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Postgraduate research project

Silicon Photonics for methane emissions reduction

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

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas whose emissions have caused about 30% of global heating to date. At COP-26 a multinational alliance of 105 countries pledged to cut their methane emissions by 30% in the next decade, because it is thought to be the most effective way to reduce near-term global warming. One of the most important levers for doing so will be to reduce natural gas leakage from fossil fuel production infrastructure, but to achieve this new low-cost technologies for immediately detecting the leaks will be needed.

The aim of this project will be to develop photonic integrated circuits for methane sensing, operating at mid-infrared wavelengths where the gas strongly absorbs light. It will involve 1) evaluating photonic circuit architectures for different sensing scenarios, 2) designing electro-optic devices and circuits through simulation, 3) fabricating them in Southampton’s world class cleanroom, 4) experimentally measuring their performance, and 5) implementing opto-electronic signal processing for extracting data from the sensors.

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with a background in electronics, physics or photonics. The applicant would join a cutting-edge research group in the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton, and work in the state-of-the-art cleanroom facilities and photonic device characterisation laboratories at the ORC. They would work in cooperation with postdoctoral researchers employed on the £5.8 million project “MISSION” (Mid- Infrared Silicon Photonic Sensors for Healthcare and Environmental Monitoring), and with academic and industrial collaborators with interests in gas sensing.

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