July 2017
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[Met-jobs] PhD Studentship: Airborne Particle Detection Research

From "Stopford, Chris" <>
To "" <>
Date Mon, 3 Jul 2017 08:28:47 +0000

PhD Studentship: Airborne Particle Detection Research

The University of Hertfordshire’s successful Particle Instruments and Diagnostics research group seeks to recruit a highly motivated PhD student to help develop new airborne particle detection and classification technologies.

The PID group ( uses laser light scattering and other optical techniques to develop bespoke research instruments aimed at solving challenging scientific problems associated with the detection, sizing and classification of airborne microscopic particles.  Examples include: aircraft-borne instruments for the study of atmospheric cloud particles (ice crystals, droplets and solid aerosol) and their role in climate behaviour; real-time monitors for the detection of airborne asbestos fibres and other harmful respirable particles; fog monitoring with high spatial and temporal resolution data; and instruments for detection of airborne biological particles such as bacteria, spores, and pollens. PID built instruments are used by research organisations in the UK, Europe, the USA and Japan.

A range of possible PhD projects exists, including:

  • Bioaerosol particle detection: Building on our now commercialized ‘WIBS’ bioaerosol detection technology, to exploit advances in miniature lasers and detectors for the development of a new generation of low-cost bioaerosol sensors for application in ‘clean’ areas such as hospitals, food production facilities and other working environments.
  • Drone-borne particle detection: The PID group has developed a range of low-cost airborne particle counter/sizers including balloon-borne aerosol radio-sondes. However, exploiting these technologies in drone-borne measurements would open up a wide range of research and commercial applications including urban air quality monitoring, polar atmospheric measurement, fog detection, etc.
  • Optical detection of insects: In collaboration with Rothamsted Research, an investigation into the application of optical detection techniques to automated insect counting and classification will be undertaken. The Insect Survey has been running since 1964, and requires expensive manual insect identification.  Automation of some aspects of the survey could reduce overheads and increase the data offering to agriculture in the UK and abroad.
  • Laboratory-based particle characterisation equipment: Underpinning all of our field instrument systems is a wealth of laboratory-based fundamental research on particle light scattering. Opportunities therefore exist for the continuing development and refinement of laboratory instruments that provide both advances in measurement science and the validation of theoretical models required to interpret particle light scattering data.

The successful candidate will hold a good honours degree in Physics, Engineering or a related discipline and have good experimental lab-based skills.  They will be supported within an informal, dynamic team emphasizing creativity and high quality science in the development of instrument solutions for particle analysis challenges. The candidate could also be involved in field campaigns where required and so a willingness to travel overseas would be essential. They would also be encouraged to author or co-author articles for submission to high-impact journals and to present results at national or international conferences.

Further Information

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to make informal enquiries by email in the first instance, quoting the vacancy reference in the subject line, to:

Dr Chris Stopford.  

Closing Date: 31st July 2017

Starting Date: 1st October 2017

The studentship provides tuition fees as well as a tax-free maintenance allowance of £14,553 per year.


Qualification type:




Funding for:

UK Students, EU Students

Funding amount:

£14,553 + per year


Full Time


Placed on:

7th June 2017


31st July 2017



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