Projects 2017/2018 Entry


Research projects are offered in the science and technology of sensing and measurement, across the traditional disciplines of Physics, Engineering, Chemistry and life sciences and across all domains of sensing and measurement: including electrical, optical and electromagnetic, radiation, gravity and acceleration, chemical and biochemical; for both imaging and single pixel-measurements.

Please see below for a list of the projects available at The University of Edinburgh and The University of Glasgow:

*  Indicates company sponsorship. All projects include the possibility of a summer internship with a company.


University of Edinburgh Projects


E_SM1_*:Porous metal-organic framework (MOF) materials for chemical sensing: from structural chemistry to device fabrication

First Supervisor: Dr. Stephen Moggach (School of Chemistry, Edinburgh)
Second Supervisor:  Prof. Anita Jones (School of Chemistry, Edinburgh)/ Dr. Adam Stokes (school of Engineering, Edinburgh)

Metal-organic frameworks, commonly referred to as MOFs, are porous materials which have been investigated for a variety of potential applications, such as gas capture and storage, catalysis and sensing. By using a combination of in-situ X-ray diffraction and optical spectroscopy, we plan to exploit the unique analyte-responsive properties of porous MOFs for applications in chemical sensing. The most promising materials will be incorporated into microfluidic optical sensing devices to develop intelligent and integrated sensing systems. This project spans from materials synthesis and characterisation through to integrated device fabrication.

Notes: This project is part of an ongoing collaboration between Dr Ross Forgan (Glasgow) and Dr Stephen Moggach (Edinburgh), and a new collaboration with Prof. Anita Jones (Edinburgh) and Dr Adam Stokes (Edinburgh). This is a truly multidisciplinary project, with expertise in synthetic chemistry, diffraction and optical measurements, and device fabrication.  We therefore have the ability to create state-of-the art porous materials, test their properties and incorporate them into intelligent integrated sensing systems within this project.

E_RH4_: * High performance 3D Imaging System using advanced CMOS SPADs

First Supervisor: Professor Robert Henderson, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor:  Prof Ian Underwood, School of Engineering

The CMOS Sensors Group within the IMNS at UEDIN has, in collaboration with STMicro, developed CMOS SPAD technology, CMOS SPAD devices and, frequently in collaboration with others, application–specific CMOS SPAD arrays and deployed and characterised them in systems. We have identified short- to medium-range 3D Imaging using CMOS SPADs as a promising yet relatively unexplored application. In this project we plan, in collaboration (possibly with STMicro as a technology collaborator) with a company (yet to be finalised as we are talking to several with different applications in mind) to develop a short- to medium-range 3D Imaging System (3D-IS) for a specific application. The 3D-IS system will use some of the world’s most advanced CMOS SPAD devices recently or soon to be available within the CMOS Sensors Group thus ensuring state of the art performance.

E_JOJ_1 : * Magnetic sensing of molecular materials with tuneable liquid crystal lasers

First Supervisor: Dr. J. Olof Johansson (School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh)
Second Supervisor: Dr. Philip J.W. Hands 
(School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh)

Magnetic materials have completely changed how we have accessed and made use of information during the last century. A continued development of new magnetic materials and new ways of controlling them is urgently needed so that we can make the most of large data sets, which will improve many aspects of our lives such as health care, government, logistics and will reduce global energy consumption. We will explore ways to use new types of laser sources in order to study and manipulate the magnetisation of thin films of novel molecular materials. By producing layers of differently coloured films, we will be able to use the unique colour of each layer as a fingerprint to record the magnetisation in each layer. This is an exciting approach to develop the fundamental understanding of how magnetic materials interact with light.  






E_PJWH_2 : * Chemical sensing with lasing microfluidic droplets of chiral nematic liquid crystals

First Supervisor: Dr Philip J. W. Hands, School of Engineering
Second Supervisors: Dr. Oliver Henrich (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)

Liquid crystals are a fascinating phase of matter, consisting of molecules that self-organise into complex 3D micro- and nano-structures, whilst retaining their liquid form. The chemical and physical interactions at the interfaces between liquid crystals and their surrounding medium (e.g. air, glass, water) have enormous influence upon liquid crystal alignment and their macroscopic optical properties, and can therefore be used for sensing of chemical and biological species.

In this project, we will emulsify liquid crystals into microdroplets within an immiscible fluid, thus maximising their sensing surface area. To transduce their response to a measurable signal, we make our droplets from dye-doped chiral nematic liquid crystals, which have the ability to emit tuneable laser light when suitably optically excited.  When test analytes are introduced into the medium surrounding the droplets, the lasing properties will therefore be strongly affected.  The critical nature of the many properties of laser emission (e.g. intensity, efficiency, wavelength, threshold, linewidth, etc.) is anticipated to provide a unique fingerprint for both quantitative and qualitative chemical and biological sensing.

The project will be experimental in nature, working in the School of Engineering primarily with microfluidics, lasers and microscopy. However, it will also involve collaboration with theorists at the School of Physics and Astronomy, who will be providing simulation data to help understand the sensing behaviour of these lasing microdroplets.

E_PJWH_3 : * Wireless, wearable pressure sensors for sports equipment and medical compression clothing
First Supervisor: Dr Philip J. W. Hands, School of Engineering
Second Supervisors: Prof. Marc P.Y. Desmulliez  (Heriot Watt)

Gradient compression garments are widely used in medicine (for embolism prevention and burns recovery) and in sports clothing, but their efficacy has not been rigorously scrutinised. This lack of information is due partly to the absence of a suitable pressure sensing system, capable of reliably mapping the low pressures exerted by such clothing, whilst being practical enough (i.e. low-cost, flexible, small, with minimal wiring) to be used in clinical or sporting environment.

In this collaborative project between Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Universities, and in partnership with sports equipment manufacturers, the student will develop wearable and wireless pressure sensors, consisting of flexible micro-fabricated passive resonant electrical components. The project will also include the development of a hand-held wireless reader system for remote multiplexed data acquisition of many distributed sensors.  Collaborative opportunities also exist with textiles experts to integrate sensors into clothing and equipment.

This applications-focussed interdisciplinary project is at the interface of physics, chemistry, materials and electronics/electrical engineering.  The student will work in a variety of environments, including microfabrication cleanrooms and electronics labs, and will collaborate closely with both industrial and academic colleagues.


(Images below):

E_TA_1: * A Wearable Low Power Radio Frequency Head Imaging Device for Medical Diagnostics and Monitoring

First Supervisor: Prof. Tughrul Arslan (School of Engineering University of Edinburgh)
Second Supervisor: Dr. Jiabin Jia/ Dr. Adam Stokes (School of Engineering University of Edinburgh)

In this research, the development of a wearable device with a new Radio Frequency based sensor will be investigated for future biomedical imaging applications. The proposed wearable device aims to provide constant monitoring of people’s health condition via wireless connection. This device could be worn by patients with stroke and other health condition history as well as people involved in high risk sports. By identifying those diseases/conditions earlier, proper treatments could be provided. Several material and fabrication technologies will be explored such as 3-D printing and conductive inkjet printing technologies in addition to commonly used photolithography technique. The sensor design would have to meet several requirements such as ultra-wideband characteristic, flexibility and low power and area so that it could be integrated into the proposed wearable device. Effective characterisation techniques will be investigated based on reflection coefficient and transmission coefficient measurements.

E_AM_2:*Using hydrogels to produce microelectrode sensors

The project will focus on a fundamental understanding and systematic development of hydrogels on electrodes, with the goal of forming enhanced biosensors. The project will encompass synthesis of gelling materials, the formation of gels on microfabricated electrochemical arrays, characterisation by electrochemical, optical imaging and rheological methods, and the formation of enhanced biosensor systems. The student will work both in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and acquire multidisciplinary skills and training including electrochemistry, hydrogel formation and characterisation, rheological and imaging methods microfabrication and biosensor production and characterisation.

First supervisor: Prof Andy Mount, School of Chemistry
Second supervisors: Prof Dave Adams
E_JT_2 : * Skin-surface Sensing System for Real-time Health Monitoring

First Supervisor: Dr. Jonathan Terry (School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh)
Second Supervisor: Prof. Andrew Mount  
(School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh)

There has been considerable activity in recent years to develop non-invasive wearable diagnostic, fitness and lifestyle monitoring technology. While physical measurements, such as heart rate monitoring, have proven successful the next step to biochemical measurement of body analytics has proven to be more difficult. This project aims to develop wearable skin-surface technology mounted in a band or self-adhesive patch that enables continuous monitoring of a range of body analytes.  The research will be undertaken in collaboration with nanosensing device manufacturer, Nanoflex Ltd. ( using the highly sensitive nanoelectrode sensors they have developed in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh.


E_AM_1: Innovative Electrochemical Sensor Development Utilising Inkjet/Printing Drop on Demand (DoD) Technology


First supervisor: Prof Andy Mount, School of Chemistry
Second supervisors: Dr Dimitrios Kampouris, School of Chemistry and Dr Jon Terry, School of Engineering
Low printing speeds and issues on the printing quality, according to criteria set by the Electronic industry, limit the wide use of IJP as a manufacturing tool.  The project explores possible pathways which couldovercome these challenges and studies these pathways on the electrochemical sensor development by IJP technique.
Further Information:
The aim of the project is the development of electrochemical sensors, utilizing the inkjet printed technology (Drop on Demand DoD), on various substrates (polymer, paper silicon, arbitrary). The project will focus on the development of 3 electrode sensors (working, reference and counter electrode), with the end goal being a multi (working) electrode array sensor , utilizing IJP technology, for the simultaneous monitoringof various analytes, through the functionalization of different working electrodes on the multi electrode array.
Inkjet printing (IJP) technology is a very promising tool for the manufacturing industry.  Electronic industry utilizes IJP for the manufacturing of LED’s and exploits the applicability of the technique for the manufacturing of printed/plastic electronics, photovoltaic cells for power generation, sensors etc.
The IJP technique is quite competitive with the conventional printing techniques due to its versatility (no need for masks or screen patterns) and its accurate and reproducible delivery of the ink under digital control. It is also quite important that it is a non-contact printing method, which is quite useful for theelectronic industry and there is a minimum waste of ink.
The main limit the technique face, is the low volume of printing. The problem lies to the low printing speeds and the lower, to the industry set standards, printing quality criteria.  All these problems preventing the IJP technique from dominating the area of manufacturing in electronic industry can lie to three mainlimits:
  •  While lots of research has been conducted on the delivery of the drop size and shape, it seems that more and more increasingly important is the landing and spreading behaviour of the droplet on the substrate and especially of the dissolved material (pigment) in the droplet and the pattern it creates on the substrate.
  • There are certain constraints of the ink formulation used for IJP. One of the limits for the IJP technology is the slow delivery of the printing material which lies on the low concentration of the pigment (dissolved material) in the ink used. The low pigment concentration in the ink formulation and the slow drying solvents used in IJP (to prevent clogging of the nozzles) allows some non-linear processes to occur at the drop once landed  on the substrate such as the Marangoni-effect (coffee ring stain) which gives rise to an uneven distribution of the final material (the dissolved material gathers at the edges of the drop). This is a significant problem for the electronic industry (and especially for the sensor development) since the current flows through the edges of the pattern decreasing significantly its conductivity and in combination with gaps in the pattern, it transforms IJP technology of no functional use for the electronic industry.
  • Only few ink formulations have been developed with good resistivity values of the tracks printed. Ag (nanoparticles or precursors) ink formulations are the only inks produced with high content of pigment (>10%w/w), they have reached 60%w/w levels, and a resistivity of the printed tracks reaching few μΩcm after depositing more than 10 layers of the ink (10 passes).  Other inks used for sensing applications (or generally within the electronic industry) is graphene (including composites of graphene) with pigment content 2%w/v, and resistivity values of the printed tracks of few mΩcm after depositing more than 10 layers of the ink (10 passes). Polythiophene (2%w/v pigment content) ink formulations have reached resistivity values within the region of 500Ωcm. Limits on the type of the pigment materials and their concentration in the ink formulation limits the application of IJP on sensor development.
The project will study three themes focused on key aspects of the sensor development utilizing the IJP technology:  The formulation of various electrode materials and their impact on the rheology and jetting behaviour of the printing fluid; controlling the spreading behaviour of the drop delivered through IJP on various substrates and explore post-impact processes (thermal annealing, chemistry treatment etc) that determine the structure and functionality of the printed patterns; exploring the effect of the design of the multimicroelectrode arrays (MMEA), utilized by the IJP technique (pattern prototyping digital controlled), on the electroanalytical performance of the arrays.


E_AW_1: Characterisation of magnetic films for integrated micro-components and sensors
First supervisor: Prof Anthony Walton, School of Engineering
Second supervisor: Dr Jon Terry, School of Engineering
This PhD project has the challenge of making it possible to fully integrate magnetic components (such as inductors) directly on top of silicon integrated circuits (More than Moore).  It will involve the development fabrication of strain sensors and other test structures in conjunction advanced metrology tools to wafer mapping parameters such as composition (XRF), Young’s modulus (nanoindentation), resistivity, permeability and stress and these measurements will be used to first quantify the composition of the films and then investigate the mechanisms to minimise the stress levels resulting from different heat treatment regimes.
Further Information:
More than Moore technology (MtMT), which involves the integration of new materials and processes with standard integrated circuit (IC) technology, is becoming increasingly important.   One of the key elements required for the successful MtMT integration of inductors, switches and sensors with ICs is the capability to deposit and characterise magnetic materials with the desired properties.  In particular high permeability and low losses are key parameters as is the need to optimise the deposition process to also ensure low stress levels in the deposited films.   This project will build upon extensive expertise at the SMC and will involve the further development of electrical and optical test structures to help optimise the process as well as wafer mapping the film composition and Young’s modulus.  An example test structure is shown in figure 1.
2016 E3 - Anthony Walton2016 E3 - Anthony Walton 2
Fig. 1. Strain test structure used to characterise the film strain in Permalloy (NiFe). Fig. 2 Simple micro-inductor / coil (Top), Coil Cross-section (Bottom)
The project will be based in the SMC where there are world class facilities for both fabricating and characterising the technology on 200mm silicon wafers.  These include two 200mm commercial electroplating machines and the ability to wafer map film composition using XRF, with a more recent addition being an automated nanoindenter that can rapidly wafer map Young’s modulus.  Having fully characterised the materials and optimised the process and strain sensor structures the final element of the project will be exploit this knowledge to fabricate sensor coils and inductors compatible with CMOS IC technology.
E_AW_2 :Development and Characterisation of Nano Electrode Arrays for Electrochemical Sensing
First supervisor: Prof Anthony Walton, School of Engineering
Second supervisor: Prof Andrew Mount, School of Chemistry
This project is at the forefront of developments in nano electrode arrays, which have many attractive characteristics compared with micro and macro electrodes.  It will involve developing and characterising of nanoelectrode arrays with different architectures using the state-of-the-art microfabrication tools available within the University of Edinburgh’s cleanroom facilities.  The resulting sensor systems have applications in wide ranging areas which include healthcare and environmental monitoring.
Unlike other methods of fabricating nanoelectrode, which employ sub-micron resolution photolithography described the Microsquare Nanoband Edge Electrode (MNEE) architecture is based upon micron level lithography, has reduced fabrication complexity and gives enhanced electroanalytical features, with independent array elements displaying steady-state response.  It also has the added electroanalytical benefit that the electrical connection is not solely via the nanoband ends, which ensures there is negligible iR drop along the band length and makes the system insensitive to band breakage during fabrication and/or operation.
This novel architecture, with its low cost base provides many exciting opportunities and will be the starting point for this project, which will be at the forefront of developing and characterising multi-layer and multi-material architectures for a range of applications.
2016 E4 - Anthony Walton
(a) Schematic diagram of the microsquare nanoband edge electrode (MNEE) array architecture, with Si3N4 and SiO2 insulation sandwiching a Pt nanoband in each square hole (inset), (b) An SEM image of a cleaved and polished cross section through a square hole in the fabricated structure. The thin Pt nanoband can be seen running horizontally leading to the etched area in the left of the picture; (c) An optical microscope image of the fabricated microsquare array.
E_AW_3 :Development of Microelectrode Sensor Systems for Operation in Harsh Environments
First supervisor: Prof Anthony Walton, School of Engineering
Second supervisor: Prof Andy Mount, School of Chemistry
There are many applications that require the capability to operate within harsh environments.  This includes the oil and gas industry (with temperatures down well-heads of over 200oC as well as in the nuclear industry for reprocessing spent fuels to deliver safe, reliable, economic and sustainable nuclear energy for both  present and future reactor systems.  In particular there is a pressing worldwide need to develop specific spent fuel reprocessing technology suitable for these reactors, as well as for dealing with legacy waste fuel from old reactors.
Work to be undertaken
This PhD project in Engineering and Chemistry offers challenging opportunities for a bright and motivated individual who can work both independently and as an integral part of a research team. The successful applicant will have responsibility for the development, fabrication and characterisation of electrochemical based  micro and nano electrode based sensor systems to operate in harsh environment operationg at temperatures upto 550oC. The project will use state-of-the-art microfabrication tools available within the University of Edinburgh’s cleanroom facilities to fabricate sensor devices. These devices will then be characterised using our electrical and electrochemical test suites. The applicant should have an excellent undergraduate degree in either Electrical Engineering, Chemistry or related discipline, and should have experience of practical laboratory work at undergraduate level.
2016 E5 - Anthony Walton.png2016 E5 - Anthony Walton 2.png
Right, wafer with fabricated electrodes. Left, microelectrode design
E_AW_4 :Development of temperature and pressure sensing technology to characterise and monitor the performance of microchannels using the boiling of liquids to cool microelectronic devices
First supervisor: Prof Anthony Walton, School of Engineering
Second supervisor: Prof Khellil Sefiane, School of Engineering
This  PhD project has the challenge of integrating temperature and pressure sensors in the bottom of cooling channels so that their performance can be characterised when using liquid boiling as device cooling mechanism.  This project will for the first time provide engineers with the ability for simultaneous measurements/visualisation of bubble formation, and the temperature and pressure profile along a channel.
Further Information:
The background to the project is that advances in the manufacturing processes and the subsequent use of increased small-scale electronic devices operating at high power densities have brought about a dramatic demand for thermal management systems to provide extremely intensive localised cooling, and the estimated value associated with this thermal management industry is predicted to be $8.6 billion by 2015.  Potential applications include electronic equipment, supercomputers, power devices, electric vehicles, photovoltaics, avionics and radar devices. The scientific and technical problems are also relevant to miniature fuel cells and gas-liquid reactors.
In such systems, the effective heat transfer area is typically only a few cm2 and the cooling requirements range from heat fluxes of one to several MW/m2. Spatially non-uniform and unsteady dissipative heat generation in such devices are detrimental to their performance and longevity.  Liquid cooling systems, using complex channel designs, are only capable of achieving heat fluxes 0.7 MW/m2 and none of the other techniques (pool boiling, liquid jet impingement or sprays, curved channel or rotating stirrer cooling, heat pipes or capillary pumped loops, thermo-acoustic refrigeration and thermoelectric devices) have reached either a state of laboratory development or verification that they can deliver heat fluxes above 1 MW/m2.
It is becoming clear that boiling in microchannels offers the best prospect for effectively meeting the needs of high heat flux devices and removing the heat transfer barriers currently limiting product developments. Heat sinks comprising many microchannels in parallel provide high ratio of coolant-to-thermal contact area. Additionally, flow boiling in microchannels enables much higher heat fluxes and greater uniformity of temperature. In a closed system an equally compact and effective condenser is needed for ultimate heat rejection to ambient air, or water in naval systems or by radiation in space applications. Microchannel condensers employing multichannel rectangular section tubes not only provide enhancement of the condensing side heat-transfer coefficient but enable very effective external finning arrangements. Therefore, flow boiling in microchannels, combined with condensation in a closed circulating system, offers a promising way of meeting the intensive cooling requirement for present and next-generation systems. However, significant difficulties remain to be overcome. At high heat flux, nucleate boiling gives way to film boiling in which the surface becomes blanketed by vapour vastly increasing the thermal resistance and leading to catastrophic rise in surface temperature (dry-out and critical heat flux (CHF)).
Other difficulties relate to flow instabilities and flow reversal, which can reduce achievable heat transfer rates and increase pressure drop.   This project will provide devices which will better characterise the performance of such systems, overcoming the problem of fabricating sensors in the bottom of cooling channels.  Figures 1 to 3 show examples of devices designed and fabricated in the SMC cleanrooms.  These devices have integrated sensors and heaters and the challenge in the PhD project is to add calibrated pressure sensors. 2016 E6 - Anthony Walton1.png2016 E6 - Anthony Walton2.png
Right, wafer with three devices with 9 integrated heaters in their cooling channel. The heating element is fabricated on the back of the wafer. Left, device with an integrated heater and temperature sensors. The attached wires power up the heater.
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Single channel device with integrated temperature sensors in its characterisation jig.
E_MB_1 :Sensing and measuring bacteria on in-dwelling catheters
First supervisor: Prof Mark Bradley, School of Chemistry
Second supervisors: Prof Andy Mount, School of Chemistry and Prof Alan Murry, School of Engineering
Catheters are hugely used throughout medicine, however they frequently become contaminated with biofilms. This PhD project is focused on the use of “SmartReporters” that will sense and measure in real-time bacterial colonisation of ureteral catheters.
2016 E7 - Mark Bradley1
2016 E7 - Mark Bradley2
Images of infected (top) and non-infected (bottom) catheters. The ambition of the PhD project is to be able to sense and measure this in vivo.
E_CC_1 :Microanalytical platform allowing analysis of 3D tissue cultures for drug discovery
First supervisor: Dr Colin Campbell, School of Chemistry
Second supervisors: Dr Adam Stokes, School of Engineering and Dr Dave Clarke, School of Chemistry
In this multidisciplinary project the student will work with engineers and chemists to develop a new microfluidic device for the measurement of drug and biomolecule profiles in 3D cell cultures. Interfacing the microfluidic device with cutting-edge analytical instrumentation will allow us to measure molecular profiles with both spatial and temporal resolution. The device will ultimately be used to measure the toxicity and efficacy of drug candidates.
2016 E8 - Colin Campbell 1
Figure 1 Helium Ion Microscope image of a breast cancer spheroid.
2016 E8 - Colin Campbell 2
Figure 2 Schematic of a spheroid showing the hypoxic core, proliferative zone and senescent zone.
E_IU_1 :Smart 2D Ultrasonic Transducer Array
First supervisor: Prof Ian Underwood, School of Engineering
Second supervisor: Prof Sandy Cochran, School of Engineering and Dr Jonathan Terry, School of Engineering
Ultrasonic transducers are prevalent today in imaging and surgery. The purpose of this project is to develop an ultrasonic transducer in a 2D array format, integrated on a CMOS active-matrix driver array for use in acoustic tweezing applications such as cell manipulation and targeted drug delivery. This project will focus on the CMOS active matrix design and the More than Moore Integration of the ultrasonic and microelectronic technologies. There will be close collaboration with a linked PhD project at the University of Glasgow that will major on the application(s) of the device.
The main stages of this project will be:
  • Feasibility study
  • Prototype specification
  • Active matrix IC design, and fabrication
  • Post-process transducer development
  • Device fabrication and characterisation
2016 E10 - Ian Underwood
Figure 1. Complex cell patterning of fluorescently labelled mouse myoblasts using Sonotweezers
E_EC_1 :Energy Harvesting for Biosensors with 2D Materials
First supervisor: Prof Eleanor Campbell, School of Chemistry
Second supervisor: Prof Alan Murray, School of Engineering
Sensor technology is developing rapidly and is able to provide constant monitoring of e.g. the state of human health. However the detection process and the transmission of a monitoring signal require a source of energy. It is often not convenient to provide this in the form of a battery that requires regular replacement. Energy harvesting systems based on piezoelectric nanomaterials are one solution to this problem. Motion of these structures, produced by ambient temperature, vibrations or natural motion, can provide enough energy to operate miniaturised sensor systems. In this project, we will develop an energy harvesting system based on the piezoelectric properties of atomically thin layers of materials known as transition metal dichalcogenides and integrate this with biosensors for monitoring tumour cells.
2016 E11 - Eleanor Campbell
Piezoelectric effect in monolayer MoS2 (figure from Nature 514 (2014) 470).


E_SS_1 :Development of impedance sensing and measurement techniques for biomedical applications
First supervisor: Dr Stewart Smith, School of Engineering
Second supervisor: Dr Jiabin Jia, School of Engineering and Pierre Bagnaninchi, School of Clinical Sciences
Sensing the complex impedance of biological material such as cells or tissue, in-vivo or in the lab, is a powerful technique which has a long history in biomedical engineering.  A recent PhD project at the University of Edinburgh has demonstrated the application of impedance sensing in cell based studies of disease models in retinal and liver cells.  This PhD project would follow up on this promising work to develop new methods for applying impedance sensing in biomedical applications.  Prospective students can expect to gain experience of working across disciplinary boundaries, and to work closely with collaborators in medical research.
 2016 E12 - Stewart Smith
Figure shows human stem cell cultures, impedance measurements have been shown to be a non-invasive, label free method to characterise stem cells and track their differentiation into other cell types.
(Embryonic Stem Cells by Nissim Benvenisty, derivative work by Vojtech.dostal, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic Licence (CC-BY-2.5), (
E_RC_1 :*Micro-sensors for adaptive acoustic transduction
First Supervisor: Professor Rebecca Cheung, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor:Dr. Enrico Mastropaolo, School of Engineering,  Dr Michael Newton, School of Music

The research project involves the development and implementation of an adaptable microelectromechanical (MEM) acoustic transducer inspired by the behaviour of the human ear.  The detection of the acoustic signal and its conversion into the electrical domain can be performed with resonant gate transistors (RGTs). The active cochlear mechanism of the human ear could be replicated by integrating an array of RGTs with a feedback control system to operate as a selective real-time adaptive multichannel microphone. The potential outcome of this project will have tremendous impact on the fundamental understanding of sound interpretation as well as improvements in hearing aid technology.


E_PJWH_1 :Printed polymer-based electrical biosensors for micro-RNA detection and point-of-care disease diagnostics


First Supervisor: Dr Philip J. W. Hands, School of Engineering
Second Supervisors: Dr Michael P. Shaver, School of Chemistry
Circulating micro-RNAs can be found in a wide range of bodily fluids including blood, saliva and urine, and therefore offer great potential as a new source of biomarkers for the early diagnosis and prognosis of disease (particularly cancer) through simple, non-invasive testing. Current methods for micro-RNA detection are expensive and slow, making them unsuited to point-of-care diagnostic applications.  However, recent advances at the University of Edinburgh have lead to the development of new semi-disposable polymer-based micro-RNA sensor technology, potentially capable of low-cost medical screening and diagnosis.  In this project, the student will work within a multidisciplinary team across Chemistry and Engineering, and in collaboration with sponsoring industry, developing optical and electrical aspects of the sensor technology.  This includes the development of ink-jet printed micro-RNA sensor arrays, and the optimisation of optical and electrical transduction techniques for multiplexed sensor array performance.
Further information about the electrical biosensor technology will be available upon request closer to the start date, but is currently subject to commercial confidentiality restrictions.  This multidisciplinary project will have an engineering/applied physics/bioelectronics focus, but will involve significant collaboration with academic and industrial colleagues with polymer chemistry and biochemistry backgrounds. 
Micro rna sensors for detection of acute leukaemia
Prototype low-cost micro-RNA sensors for the detection of acute leukaemia.


E_RH_1 :Miniature SPAD Sensors for Fluorescence Lifetime Endoscopy


First Supervisor: Professor Robert Henderson, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Dr Kev Dhaliwal, School of Clinical Sciences

This project would look to extend the capabilities of existing endoscopic cameras (available from companies such as Awaiba and Ominivision) to greater sensitivity, higher dynamic range and time-resolved sensing for fluorescence lifetime and Raman. This will be achieved using single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) arrays in CMOS. The CMOS Sensors and Systems Group at University of Edinburgh have recently demonstrated SPAD cameras with the world’s smallest pitch, largest array size and highest fill-factor enabling a number of exciting new applications.
The first part of the project will involve assembling and testing the world’s first time-resolved endoscopic camera for fluorescence imaging. Designed with the Proteus project ( a new 80×40 SPAD sensor with 1mm x 1mm chip size has been demonstrated using technology accessed through the ENIAC –POLIS project ( The student would design a miniature printed circuit board for the camera (few millimetre in size) and arrange for electrical power and data connection to be delivered over a suitable cable to the camera. Optical system design requires a suitable laser source to be delivered via optic fibre (continuous-wave and pulsed) and to design and mount a miniature lensing system on the camera. The final endoscopic system would then be demonstrated with our partners in the Queen’s Medical Research Institute.
There is scope in the latter part of the project for the student to design a revised version of the CMOS SPAD camera chip. The goals of this would be to minimising the number of off-chip connections by integrating other auxiliary components such as oscillator, timing generators and power management on-chip. The chip would ideally benefit from through-silicon-via ball-bonding to eliminate external bond wire connections.
The project can benefit from our research collaboration agreement from STMicroelectronics in access to latest CMOS image sensor manufacturing technology.


E_RH_2 :Stacked Positron Emission Tomography Sensors


First Supervisor: Professor Robert Henderson, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Dr Ahmet Erdogan

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a functional imaging technique that is used to observe metabolic processes in the body through nuclear imaging of the decay processes of radioactive isotopes injected into patients as biologically-active tracer molecules. PET systems detect pairs of gamma rays emitted indirectly by positron-emitting radionuclide tracer molecules. Three-dimensional images of tracer concentration within the body are then constructed by computer analysis.
PET scanners are conventionally constructed by arranging large arrays of scintillator crystals in a ring around a patient. The scintillators stop the gamma rays converting them into flashes of blue wavelength visible light which can then be detected by ultra-sensitive optical detectors such as photomultiplier tubes (PMTs). In recent years, there is a drive to replace PMTs with a solid-state technology such as silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) based on arrays of SPAD detectors. This move is motivated by the desire to reduce cost and size of these scanners as well as to render them compatible with the intense magnetic fields of MRI which disturb vacuum-tube technologies such as PMTs.
The University of Edinburgh has been engaged in the latest evolution of solid-state PET scanners ( which is to develop smart digital SiPMs (dSiPMs) based on CMOS technology. This PhD project will propose and integrate new architectures of smart dSiPM in the latest 3D stacked CMOS manufacturing technologies accessed through the ENIAC-POLIS project ( The student will build on developments within the CMOS Sensors and Systems group of the world’s fastest time-to-digital converter (“FlashTDC”) and embed these within triggering and counting systems for realisation of a tileable PET scanner module. The sensors will be electro-optically tested within our laboratories and where possible in collaboration within the nuclear testing facilities of our SPADnet partners. The project can benefit from our research collaboration agreement from STMicroelectronics and support from the Quantum Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging (

E_RH_3 :CMOS SPAD Quantum Entanglement Imager
First Supervisor: Professor Robert Henderson, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Professor Miles Padgett, School of Physics and Astronomy (Glasgow)

SPAD sensors designed within the University of Edinburgh CMOS Sensors and Systems have recently been employed by researchers in Heriot-Watt and Glasgow Universities in Quantum Imaging experimental research demonstrating improved performance over existing commercial image sensors such as EMCCD or sCMOS cameras. They exploit the unique dual properties of SPAD image sensor of both high temporal resolution and single photon sensitivity. This allows to image below the photon shot noise limit presently limiting all imaging with uncorrelated light sources.
There is now an opportunity to design a low-cost, custom CMOS sensor to facilitate such quantum measurements.. The proposed smart-SPAD entanglement image sensor will filter out quantum entangled sub-shot noise events by using highly parallel on-chip processing of events from a high-fill-factor SPAD array. The imager would report only entangled events occurring within 100’s ps time scales of each other in a focal plane array of SPADs avoiding excessive off-chip processing and allowing real-time imaging of such states. The ultra-high speed processing achievable on-chip will permit the camera to process these at orders of magnitude higher throughput than the current low-light image sensor technology. This will have an additional advantage of allowing the cameras to operate with significant background light levels or SPAD dark count rates in practical environments. Such principles have been demonstrated within our work in PET scanners (quantum entangled positrons but never with visible light emission from crystal systems and lasers)
The student will design the entanglement imager in the latest nanometer CMOS node proposing fast parallel on-chip event-correlation electronics. This application also requires very high detection efficiencies and so research to progress our highest fill-factor SPAD arrays (66% achieved) or employ backside-illumination or 3D chip stacking will be involved. He/she work with groups in Glasgow and Heriot-Watt Universities to develop suitable specifications and in the testing of the camera in applications.
The project can benefit from our research collaboration agreement from STMicroelectronics and support from the Quantum Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging (

University of Glasgow Projects

G_GH_2_:* Field testing a MEMS gravimeter

First Supervisor: Prof. Giles Hammond, School of Physics and Astronomy
Second Supervisor: Prof Douglas J Paul, School of Engineering

Over the last 3.5 years researchers at the University of Glasgow (School of Physics & Astronomy and School of Electrical & Nanoscale Engineering) have been developing a MEMS gravimeter. The device has already shown sufficient sensitivity and stability to make a first measurement of the earth tides; changes in the local acceleration of gravity caused by the elastic deformation of the earth, originating from the tidal potential of the moon and sun.

This project will perform field trials of the MEMS gravimeter and comparison tests with commercial instruments. Particular areas of research will focus on thermal control of the miniaturised package via a Peltier heater/cooler and robustness testing (field trials/shake tests) to determine the cumulative failure statistics of the device and techniques to improve robustness (e.g. development of limit stops and locking mechanisms).



G_PS_1_:*Advanced In-hand 3D Sensing for Dexterous Robotic Manipulation

 First Supervisor: Dr Paul Siebert University of Glasgow
Second Supervisor: Professor Andy Harvey/Gerardo Aragon-Camarasa (CS)

The Shadow Robot Company and the School of Computing Science within the University of Glasgow are collaborating through an Innovate UK project to develop advanced 3D sensing methods to support dexterous robotic manipulation using Shadow’s advanced robot hand. This collaboration will develop a testbed to allow various types of 3D sensor to be validated using a sensing-processing pipeline that implements a robotic hand-eye manipulation task. A PhD project to extend this collaboration by investigating more advanced optics-based 3D sensing methods combined with state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms and Deep Learning techniques is proposed. The aim of this project is to develop a compact, robust and low-power 3D sensor suitable for being integrated within the robot hand itself in order to guide its operation when performing grasps or exploring a scene to search for objects.

G_PS_2 :* An Optics-based Retina Sensor for Robotics and Egocentric Imaging Applications

First Supervisor: Dr Paul Siebert University of Glasgow
Second Supervisor: Professor Andy Harvey/John Williamson (CS)

Low cost, self-contained, visual sensing is a fundamental requirement for robotics and wearable vision applications. This PhD project is attempting to implement a model of human retinal processing by exploiting zero-power optical processing followed by with digital image transformations which feed Deep Learning neural networks capable of recognising objects or computing image flow or depth information used for guiding/controlling robotic manipulation systems. The benefit of this approach is that it’s ~x100 potential efficiency would allow a compact, integrated advanced robot vision sensor to be implemented on a low-cost smartphone platform or low-power embedded image processing computer.  The project is supported by an internship with the ARM Ltd.



G_SM_1 :Ultra-small, low-power, biopotential recording Integrated Circuit


First Supervisor: Dr Srinjoy Mitra, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Professor David Cumming, School of Engineering
Advances in nanotechnology have not only made ultra-small electronic sensors ubiquitous, but it has also made them permeate the human body. Sensors that record and transmit information from within the central and peripheral nervous system are set to be the future of man-machine interfaces. They have the potential to enable novel methods of diagnostic and therapeutic devices for advances in neuroscience and healthcare. The challenges are many, but the mixed-signal integrated circuits (IC) located right at the signal source determines the overall power consumption and size of such a sensor. Hence, to make them small, robust and with extremely low-power consumption, new approaches to analog instrumentation is necessary.


G_ARH_1 : * CASE studentship in computational imaging for next generation imaging systems

First Supervisor: Professor Andrew Harvey, School of Physics and Astronomy
Second Supervisor: Dr Ik Siong Heng, School of Physics and Astronomy




The last decade has witnessed a revolution in imaging made possible by the development of high-performance electronic detectors and computer processing. The optics within commercial imaging systems have changed little however, but this is about to change. By combining modern optical design and manufacturing with computational image recovery a new class of imaging systems is being developed that enable imaging with capabilities that have not previously been possible; such as imaging with extreme depth of field, the ability to detect range through a single aperture or to form diffraction-limited, wide field-of-view images with very simple optics. The Imaging Concept Group is at the forefront of these developments.
The PhD student will research new concepts and capabilities in Computational Imaging in collaboration with other PhD students and postdocs within the Imaging Concepts Group. S/he will collaborate with Optical Designers and Systems Engineers at Qioptiq, St Asaph to develop demonstration systems for possible manufacture by Qioptiq. This will involve inventing, developing and applying new concepts in image science, rigorous optical design of systems, development and application of image-recovery algorithms followed by experimental assessment and testing. The student will spend periods working with Optical Designers and Systems Engineers at Qioptiq in St Asaph. The ideal applicant will have experimental and mathematical-modelling skills combined with an enthusiasm for developing a deep physical and mathematical understanding of optical imaging systems.
2016 G23 - Andy Harvey 2
The Imaging Concepts Group consists of about 20 researchers (PhD/EngD students, postdocs, visiting scholars and academics) conducting leading-edge research in advanced imaging techniques and their commercial and biomedical applications.  Research is conducted in newly refurbished laboratories with seven optical tables and ~£1.5M of state-of-the-art optical instrumentation and equipment. Additional information can be found at ICG info and an overview of recent ICG research in computational imaging.
2016 G23 - Andy Harvey 3
Applicants should have a good first degree of equivalent  in a Physical Science or Engineering.
G_JW_1 : * CASE studentship in Quantitative Thermal Conduction Measurement and Imaging at 200nm scale
First Supervisor: Prof. John Weaver, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Dr Phil Dobson, School of Engineering
The performance of modern electronic and optical components is dominated by thermal effects. Modern devices make extensive use of nanostructuring to obtain greatly enhanced optical and electronic properties, but this structuring comes at a significant cost since it reduces the ability of the materials used to conduct away heat. Thermal conduction at the nanoscale is significantly different to that observed at macroscopic distances, being subject to acoustic boundary reflection effects, ballistic conduction, phonon-wavelength dependent scattering and quantized thermal conduction. Since the physics of nanoscale thermal transport is so profoundly different it is necessary to develop new techniques for its measurement.
Nanoscale thermal measurements are often made using “Scanning Thermal Microscopy”, a technique related to Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) in which a thermal sensor is combined with a MEMS AFM sensor to give high resolution measurements of topography and temperature at the same time. This project is concerned with the development and validation of techniques to quantify thermal conduction at the nanoscale using custom AFM probes which have two tips, separated by a few hundred nanometres. The two tips will act as heaters and thermometers, allowing a measurement of the temperature rise from the flow of a known thermal power: Classically this would constitute a measurement of thermal conductivity. Technical objectives are the development of a measurement methodology, determination of the range of validity of the measurement and quantification of errors in measurement with reference to the characteristics of known bulk materials. The project will involve nanofabrication of the advanced sensors in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre combined with the development of the associated instrumentation and measurement techniques.
This project id CASE PhD studentship which offers the opportunity to work with world-leading centres of excellence in developing and applying the most accurate measurement standards, science and technology available and in lithography at the smallest length scales. The project will involve working for a substantial time both in Glasgow and with Dr Alexandre Cuenat of the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, on a project of intense scientific and industrial importance.
The project is a collaborative research studentship between NPL and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrative Sensing and Measurement.
The EPSRC Industrial CASE scheme is described at
The scheme allows for a 4 year PhD, with an enhanced stipend compared to a normal PhD. Funding to cover the costs of travelling to and from the company and any accommodation or subsistence costs for the student while on placement will be provided. The project would be suitable for a student having a First or upper second class honours degree in the areas of physics or electronic engineering, good practical skills and an interest in the industrial application of scientific research.
G_HW_1 : * CASE Studentship in Interferometry techniques for the ESA L3 mission that will probe the Gravitational Universe
First Supervisor: Dr Harry Ward, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow
Second Supervisor:   Dr Ewan Fitzsimons, UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh

This research studentship, aiming to develop technology for space-based detection of gravitational waves, is for collaborative research between UK-ATC (National centre for astronomical technology), the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow and the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Sensing and Measurement.

LISA – the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna – will be the European Space Agency’s third Large-class mission in its Cosmic Vision program and will become the world’s first ever space-based gravitational wave observatory. High sensitivity displacement measurement by optical laser interferometry lies at the very heart of the LISA mission, performed with a resolution of ~10 picometres over multi-gigametre baselines between separate spacecraft. These requirements are challenging, but through a mixture of ground and space-based tests the field is already far advanced in demonstrating their feasibility. In particular, the University of Glasgow (UGL) optical bench (OB) operating in the precursor technology demonstrator mission, LISA Pathfinder, has shown outstanding displacement metrology performance, that is well below that required for the intra-spacecraft measurements in LISA.

The UK Space Agency recently completed a competitive evaluation of proposed nationally funded contributions to L3. This resulted in agreement in principle to fund the optical bench subsystems, capitalising on the Glasgow success in the LISA Pathfinder mission. However the optical bench subsystem for L3 is a major undertaking, with significant increase in technical complexity compared with the OB developed for LISA Pathfinder, but a major increase also in number of payload items to be built. In light of the need for significant up-scaling of capacity, UGL and the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK-ATC) in Edinburgh have agreed to form a teaming arrangement, with in the short to medium term, scientific oversight and underpinning technology developments remaining primarily the province of UGL, with OB design and simulation, and ultimately building, testing and delivery of flight hardware being the prime responsibility of UK-ATC.

The research project will focus on developing various techniques which are essential for the development of the overall LISA optical system. Key topics include: development of analysis methods to determine the impact of stray light on the science measurement; investigations into the design and development of ultra-stable laser beam fibre couplers, and other optical systems, suitable for LISA; and development of alignment and displacement sensors and techniques which are capable of achieving the ultra-high precision required for the build and operation of the LISA optical metrology system.
The project is available for an early start.


G_JC_1 : * Low cost multiplexed DNA Diagnostic Sensors for Infectious Diseases.

First Supervisor: Prof J Cooper ( School of Engineering, University of Glasgow)
Second Supervisor: Dr. Julien Reboud (School of Engineering, University of Glasgow)

Nearly 260m people are infected with schistosomiasis, with >90% of infections found in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide ~3.2b people are at risk of malaria, many also in Sub-Saharan Africa. Both diseases are endemic in the same rural locations and there is difficulty in differentiating symptoms and informing correct diagnosis and treatment. Incorrect diagnosis is known to lead to unnecessary dispensation of drugs leading to increased probability of drug resistance. The rapid, low cost, field based genus specific diagnosis of both diseases within local rural communities, is key to ensure that appropriate administration of the correct drug(s) is carried out and continues until treatment is complete.




G_JC_2 : * New Medical Diagnostic Devices using Mobile Phones

First Supervisor: Prof J Cooper ( School of Engineering, University of Glasgow)
Second Supervisor: Dr. Julien Reboud/ Dr. Manlio Tassieri (School of Engineering, University of Glasgow)

Point-of-care medical testing enables patients to obtain diagnostic results that inform clinical treatment, without visiting a specialist healthcare. Within the developed world this includes “bathroom testing” (eg pregnacy or sexual health) or home management of diseases (eg diabetes). In low and medium income countries (LMIC), the paradigm enables infectious disease testing “in-the-field” in rural areas where there is no specialized access to healthcare professionals. In either case the outcome is the same, namely new technology enabling timely and informed treatment and delivering healthcare benefits without direct access to clinical facilities.

Since their invention in 1973, mobile phones have become ubiquitous with >4.6b unique users (78% of subscriptions are in LMICs). Modern smartphones have ~14 built-in sensors including proximity, pressure, gyroscope as well as heart rate (used for the delivery of healthcare through m-health).   They now also offer an attractive platform for point-of-care medical diagnostics – providing a rechargeable battery, a high resolution camera for imaging, a CPU for processing data and a means of transmitting results (to enable “decision-support” from experts or expert systems).


G4_SMB_1 :New optical techniques for probing molecular chirality
First Supervisor: Professor Stephen M. Barnett, School of Physics and Astronomy
Second Supervisor: Dr Robert P. Cameron, School of Physics and Astronomy
Many molecules possess forms that distinguish them from their mirror images, much like a human hand. These handed, or chiral, molecules are of great importance, owing in particular to the vital role played by molecular chirality in biological function. Sensing chiral molecules and measuring their properties nevertheless remains a challenging task, owing primarily to the smallness of the signals involved. It can also be argued that there stands much more to be learnt about molecular chirality than is offered by the currently adopted techniques. The aim of the project is to tackle these issues by identifying and developing, in theory, new techniques for sensing chiral molecules and measuring their properties.
G_HH_1 : * CMOS-Based Magnetic Resonance Biomedical Sensors

First Supervisor: Dr. Hadi Heidari  ( School of Engineering, University of Glasgow)
Second Supervisor: Prof. David Cumming (School of Engineering, University of Glasgow)

In recent years, growing interest in preventing cardiovascular diseases (CVD) using the dietary fatty acid intake has been paid a lot of attention. In western industrialized countries, the current indications for lipid intake have raised the question of the nature of fatty acid effects on human health. This project will initiate a new multidisciplinary investigation into cardiovascular system and quantitative etermination and analysis of fatty acid chain composition and magnetic resonance spectroscopy using electronic design of CMOS chips.


G_MP_1 :Quantum Enhanced Wavelength Transformation Imaging
First Supervisor:  Professor Miles Padgett, School of Physics and Astronomy
Second Supervisor: TBC
In classical imaging systems the light which illuminates the object that forms the image, e.g. infrared illumination yields an infrared image.  We use quantum entanglement to break this rule, instead using infrared illumination to create an image in a visible beam.  Images in visible light are easy to detect with high-gain, low noise cameras.  The ability to see individual visible photons makes ultra-low illumination possible, exposing fragile object to the least amount of light possible.  We envisage applications ranging from bioscience to semiconductor inspection.
2016 G2 - Miles Padgett
Image of a Wasp Wing, obtained from approximately one photon per pixel.
G_MP_2 :Quantum Inspired Imaging
First Supervisor:  Professor Miles Padgett, School of Physics and Astronomy
Second Supervisor: TBC
Digital cameras are often sold on the basis of the number of pixels they have. At the University of Glasgow we design cameras, not with many millions of pixels but just one.  Use of a single pixel means that low-cost camera can be designed to cover any wavelength from the UV to the infra-red. Application areas range from the detection of gas leaks to the enhancement of imaging through smoke and haze

2016 G3 - Miles Padgett

G_LC_1 :Sensing, Control and Selection of and Growth of Chiral Inorganic Materials
First Supervisor: Professor Lee Cronin, School of Chemistry
Second Supervisor: Professor Miles Padgett, School of Physics and Astronomy
Chemical Robotics for materials growth and assembly by optical control.
In this project we will design, build and utilise a chemical-robotic system for the observation, selection, and directed assembly of chiral inorganic materials. With feedback control we will use chiral spectroscopy to directly selected materials of the desired chirality, see Figure.
2016 G4 - Lee Cronin

Figure. LEFT: Schematic of one of our previous set ups used for optical control of materials. RIGHT: example off the directed growth of an ‘inorganic star’ made from an inorganic tube. The red circle shows the position of the laser spot and the path that the control system directed the laser to take to draw the star is shown.

G_DC_1 :The Multicorder: CMOS sensor technology for chemical synthesis
First Supervisor: Professor David Cumming, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Professor Lee Cronin, School of Chemistry
Microelectronics technology has led to a revolution in computer and communication technology that began almost immediately that the transistor was invented. The exponential rate of technological advancement that is described in Moore’s Law has been propelled by $1Tr of investment over 50 years. However, CMOS technology, which now dominates the microelectronics industry, has proven itself to be immensely versatile. For example, the digital camera chip that uses silicon photodiodes (PD) is now ubiquitous.  More recently CMOS has been exploited to make the large arrays of ion sensitive field effect transistors (ISFET) used in the Ion Torrent and Ion Proton Next Generation sequencing systems. Exciting new opportunities now lie in pursuing non-roadmap “More than Moore” technology to discover and exploit the as yet unfulfilled potential of CMOS in markets and applications that have historically lain outside the realm of microelectronics.
We will explore our capability in the use of CMOS integrated sensor arrays, such as the “proton camera” with the objective of real-time, direct observation of ionic behaviour in chemical reaction dynamics.  This work will entail improvement to existing systems as well as preparation and demonstration of the proposed optically based sensor arrays in this application.
The Cronin group has pioneered novel synthesis techniques that include 3D printing and multichannel flow and microfluidic reactors for the investigation of complex chemical systems and rapid synthesis of complex molecular products.  A speculative objective of the programme will be the possibility of measuring and then producing target therapeutic chemistries in response to measurement and analysis of patient samples.
Eligibility requirements                                                                                                                 To undertake this research, we are seeking a motivated candidate with a good first degree in Chemistry, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, or a cognate discipline. Some knowledge and experience of sensors, experimental work in a chemical context and instrumentation/date acquisition would be an advantage.
G_DC_2 :The Multicorder: Nanophotonics for integrated sensing and imaging
First Supervisor: Professor David Cumming, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: TBC
An opportunity is available to an excellent student to work on nanophotonic physics and engineering to realise a sophisticated biomedical diagnostic system.  The resulting technology will also have applications in new imaging technologies, including quantum enhanced imaging for medical and security applications.
As a research student you will be given the opportunity to work on design and fabrication of novel surface plasmon resonance or metamaterial based structures for photonic signal enhancement.  You will work on chemical functionalization, supported by collaboration with leading chemists and biochemists in the University of Glasgow.  You will also receive full training and the freedom to use the University’s excellent James Watt Nanofabrication Centre where we have state-of-the-art electron beam lithography and associated technologies that underpin our position as world leaders.
You will be a member of the Microsystem Technology group that presently has 9 post-doctoral research fellows, all of whom are active in supporting research student training and development.  You will join a group of peers and share ideas and develop new research ideas as a valued member of a team.
Eligibility requirements
To undertake this research, we are seeking a motivate candidate with a good first degree in Physics, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, or a cognate discipline. Some knowledge and experience of sensors, experimental work in electronics, physics or chemistry, and instrumentation/data acquisition would be an advantage.

G_MK_1 :A new metamatieral sensor for sub-femtomole stereochemical detection
First Supervisor: Dr Malcom Kadodwala, School of Chemistry
Second Supervisor: Dr Donald Maclaren, School of Physics and Astronomy
Drug molecules, both therapeutic and illicit, typically possess a sense of handedness, a property known as chirality. They are conventionally detected and their purity checked using polarimetry techniques that are sensitive to milligram levels. We have recently discovered a new detection method, using chirally-nanostructured oxides, that will improve the chiral sensitivity down to the picogram (million millionth of a gram) level. This project will exploit our discovery to develop a new instrument that is suitable for point of care medical diagnostics and the detection of illegal drugs. The project will be conducted as part of a major new UK-Japan collaboration.
G_ JW_2 :Advanced Antenna Sensors for Optical Nanomeasurement
First Supervisor: Prof John Weaver, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Dr Phil Dobson, School of Engineering
Optical measurements allow the measurement of a vast range of important physical and chemical properties of materials at the micro-scale. Far-field optical measurements are limited to a resolution of about half a wavelength of light which limits their utility in characterising nanostructures. In addition, optical microanalysis is often limited by the signals available from a small volume of material. Metals have a very large (imaginary) refractive index at optical frequencies. As a consequence, the confinement of optical fields by a metal can result in a large increase in the available spatial resolution of an optical sensing system whilst still allowing the use of normal spectroscopic sensing. By structuring the metal at the nanoscale one can also use plasmonic effects to cause the optical electric fields to be locally magnified by several orders of magnitude. This potentially enables spectroscopy of single molecules to be performed, or the coupling of an optical sensor to evanescent fields, such as thermally excited surface plasmon polaritons. This project is concerned with the development of advanced sensors in which an optimised plasmonic antenna is coupled to a lithographically-defined field concentrator at the end of an atomic force microscope tip. The sensor will be applied to the reliable achievement of a vast increase in the efficiency of Tip Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy and, speculatively, in the study of near-field black body radiative transport. The work will take place in the AFM group in the School of Engineering which consists of two academic staff members, two RAs and four PhD students. The work will involve a broad range of work in nanofabrication, optics, modelling and scanned probe microscopy and would suit a good graduate in Electronic Engineering or Physical Sciences.
2016 G10 - John Weaver
An aperture in a thick aluminium film allowing sub-wavelength control of near-field optical intensity on the basis of polarisation.
G_JT_1 :Computational Biomedical Imaging
First Supervisor: Prof Jonathan Taylor, School of Physics and Astronomy
Second Supervisor: Prof Andy Harvey, School of Physics and Astronomy
Revolutionary new microscope imaging techniques are making it possible to watch in a non-invasive manner as organisms develop, grow and survive. Computational imaging is based around the realization that acquiring a direct image of the target may not be the optimum strategy, and it can be better to acquire information that can subsequently be computationally processed into an image, or it may in fact be more efficient and preferable never recover an image at all!
The successful applicant will have the opportunity to contribute to the computational aspects of ongoing research projects of this type in our group, as well as exploring new areas of research such as compressive sensing of blood flow.
G_BS_1 :The 10 ps challenge – towards a novel paradigm in PET imaging
First Supervisor: Dr Bjoern Seitz, School of Physics and Astronomy
Second Supervisor: Dr Rachel A. Montgomery, School of Physics and Astronomy
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is one of the fastest growing medical imaging modalities. While it is mostly used in cancer diagnosis, new applications, e.g. in dementia diagnosis and research are constantly developed. The image quality of a PET scan can be significantly enhanced by precise sensor technologies, measuring the energy, location and crucially relative arrival time of decay photons inside the sensor modules. An order of magnitude improvement in the resolution provided by the sensor systems will greatly enhance the image quality and hence diagnosis and prognosis for the patients.
G_BS_2 :Three Dimensional Imaging of Gamma Radiation
First Supervisor: Dr Bjoern Seitz, School of Physics and Astronomy
Second Supervisor: Dr David Hamilton, School of Physics and Astronomy
Unknown or uncharacterised radiation sources may pose a hazard in many occasions, from accidental releases to security threats, from remidiation to the decommissioning of nuclear installations. Novel imaging techniques based on methods in cognate imaging fields and using advanced sensor technologies will be developed to locate and identify a large range of gamma-emitting isotopes when distributed over larger areas or even concealed point sources.
G_GH_1 :An ultra-compact MEMS based Michelson Interferometer
First Supervisor: Prof. Giles Hammond, School of Physics and Astronomy
Second Supervisor: Prof Douglas J Paul, School of Engineering
Micro-fabricated Michelson Interferometers provide an opportunity to develop sensors with picometer resolution but with the benefit of low power operation and a size of less than 5mm squared. This enables a variety of new and novel sensing opportunities including readout of MEMS accelerometers. The device will be fabricated from Deep Reactive Ion Etching (DRIE) and incorporates input/output fibres, beamsplitter and target/reference mirrors in a single thermally stable package.
There are a wide range of potential applications including small form factor sensors for metrology applications (e.g. tool bed positioning), optical readout of MEMS accelerometers and space applications such as Cubesats.

2016 G14 - Giles Hammond

G_DJP_1 :A Practical and Miniature Quantum Current Standard
First Supervisor: Prof Douglas J Paul, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Dr Masaya Kataoka and Dr JT Jansen, NPL
The current standard is being redefined in 2018 to use fundamental constants and so new quantum devices to measure current are required. This project will build single electron turnstiles using 8 nm wide silicon nanowires with two gates to form a quantum dot. By opening and closing one gate, single electrons get transmitted so the current is the electron charge times the frequency of gate switching. This project will be to develop single electron turnstile devices using the nanofabrication tools in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre and then measure the accuracy of the devices at the National Physical Laboratory.
2016 G15 -Doug Paul
G_DJP_2 :Microfabricated ion Trap Chips for Quantum Metrology
First Supervisor: Prof Douglas J Paul, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Dr Alastair Sinclair, NPL
Microfabrication of electrodes using techniques from the semiconductor industry now allow the ability to control and manipulate individual and clusters of ions inside vacuum systems whose properties can be used to produce atomic clocks, sensors and are a fundamental building block for one proposed quantum computer. This PhD project is aimed to develop wafer scale processes that will improve the durability and performance of microfabricated ion traps. The student will be working in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at Glasgow developing new high-performance, microfabricated ion traps and then working with the National Physical Laboratory to fully characterise the completed traps.

2016 G16 - Doug PaulProject 7

G_JR_1 :Integrated biosensors for field-based diagnostics
First Supervisor: Dr Julien Reboud, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Professor Jon Cooper, School of Engineering
There is a significant interest in moving medical diagnostics from hospital central laboratories and clinics, into the hands of local healthcare workers and patients. However the widespread adoption of point-of-care sensing systems has been limited by appropriately sensitive performance in real patient samples (blood, saliva, urine or faeces for example).
Surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices, employed in communications, carry a mechanical energy that has been widely used as highly sensitive biosensing platform. Uniquely, we have now demonstrated a new proprietary technology using phononic metamaterials that has enabled us to create a “tool-box” of different diagnostic functions.
This project is focused on the development of sensors using the phononic structures to enable complete integration of a ‘sample-to-result’ biosensor. In an analogy with optical technologies associated with photonic crystals, the student will be designing, fabricating and testing novel resonant acoustic structures for ultrasensitive sensing.

G_RD_1 :Contact Lens with Embedded Biosensors
First Supervisor: Dr Ravinder Dahiya, School of Engineering
Second Supervisor: Professor David Cumming, School of Engineering
The early detection and real time health monitoring of chronic diseases had gained significant interest recently. Many of the chronic diseases can be detected by measuring the changes in the analytes present in the blood or any other body fluid with similar concentration as blood. In this regard, our tears are promising as the chemical composition of analytes in basal tear film is similar to the blood. This project is a step towards developing alternative solutions to blood-based detection of chronic diseases i.e. new solutions without discomforting the patients. To this end, the project will embed biosensors on contact lens. With current planar electronics, it is challenging to embed sensors on spherical shapes. Integration of brittle materials such as Si on soft substrates (PDMS, PET and Pyrelene) is a challenge this project will overcome. The biosensors on the contact lens will analyze tears for glucose to monitor chronic diseases such as diabetes. The biosensors will be based on solid-state devices.
2016 G18 - Ravinder Dahiya2016 G18 - Ravinder Dahiya 2
The student will receive training in advanced nanofabrication techniques, and flexible and printable electronics. In addition, training in characterization and measurement will be provided. Working alongside post-doctoral researchers, the student will integrate various process modules to demonstrate high performance devices.
As much of the work of the Glasgow team active in this area is strongly collaborative with leading global industrial and academic partners, the student will have the opportunity to showcase their talents to potential future employers.
G_RD_2 :Electronic Contact Lens
First Supervisor: Dr Ravinder Dahiya, School of Engineering














Diseases such as diabetes affecting peripheral nerve fibres pose a huge clinical problem and early detection and treatment is desired. Current invasive methods such as microneurography are less attractive as they require surgery and highly specialised recording equipment. Interestingly, the cornea, which has the high density of nerve fibre endings, can offer an early solution as the changes in nerve structure in cornea precedes the development of neuropathy in the limbs. This project will develop a prototype system to detect the early changes in nerve structure. The goal is to develop transparent and disposable multi-electrodes embedded in soft contact lens. With current planar electronics, it is challenging to fabricate electronic components on spherical shapes. Integration of electrodes on soft substrates (PDMS, PET and Pyrelene) is a challenge this project will overcome. The development of lenses containing active electronics will open many new avenues such as diagnosis of dry eye condition, or controlled drug delivery, or retinal visual prostheses.
2016 G18 - Ravinder Dahiya
The student will receive training in advanced nanofabrication techniques, and flexible and printable electronics. In addition, training in characterization and measurement will be provided. Working alongside post-doctoral researchers, the student will integrate various process modules to demonstrate high performance devices.
As much of the work of the Glasgow team active in this area is strongly collaborative with leading global industrial and academic partners, the student will have the opportunity to showcase their talents to potential future employers.
Image second from top (fibroblasts) © iStock