Research Associate in Multi-Species Hydrocarbon Metrology In Gas Pipelines

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
28 Jun 2019
End of advertisement period
28 Jul 2019
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Closing date 29 Jul 2019 23:00 (UK time)
Salary £32,236–£39,609 (Grade 7)
Location Edinburgh
Department Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences
Category Research
Status Full Time
Duration 33 months fixed-term

About Heriot-Watt University        

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.

With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and practical, leading-edge research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for business and industry. We connect with industry at every level and develop programmes to match their needs – so employers get work-ready industry-fit graduates.

Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

We have an established set of values that help us to nurture innovation and leadership, and show our commitment to continuous improvement and development in all our activities.

For full details on our University please view our Careers at Heriot-Watt http://www.hw.ac.uk/about/careers-at-heriot-watt.htm

About our Team

Based in Heriot-Watt’s Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences, you will join a team of around 10 post-docs and students associated with the ultrafast optics activity led by Prof. Derryck Reid, which spans laser development across pulse durations from a few optical cycles to sub-picosecond, wavelength ranges from 400 – 13000 nm, and applications of these sources in metrology, spectroscopy and microscopy.

Detailed Description

The position is funded by STFC and will last for 33 months.

This project aims to develop an understanding of the range and limitations of fibre-delivered broadband light for mid-IR gas spectroscopy. It also aims to assess the capability and limitations of algorithms for extracting concentrations of multiple hydrocarbons, and to identify the best practical embodiments for fibre-fed spectroscopy.  The project is a collaboration with Chromacity Ltd., who commercialised Heriot-Watt’s innovative broadband mid-IR ultrafast laser technology, and GM Flow, a company specialising in measuring gas flow in oil and gas pipelines, and with an interest in multi-species gas measurement in this environment.  The successful candidate will be confident working in a laser environment, ideally with experience of mid-infrared spectroscopy and relevant laser systems.  S/he will ideally have an understanding of spectroscopy, particularly Fourier-transform spectroscopy, and a familiarity with fibre optics and opto-mechanics.  Experience with MATLAB or other programming environment is essential, ideally with elements of instrument control and data acquisition.  The project may involve some field work, including travelling to oil and gas fields in the UK and abroad.  As the project goals are realised, the candidate will be encouraged to participate in knowledge transfer to the industrial partners in the form of a secondment in Chromacity Ltd..

Key duties and responsibilities

The post holder is required to:

  • Extend and develop the existing Heriot-Watt mid-infrared gas sensing system (full details available on request) by constructing a bench-top demonstrator of a fibre-delivered mid-IR Fourier-transform spectroscopy system.  This will involve optimising and characterising the fibre-coupling of a commercial mid-IR broadband femtosecond laser and developing the optics, mechanics and detection system for the light at a gas cell located at the distal end of the fibre.
  • Understand the practical range and associated limiting factors of fibre-delivered broadband light for mid-IR spectroscopy.
  • Take ownership of the data capture and processing using MATLAB and instrument control software as appropriate.  Algorithm development of multi-species-fitting codes will be shared with the PI of the project with the aim of extracting simultaneous concentration measurements of alkanes from methane to hexane.
  • Identify, through appropriate development and testing, the best practical embodiments for fibre-fed in-pipe spectroscopy through a single access window.
  • Work closely with the project’s industrial partners to collaborate on system integration and development and to define and protect intellectual property arising from the work.
  • Promote the scientific dissemination of the work by leading / contributing to the preparation of journal papers and conference presentations.
  • Escalate the technology readiness level of the system to integrate all of the laser, fibre delivery, spectroscopy, gas handling and software aspects into a single "proof-of-concept" technology demonstrator suitable for field trials.
  • Collect data supporting the measurement performance and uncertainty in increasingly complex mixtures, and forming evidence of the technical competence of the technology.
  • Assist in the commercialization of the system by gathering feedback from at least one field trial with a potential early-adopter customer.
  • Assist in the construction of a detailed business case and roadmap by using the technical results and customer feedback to allow the technology to be brought to market soon after project completion, in collaboration with our industrial partners.
  • Provide mentorship and local supervision to undergraduate or postgraduate students working on the project.
  • Participate in training activities as appropriate to the needs of the project.

Education, qualifications and experience        

Essential Criteria

  • A PhD in an appropriate technical discipline, or the expectation of obtaining this by the start of the project.  Suitable candidates may come from a diverse range of backgrounds including physics, chemistry, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.
  • Expertise in one or more of the following areas: mid-infrared spectroscopy; lasers, particularly mid-infrared and / or ultrafast lasers; Fourier-transform spectroscopy; opto-mechanical instrumentation.
  • A relevant and high-quality publication track record, including first-author publications, appropriate to your career stage.
  • Proven technical competence in experimental photonics, optical experiment / system design and the analysis of results.
  • Familiarity with MATLAB or a similar programming environment.

Desirable Criteria

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience of the following areas: gas spectroscopy; data acquisition; opto-mechanical design; 3D printing; electronics; optical parametric oscillators; fibre lasers; field work; laser alignment; atmospheric spectroscopy; fibre optics; gas handling.
  • An interest in progressing real-world applications of laser technology by industrial partnerships.

How To Apply

pplications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on 29th July 2019.

At Heriot-Watt University we understand that being diverse makes us better which is why we support a culture of respect and equal opportunity, and value diversity at the heart of what we do. We want to increase the diversity of our workplace to underpin a dynamic and creative environment.

Use our total rewards calculator: https://www.hw.ac.uk/about/work/total-rewards-calculator.htm to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

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