Skip to main content

Postgraduate research project

Artificial Optical Nervous System

Competition funded View fees and funding
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree
View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

The study of the mechanical properties of any large, complex structures such as a space launch vehicle or Earth’s crust relies on a large array of sophisticated and, often, expensive sensors. Constrained by budget, the number of sensing nodes deployed in such projects often does not exceed a few hundred, limiting the scale and scope of these studies. The aim of this project is to establish a new class of sensing system that is capable of mapping strain distribution at thousands of points using a single strand of optical fibre thinner than a human hair. When placed on or inside a structure such as the airframe of an aircraft, optical fibres act as artificial nerves, transmitting valuable information about the condition of the structure to the interrogating unit that acts as a brain.

The new system, which will be called High-resolution Ultra-fast Distributed Sensor (HUDS), allows static and dynamic strain measurement at +50,000 sensing points with 2 cm spatial resolution and at a sampling rate as high as 100,000 samples per second at each sensing point.  The ability of HUDS to provide a high-resolution map of strain distribution at tens of thousands of points along a fibre opens up a wide range of scientific and engineering disciplines such as Civil Engineering, Seismology, Mechanical Engineering, Ship Sciences, and High-energy Particle Physics, to name a few. 

to top