PhD Position “Optical Sensing of the Storage Potential of Fruit” University of Leuven, Department of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors Belgium




Last modified: 20/12/2017

The MeBioS Biophotonics group at the KU Leuven Department of Biosystems investigates the physical properties of biological materials to develop new technologies for the agro-food chain. The fundamental research activities focus on measurement of the optical properties and exploitation of this information to develop novel sensor technologies. In our applied research these techniques are combined with advanced statistical techniques for quality assessment and optimization of agro-food products.

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As harvested fruit are living organisms, they remain metabolically active. This means that they consume oxygen to convert sugars into energy to sustain their tissue functions. Apart from the metabolic processes to sustain the tissue functions, the enzymatic ripening processes also remain active. To slow down these ripening processes many fruit are stored under a controlled atmosphere, involving low oxygen concentrations. However, if the oxygen availability for an individual cell is too low, the cell will die, resulting in the formation of postharvest defects (browning and cavities). Therefore, optimizing the gas concentrations in fruits is an important field within postharvest research. In this context, it would be very valuable if we would be able to measure the porosity of an intact fruit as an indicator for the gas diffusivity.


Spatially Resolved Spectroscopy (SRS) combines multiple spectroscopic measurements with light propagation models to separate the information on light scattering by the microstructure and absorption by the chemical composition. Accordingly, SRS has high potential for non-destructive physical and chemical characterization of turbid media. Therefore, the main goal of this PhD research is to develop a non-destructive SRS sensor for measuring the porosity of pome fruit (apples, pears,…) as an indicator for the storage potential.



To perform this application-oriented basic research, the “MeBioS Biophotonics group” is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate. Do you hold a master in (bioscience) engineering, materials science or physics? Do you have a creative, critical, analytical and innovative mindset? Do you have excellent oral and written communication skills in English? Then you may be the perfect candidate to join our team.  Experience with modelling techniques or optical measurement techniques is a plus. 


  • We offer a full-time PhD position for 1 year. After positive evaluation, the contract can be extended to 4 years.   
  • Excellent guidance by our young, dynamic and multidisciplinary team
  • State of the art research infrastructure.
  • A challenging job in a young, dynamic environment.
  • High level scientific training at a top-ranked university.
  • Being part of a world-class research group.
  • Remuneration according to the KU Leuven salary scales (


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You can apply for this job no later than January 31, 2018 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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