PhD studentship: Flexible Raman biosensing platform for low-cost health diagnostics

University of Southampton - Optoelectronics Research Centre

Supervisor:   Prof. Michalis N. Zervas
Co-supervisor: Prof. James S. Wilkinson

In this project, we propose to realise a generic, flexible, compact sensing platform for health diagnostics with high sensitivity and selectivity, based on Raman spectroscopy on optical waveguide chips. The platform will comprise a low-cost instrument employing cheap, disposable generic optical sensor chips that can be readily adapted to specific biomedical analytes, from small molecules to proteins and DNA, by using conventional surface modification.  The PhD research programme will be part of a larger EPSRC Research Grant in collaboration with the Chemistry Department, Southampton National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). 

A fully funded PhD place on this project is available for UK applicants. Students from overseas who have secured external funding are also welcome to apply. Students with a background in engineering or physics and an interest in optical waveguides, instrumentation and biomedical diagnostics would be a good fit to this exciting project area. The PhD project will combine extensive computational modelling and data-analysis with experimental work. A visit to meet us is recommended and phone / Skype interviews are also possible if necessary.

Please contact Prof. Michalis N. Zervas ( or Prof. James S. Wilkinson ( for further details and visit our group page at

The PhD programme

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (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 the vast majority 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 fiber laser research and will benefit from the many opportunities to interact with the wider community of PhD students across the Southampton Campus through academic, sporting and cultural events.

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. Computer simulations will benefit from Southampton’s high performance computing cluster Iridis, one of the largest supercomputers in the UK. A PhD at the ORC has enabled our past graduates to make successful careers in academia, in national scientific laboratories, and as scientists or business leaders in industry. Our research papers, patents, spin-off companies and these successful alumni taken together place Southampton amongst the top institutes worldwide.

Key facts

Entry requirements: first or upper second-class degree or equivalent
Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2018 but earlier applications are very welcome.
Duration: typically 3.5 years (full-time)
Funding: full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.
Assessment: eight-and 16-month reports and viva voce determine progression to PhD; progression reports, viva voce and thesis examination
Start date: Negotiable

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