Research Associate in Novel Micro-Structured Optical Fibre Delivery of High Peak Power, Ultrashort Pulsed Laser Light Heriot-Watt University, Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences, School of Engineering & Physical Sciences United Kingdom

Research Associate in novel micro-structured optical fibre delivery of high peak power, ultrashort pulsed laser light


Job Ref



Closing date

29 Oct 2017 23:00 (UK time)



£31,076–£38,183 (Grade 7)






Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences, School of Engineering & Physical Sciences






Full Time



20 months fixed-term


About our team

The post sits within the High Power Laser Applications Theme of the Applied Optics and Photonics (AOP) Group at Heriot-Watt University.  The AOP is multi-disciplinary research group comprising approximately 30 members investigating high power laser applications, optical diagnostics, and optical fibre sensors.  The post is part of a joint project with the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials at the University of Bath, supported by EPSRC together with 5 industrial partners.


Further details

Hollow core optical fibres guide light in a hollow (usually, gas-filled) core rather than in a solid glass core as in all conventional fibres. The use of a hollow core means that many of the constraints on optical fibre performance which are due to the properties of the core material are lifted (often by many orders of magnitude) and the fibres can by far outperform their more familiar conventional counterparts. There is a problem, however: how can you trap light in a hollow core? Substantial effort has been put into developing so-called photonic bandgap fibres over the last 20 years. These fibres rely on a complex cladding structure to trap light in the hollow core with low losses. They have been developed to a high degree but have been held back by some apparently insurmountable practical problems. In this project to date we have demonstrated a much simpler hollow core fibre structure that greatly reduces the manufacturing complexity.  These fibres show great promise for high power and low dispersion applications, but research is still required to fully optimise designs for particular applications.  The Research Associate employed in this project will concentrate on characterising and testing different designs of fibre fabricated by colleagues at the university of Bath.  He or she will also work with the industrial partners to demonstrate implementation of these fibres with industrial laser applications, from laser machining to biomedical imaging.


Key duties and responsibilities

We are looking for a creative and highly motivated researcher willing to work closely with our academic and industrial collaborators ? the University of Bath, Coherent Scotland, Litron Lasers, M-Solv, Powerlase and AWE (Orion Laser Facility).  Regular communication with, and reporting to, our partners is an important part of the role; and some national and international travel is required, including short periods spent working at our industrial collaborators.  General tasks will involve scientific research; analysis and interpretation of data; daily oversight of the activities of postgraduate and undergraduate project students in the laboratory; communication with other investigators involved in this collaborative project; preparation of scientific papers; presentation of research at conferences.


In detail the postholder is required to:

  • Design and carry out scientific and engineering experiments using high power laser systems and novel optical fibres, and undertake associated analysis
  • Work with industrial partners to develop and undertake industrial demonstrations of the optical fibre technology
  • Present research findings and plans at regular internal meetings, and meetings with academic and industrial partners
  • Provide guidance as required to support staff, research students and any other students who may be assisting with the research.
  • Prepare and edit scientific papers
  • Present research findings at conferences
  • Participate in the broader work of the Research Group, including industrial outreach e.g. at workshops, conferences or other meetings
  • Assist in the day-to-day maintenance of the experimental facilities, liaising with companies and external collaborators.
  • Assist the development of student research skills, and contribute to the assessment of student knowledge in the context of teaching assistant and supervision duties.


The ideal candidate will have a strong theoretical understanding and recent experimental experience in one or more of the following fields: optical fibres; applications of high power lasers in manufacturing; ultrashort pulsed lasers; applied optics


Education, Qualifications and Experience
  • Minimum qualification: Doctorate


Essential Criteria

  • Possess and maintain sufficient breadth or depth of specialist discipline knowledge and or research methods and techniques to work in own area.
  • Applicants should hold a PhD in a relevant area of fibre optics, lasers, applied optics or related subject (or a PhD thesis submitted by the start date of the project)
  • Experience of experimental design
  • Appropriate publication record for stage in career.
  • Experience with optical fibres and/or lasers applied to research in a relevant discipline.
  • Must have proven academic ability and a demonstrable high level of technical competence in experimental science/engineering and the analysis/modelling of the results.
  • Strong theoretical understanding and thorough grounding in experimental techniques relevant to the project.
  • Ability to articulate research work, both in technical reports / papers and by oral presentation
  • Ability to formulate and progress work on own initiative
  • Evidence of research ability: problem solving, flexibility
  • Must be able to work as part of a team on the experiments at Heriot-Watt and more widely with the key industrial collaborator, and with additional collaborators at other companies and Universities as required.
  • Experience in writing and managing peer-reviewed papers.
  • Experience in public presentations of scientific results (e.g. conference talks)
  • Energy and enthusiasm for industrially-focused research
  • Capability to be self-directed and think innovatively.


Desirable Criteria

  • Previous experience with novel optical fibres
  • Previous experience of high power laser applications in manufacturing
  • Experience of working in a multi-cultural work environment.
  • Experience in leading the writing of scientific papers.
  • Experience of programming for data acquisition and analysis.
  • Evidence of ability, subject to opportunity, to guide other researchers, e.g. PhD students and undergraduate project students.
  • Experience of research-student supervision.
  • Experience of working with industrial partner(s)
  • Experience of working as part of a multi-disciplinary research team.


Amount of travel
  • Travel involved: Minimum Travel
How to apply

Applications for this vacancy should be made online through the Heriot-Watt University iRecruit system.


Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on 29th October 2017


For further details please contact Prof Duncan P Hand email: : <44> (0)131 451 3020


Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and ethnic minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts at Heriot-Watt.


Use our total rewards calculator to see the value of benefits provided by Heriot-Watt University.

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