PhD Studentship in Next generation optical sensors for trace toxic gas detection

University of Southampton
May 11 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Optoelectronics Research Centre has a 40-year track record of pioneering contributions in photonics and is currently one of the largest and most dynamic research centres in this field world-wide.  The Integrated Photonic Devices Group explores the fundamentals of guided wave optics at surfaces, with applications including telecommunications, biosensing and novel light sources, and is complemented by world-class photonic materials and fabrication facilities (

The Project: Continuous monitoring and detection of accidental leakage of toxic gases produced by industries, especially in developing countries, requires highly sensitive detection systems with detection limits of the order of parts per billion (PPB). Optical microresonators in which light recirculates about one million times and interrogates the environment every round-trip potentially allows the detection even of single molecules. This project will exploit novel hybrid fiberised polymer microresonators on tapered silica optical fibres. The polymer will be doped with selective supra-molecular compounds to entrap specific toxic gases, giving the device both high sensitivity and very high specificity for analyte gases. The resonance wavelength shift on interaction with entrapped gas molecules will provide a sensitive measure of the number of molecules entrapped. Complementary sensing techniques such as molecular fingerprint detection of trace toxic gases using highly sensitive evanescent field Mid-IR spectroscopy utilising waveguides with caged supra-molecular compounds doped polymer layer as superstrates will also be investigated.

Supervision: This project will be supervised by Dr. Senthil Ganapathy and Prof. James Wilkinson

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

English language: IELTS 6.0, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component; for information on other accepted English Language tests, please visit

Duration: up to 4 years (full-time)

Start date: typically October 2017

Applying: For further application details please click here

Funding: Full scholarships are available for UK students. We are normally able to fund the fees of EU applicants but we only have limited funding to support living expenses. The competition for this funding is therefore tough and obtaining funding from any other source will increase chances of success. International students are encouraged to seek full or partial funding from other sources (e.g. national government scholarships, commonwealth scholarships, self-funding etc).

For further information, visit

Contact: You are welcome to contact Dr. Senthil Ganapathy ( or Prof. James Wilkinson ( for an informal discussion. Please mention the project title and supervisors name in your application when applying online.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess