Fully Funded PhD Studentship in Engineering - Electronic and Nuclear Instrumentation

Lancaster University - Engineering Department

Starting 1st October 2017

Supervisor: Dr Kelum Gamage

Radiologically contaminated land is present on a number of the UK’s nuclear licensed sites relating to historical leaks and spills. The presence of this contamination and the ongoing industrial management of radioactive wastes require that the groundwater on these sites is routinely monitored for radioactivity. The default method for groundwater radiological monitoring is by manual sampling of waters in boreholes followed by laboratory analysis via mass spectrometry or activity measurement.

This project will investigate GaAs photo-detectors to detect beta particle emissions from strontium-90. Photo-detectors contain PIN photodiodes, where incident beta particles create electron-hole pairs in the diode’s depletion layer. This generates a current pulse, which can then be amplified and processed to investigate the presence and concentration of strontium-90 contamination in groundwater. The development of this device will permit the in-situ measurement of total beta in groundwater relatively quickly, without generating additional waste or without the need of secondary analysis of samples in a laboratory. It will also reduce the field labour requirement and hence dose to workers.

The potential student will join the Nuclear Science and Engineering Research Group in the Engineering Department at Lancaster University, one of the leading research groups in the world working on digital nuclear instrumentation. Lancaster University has an international reputation for high-quality research in the Engineering and Physical Sciences (It is ranked consistently in the top 10 for UK universities). The Department of Engineering comprises over 40 academic staff where nuclear research activity accounts for over half of the research staff/student body. Engineering Lancaster is one of the few academic departments in the UK with a proven ability to conceive research, design, construct and commercialise digital nuclear instrumentation. The project is supported by funding from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Nuclear and Sellafield Ltd. The student will also work closely with the experts at Sellafield Ltd and National Nuclear Laboratory.

Potential candidates for this position should have or expect to achieve a first-class or upper second class degree in Nuclear / Electronics / Electrical / Computing / Physics (or in a similar discipline) or equivalent relevant experience. Due to funding regulations application is restricted to UK/EU students and appointment will always be made on merit. A full standard studentship covers PhD tuition fees, a tax-free stipend at the current RCUK rate (£14,296 in 2016/17) and a research training support grant. For further information, please contact Dr Kelum Gamage (k.gamage@lancaster.ac.uk) or to apply for the studentship, please send a copy of your CV and a copy of your transcripts from your previous degree(s) to k.gamage@lancaster.ac.uk by Monday 31st August 2017.

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Northern England