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EPSRC DTP studentship - Chip-scale environmental control technologies

University of Cambridge - Department of Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cambridge
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: See advert text
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th November 2018
Closes: 15th March 2019
Reference: NM17333

Reference: NM17333
Closing date: 15 March 2019

Advert text:

Novel microsystems are key enabling technologies with applications to healthcare, automotive, aerospace and information and communication technologies (ICT) sectors. Emerging technologies based on highly sensitive miniaturised detectors (e.g. those based on nonlinear and quantum effects) are often also sensitive to specific environmental effects and therefore require controls on environmental conditions to be imposed for optimal operation. The recent advances in vacuum packaging (both at the wafer-level and chip-level), temperature control, and EM shielding at the chip scale make it much more feasible to access physical effects not otherwise accessible at more conventional length scales with minimal resource/energy overhead. For example, the very small thermal mass of micro/nanoscale devices allows for energy-efficient methods for oven control to be established, limiting the detrimental effects of thermal drift.

This project will build upon existing approaches in our group to develop enabling technologies for chip-scale control and compensation of environmental effects, with application to oven-controlled MEMS sensors, and cryogenically cooled oscillators and quantum devices. Expected outcomes from the project include deriving (1) a thorough and holistic understanding of the sensitivities of mechanical properties of MEMS devices to temperature and pressure, (2) development of low-power, chip-scale ovenisation and cooling technologies to enable a new class of high-precision microsystems, (3) evaluation of vacuum packaging technologies for MEMS, (4) applying the insight gained to the design of high-precision MEMS temperature (micro-K sensitivities) and pressure (Pa sensitivities) sensors.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree in Engineering, Applied Physics or related subject. Candidates will require to have demonstrated previous background in mechanical design, physics, electronics, control systems, with an interest in MEMS and other chip-scale technologies.

EPSRC DTP studentships are fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for UK students or provide fees only for EU students from outside the UK. Further details about eligibility can be found at:

To apply for this studentship, please send your two page CV including details of academic grades and previous research experience to Prof. Ashwin A. Seshia to arrive no later than 15 March 2019.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £60 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via: The final deadline for PhD applications is 30 June 2019, although it is advisable to apply earlier than this.

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