. wine) based on their volatile compounds or measuring antibody-antigen interactions (biosensors). Achieving real-time, remote ultrasonic sensing will allow observation of events such as binding of proteins, with a versatile and non-destructive technique, enabling chemical and bio-engineers.

 

The core research objectives within this project are:

  • Development of novel, remote ultrasonic technique for real-time chemical process monitoring.
  • Demonstration of the new technology in hazardous environments (high temperatures, corrosive, sterilised) where current techniques fail.

 

Methodology:  We will design and build a laser based sensing system on facilities available at the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering of Strathclyde. A range of representative processes will be identified through industrial engagement for demonstration of chemical process monitoring. Our ambition is to reach real-time process monitoring of multiple chemical events happening simultaneously and this will be achieved by dynamically changing the ultrasonic response of the laser based sensing system. This project is highly interdisciplinary, with the inclusive supervision team based in the Electronic & Electrical and the Biomedical Engineering departments. These activities will equip the candidate with cutting-edge and highly desirable experimental and analysis techniques.

Funding Details

Funding is provided for full Home/UK tuition fees and stipend (£15,609 per year, subject to annual inflation), for the duration of the project, as well as a budget for travel costs (£1500 per year) for the duration of the project.

Supervisor

Candidates are strongly advised to contact the supervising academics via email: Dr Theodosia Stratoudaki (t.stratoudaki@strath.ac.uk) and Dr Helen Mulvana (helen.mulvana@strath.ac.uk).

Contact us

Dr Theodosia Stratoudaki (t.stratoudaki@strath.ac.uk) or Dr Helen Mulvana (helen.mulvana@strath.ac.uk)

How to apply

Qualified applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervising academics Dr Theodosia Stratoudaki (t.stratoudaki@strath.ac.uk) or Dr Helen Mulvana (helen.mulvana@strath.ac.uk), sending their CV, academic transcript and a covering letter, highlighting their interests and suitability for the project. Please refer to the PhD studentship title on your email. Following review of the application submissions, selected candidates will be invited for interview. Application submission deadline is 12 April 2021. The project will start on 1 October 2021.