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PhD Studentship: Intelligent Structures for Monochromators and Mirror Systems for Diamond II Optics

The University of Lincoln is offering a PhD supporting the high-precision assembly of optical components for use in the Diamond II synchrotron facility

  • Closing soon
  • Closing date: 01 Sep 2020
  • United Kingdom | University of Lincoln, School of Mathematics and Physics
  • Date posted: 23 Jun 2020
  • Job type: Academic: PhD/MSc
  • Disciplines: Optics, lasers & photonics  | Materials science 

As the plans for Diamond II upgrade to the Diamond synchrotron facility come together, optics will be required to perform under ever-increasing heat loads to even tighter tolerances with greater levels of sophistication. At present, complex optics such as monochromators are assembled with only calibrated spring arrangements and torque wrenches. These calibrated, off-the-shelf springs and other mechanical calibration methodologies are often incorrect in the force they generate, resulting in assemblies which do not perform as predicted. This leads to a process that is unsatisfactory, as variability inherent to fasteners and calibrated springs limits the control of the applied tension, making it extremely challenging to obtain distortion-free optical surfaces that must be controlled to picometre resolution. These errors are compounded as further assembly is carried out without a full understanding for their effects on other components. This results in the assembly, setup and fine-tuning being time-consuming and resource intensive. Instead, it is proposed that the assembly needs to be modelled and carefully measured. The effects of all the applied fastener loads in combination must be understood. This requires detailed feedback of the exact strain state of each component in the assembly; however, currently there is a lack of viable technologies that can be easily applied to acquire this information.
Project description
Applications are invited to complete a PhD program to investigate how the above issues are to be addressed. The need to ensure high-precision assembly of optical components for use in the Diamond II synchrotron facility is paramount. This body of work will investigate the design of smart features that enable accurate assembly and their monitoring during service. The candidate will spend time at Diamond understanding the issues, develop and design solutions from first principle also using FEA and see the solutions manufactured before be involved in their testing. Three key areas are to be explored:

  • Smart structures for assembly utilising acoustic signal processing and condition monitoring
  • Smart structures for in-vacuum assembly utilising image processing
  • Passive resonant structures for silicon optic monitoring during service

This project will facilitate the delivery of world-leading knowledge and understanding of how high-precision optical components perform in service, as well as ensuring confidence in their assembly. In addition to empirical investigations there will be software-based modelling and hardware design being required to support development and understanding of various devices. 
Funding details
The PhD is due to start on 1 October 2020. It is a 4 year, fully funded studentship. Funding contributions are: Diamond Light Source, 50%; University of Lincoln, 50%. Home/EU fees are covered by the studentship. The annual stipend starts at £16,998 and increases year on year to £17,684 in year 4.
Eligibility criteria
Open to all students of any nationality without restrictions (UK/EU and International).
For international students only (non-EU): to study at University of Lincoln you must hold a valid visa which entitles you to study at the University.
Academic criteria           
The successful candidate should have, or expect to obtain, an undergraduate degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in engineering, physics or a related subject area.
English language requirements
IELTS with a minimum overall band score of 6.0 with no part of the test scored below 5.5 (or equivalent).
How to apply
To apply for this studentship please email your CV (maximum 2 pages), a personal statement outlining explaining how your qualifications and experience meet the requirements (500 words) and contact details of two referees to, quoting the following reference: 2AL-20-2.
Shortlisted applicants will be contacted directly to arrange for an interview.
The closing date for applications is Tuesday 1 September 2020
Further information
Informal enquiries to be made to Dr Jonathan Griffiths:


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University of Lincoln, School of Mathematics and Physics

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