Novel Optical Imaging Sensors for Robotic Manufacturing – PhD Studentship

Cranfield University

Application Deadline: Ongoing until filled

Start Date: Start date flexible, possible intakes February, May and October 2017

Eligibility: UK residents only

Duration of award: 3 years


Dr. Tom Charrett – Lecturer in Optical sensors
Professor Ralph Tatam – Head of Engineering Photonics


Sponsored by EPSRC, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £14,296 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* for three years.

A fully funded PhD studentship is available in the Centre for Engineering, to investigate the development of novel optical instrumentation, using laser speckle sensing, for applications in the next generation of flexible and autonomous manufacturing robotics. Laser speckle sensing is a powerful, potentially low-cost, and robust position and orientation sensing technique using the speckled interference pattern, formed when an optically rough surface is illuminated with a spatially coherent source such as a laser.

This project will investigate the application of speckle sensing to more representative engineering problems such as shaped/curved or structured surfaces and complex robot motions. This project will investigate novel sensor concepts applying prior knowledge of surface shape, and/or new imaging technologies and techniques to provide complementary information and improve the laser-speckle sensor accuracy. To achieve this, the project aims to develop a flexible model of the laser speckle behaviour capable of simulating a variety of conditions and signal processing schemes used in range/volumetric imaging techniques, in addition to the practical implementation and testing of sensor concepts.

The project would suit candidates with a background in the physical sciences / engineering, who want to apply their skills in real world measurement applications and will offer the opportunity to gain experience in a mix of computer simulation and practical experimentation. Experience in photonics would be an advantage.

Engineering Photonics provides a stimulating research environment, a purpose built suite of first class well-equipped laboratories, close links with industry and researchers from other disciplines and opportunities for students to present their work at international conferences.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as engineering, or the physical sciences and / or an MSc in a relevant subject. The ideal candidate should have some understanding in the area of simulation and numerical modelling. Many of our students complete a PhD following a period (or even a career) in industry and we welcome the additional experience that this brings

Funding requirements:

* To be eligible for this funding, we require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has “settled status” and has been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to start of studies and has not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals). Due to funding restrictions all EU nationals are eligible to receive a fees-only award if they do not have “settled status” in the UK.

How to apply:

For informal enquiries, further information and to apply please contact:

For further information please contact:

Dr Tom Charrett, E:, T: (0) 1234 758205

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form.

T: 44 (0)1234 758008


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South East England