EPSRC I-CASE Studentship with the DSTL

3.5-year EPSRC I-CASE D.Phil studentship with the Dstl, available from 17th January 2016

(subject to eligibility requirements below).

Research Area  - Novel Tuneable Optical Filters

The studentship is being jointly undertaken by the University of Oxford (Professors Stephen Morris and Steve Elston) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory under the EPSRC Industrial CASE award scheme.

The overall aim of the project is to develop new electrically controllable optical filter devices based upon periodic liquid crystalline structures that can reject specific wavelengths of light. Tuneable optical notch filters are of particular importance for the protection of sensor devices and personnel. The requirements for protecting sensor devices and personnel generally involve the rejection of a narrow band of wavelengths whilst maintaining transmission across the remaining wavelength range that needs to be monitored. In addition, the protective element needs to respond in a sufficiently short timescale so as to prevent damage to the sensor device and should have a relatively large optical density to ensure that large incident powers can be rejected. A candidate material for these devices is a liquid crystalline material.

This project will fabricate and characterise new tuneable notch filters based upon liquid crystals. The student will characterise and construct devices based upon standard liquid crystal glass cells. The project will extend the physical principles of these filter devices to demonstrate electrical switching at the longer wavelengths involved in the mid-wave infra-red. Moreover, there are also challenges ahead in the construction of workable devices to demonstrate the effects, e.g. producing and depositing the conductive layers for transparent electrodes, ensuring rapid response times, and high optical densities.

Award Value

The studentship covers University fees at the level set for UK students plus a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £14,057 p.a. for the first year (with up to an additional £3k), and at least this amount for a further two and a half years. The studentship covers the payment of college fees (c £2,848 p.a.).


To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) a student must be a UK citizen.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

A first class honours (or high 2.1) degree in Electrical Engineering, Physics, or Materials;

  • Strong interest in photonics;
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills.

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  •  Ability to program in C/C++;
  •  Ability to program in Matlab,
  •  Experience with Linux and Windows.

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship, candidates should send the following documents to postgraduate.studies@eng.ox.ac.uk:

  • CV
  • Covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil and your research experience to date)
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees

NOTE: Candidates are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria available at www.eng.ox.ac.uk/study-here/postgraduate/study-here/postgraduate/admissions-criteria and a full graduate application must be made at the same time as applying for this studentship.  Your studentship application will not be considered until you have submitted a graduate application. Further details about making a graduate application are available at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply

Please quote SMM_DSTL in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to . Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. 

Application deadline:  As soon as a suitable applicant is found.