PhD Studentship: Optical-based data storage for aerospace

University of Southampton

The University of Southampton and Parker Aerospace UK are pleased to announce an Industrial PhD studentship on Optical-based data storage.

Optical systems in aerospace offer lightweight, electro-magnetic interference (EMI) immune solutions capable of operating in technically difficult aerospace environments, such as fuel tanks and hydraulic systems. This PhD studentship is CASE sponsored by Parker Aerospace, which is one of the world’s largest aerospace systems manufacturers.

The aim of this studentship is to develop optical fibre based data storage, encoding protocols and schemes for data extraction based on fibre Bragg grating technology. The work shall be hands-on and involve optical engineering, electronics and development of encoding schemes. The prospective candidate shall work closely with the Parker Aerospace team based in the UK, understanding installation concepts and environmental conditions expected in real-world aerospace operation.  Design and development of components shall be made at the University of Southampton’s world leading Optoelectronics Research Centre, utilising state-of-the-art cleanroom tooling and laser fabrication technology.

Please contact Dr Christopher Holmes ( for further details.

This PhD CASE studentship will suit candidates wishing to work closely with industry on a very applied basis. Collaborating with Parker Aerospace UK engineers, the student will develop new manufacturing processes and operating schemes for optical sensors as sensor encoding schemes for aerospace in order to improve scientific understanding and disseminate their use to a wide multidisciplinary audience. This project will be hosted at the University of Southampton and will include training on-site at Parker Aerospace UK.

With a background in physics, electronics, material science, or engineering, successful candidates will be enthusiastic to work in a multi-disciplinary team with collaborators in both academia and industry across the UK and worldwide. Project activities will include cleanroom fabrication, high voltage electronics, optical design, laser testing, theoretical and computational modelling.

The ORC PhD comprises a solid education for a research career. The structured first year involves attending our training programme running in parallel with carrying out your research project. This provides a smooth transition from your degree course towards the more open-ended research that takes place in the following years under the guidance of your project supervisors. We expect most of our students to present their work at international conferences and to write papers in leading academic journals as their research progresses. Students will emerge from the PhD with skills at the forefront of future photonics research and will benefit from the many opportunities to interact with the wider community of PhD students across the Southampton Campus.

The ORC is the leading photonics research institute in the UK and possibly in Europe. It comprises state-of-the-art cleanrooms for optical fibre, planar photonics, silicon and bio-photonics fabrication and over 80 laboratories. A PhD at the ORC has enabled our graduates to build successful careers in academia, national scientific laboratories, and as scientists or business leaders in industry. Our research papers, patents, spin-out companies and successful alumni place Southampton amongst the top institutes in the world.

Entry requirements: First or upper second-class degree or equivalent

Closing date: Applications should be received no later than 31 August 2017

Duration:  3.5 years (full-time)

Funding: Full tuition, plus for UK-eligible students an enhanced yearly stipend of £21,000 tax-free for up to 3.5 years ( )

Start date: October 2017

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