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PhD in Optical Communications for In-body Surgical Applications

PT-35 PhD in Optical Communications for In-body Surgical Applications 

Contract: Full Time/Fixed Term

Summary of project

Over the last 50 years, optical fibre communications has transformed our everyday lives by giving individuals and organisations access to affordable, high bandwidth communications on a global scale. To date this has enable new types of person to person, person to machine and increasingly machine to machine communications. This project will address the next major frontier for fibre optic communications, namely communications inside the body with the specific goal of enabling medical imaging deep within the body for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This will require the communication of micro-camera control and imaging data to and from some of the most critical organs in the body, including the brain and the heart, via some of the body’s smallest vasculature. The application essentially ‘tears up the rule book’ for optical communications and will require many new innovations including, for example, extreme miniaturisation and unprecedented power efficiency of the overall optical communication architecture and its constituent transceiver elements.    

The project will involve communication architecture design, modelling and simulation to explore and compare the advantages and disadvantages of different design approaches. Selected link designs will then be practically realised using commercially available components and fibre and tested in the lab environment. Findings from this phase of the work will feed into other groups at Tyndall who are developing novel electronic and photonic circuits and devices optimised for this application. The student will then be responsible for the final system integration and test of the communication link using the new enabling components. Subsequently, the communications link will be integrated with the other elements of the imaging system and used by Tyndall colleagues and external collaborators in clinical tests and trials. As such, the student will have the opportunity to make a critical contribution to a new medical device innovation with the potential to revolutionise surgical practice and ultimately save patient’s lives.

The successful applicant will join the Photonics Systems Group (PSG) at Tyndall, led by Professor Paul Townsend, which comprises around 20 members including 5 research staff (3 permanent) as well as PhD students and undergraduate interns. The applicant will have access to PSG’s comprehensive optical fibre system design and simulation platforms as well as PSG’s world-class advanced optical communication system laboratory suite to carry out her/his research programme. This facility comprises four separate labs (200m2 in total) containing 10 optical tables and numerous full-height equipment racks. A comprehensive range of high speed test and measurement equipment is available, including pulse pattern and waveform generators (up to 100GSa/s), oscilloscopes (up to 200GSa/s) electrical and vector network analysers (up to 50GHz) a wide range of associated optical and electronic ancillary equipment. The facility includes a number of transmission and network testbeds, including a recently commissioned 400Gb/s per carrier, advanced modulation coherent testbed, as well as multi-wavelength access and metro system testbeds which include access to 1000km of field-installed fibre supplied by BT Ireland. The successful applicant will leverage this infrastructure to take the next exciting step for optical fibre technology: communication inside the human body.

Key Responsibilities

  • The successful candidate is expected to be creative, driven and self-motivated, with a strong desire to be an active member of a broad, multi-disciplinary collaborative team.
  • Study relevant research literature and propose innovative new optical fibre communication solutions for in-body imaging and sensing applications.
  • With guidance from the team, simulate and optimise the proposed solution, then implement and test the scheme in laboratory testbeds and pre-clinical prototypes. This will including working with fellow researchers to integrate and test the multiple elements of the solution (camera, power delivery system, illumination system etc.)
  • Engage in the dissemination of the results of the research, in high impact-factor conferences and journals as directed by and with the support of senior researchers in the team.
  • Participate in Education and Public Engagement activities, as required.
  • Ensure all activities are compliant with the Tyndall Quality Management system and required Health & Safety standards.
  • Carry out any additional duties as may reasonably be required within the general scope and level of the post.

Essential Criteria

  • The ideal applicants will have a first or upper second class honours bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in Electronic Engineering, Physics/Applied Physics or a related discipline.
  • Knowledge of fibre optical communications would be advantageous, but is not essential.

An annual student stipend of €18,500 applies for the successful candidate for this position. Yearly University Academic Fees will be paid by the Tyndall National Institute.

Application Instructions

Step 1 - Click here to download and complete the Application form and indicate the Job Reference PT-35

Step 2 – Return the completed Application form, together with your CV and motivation letter to careers@tyndall.ie.

Postgraduate applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English language proficiency (https://www.ucc.ie/en/study/comparison/english/postgraduate/) as per UCC regulations. Certificates should be valid (usually less than 2 years old) and should be uploaded with their application. In special circumstances the panel may consider a prior degree in English (e.g. Master thesis written in English) as evidence of English language proficiency.

Please note that Garda vetting and/or an international police clearance check may form part of the selection process.

The University, at its discretion, may undertake to make an additional appointment(s) from this competition following the conclusion of the process.

Please note that an appointment to posts advertised will be dependent on University approval, together with the terms of the employment control framework for the higher education sector.

At this time, Tyndall National Institute does not require the assistance of recruitment agencies.

Tyndall National Institute at University College, Cork is an Equal Opportunities Employer.