Supervisory Team: Dr Richard O’Leary (University of Strathclyde), Dr Simon Whiteley (Alba Ultrasound)
Background: Ultrasonic sonar transducers are used in a wide range of applications. While the current state-of-the-art active piezoelectric materials can produce highly efficient array transducer configurations, it cannot readily be designed into a smaller size and still operate in the desired frequency range. Hence, there is a research challenge to investigate alternative active materials and transducer geometries which can reduce the overall build envelope, but still provide excellent imaging capability at the desired operating frequency and bandwidth specifications. This project will offer the successful candidate an opportunity to develop expertise in ultrasonic transducer design, as well as acquiring transferrable skills in fabrication of high-quality transducer arrays and their subsequent characterisation and calibration. In particular, the research project will develop key skills in transducer simulation, materials science, manufacturing and instrumentation. Furthermore, as an EngD researcher, there will be additional business-related training and a transition from working in the University laboratory into the partner company, Alba Ultrasound
This Project: The primary aim is to explore a range of piezoelectric material configurations, with the specific design objective to produce small form factor sonar, in the following stages:
- Simulation of the acoustic front-end active transducer configuration using finite element modelling techniques to understand the vibrational characteristics of each design and how that translates into sonar transducer performance.
- Extending the simulation approach to incorporate a sonar array configuration and ensuring that the materials within the transducer array are appropriate in terms of imaging performance.
- Fabrication of key candidate prototype samples for experimental assessment against Alba state-of-the-art devices.
- Fabrication of a full sonar array incorporating selected active material configuration and characterisation of its sonar performance against industry standard criteria.
External Partner Summary: Alba Ultrasound Ltd. was formed in 2000 with the aim of becoming a world leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance ultrasonic transducers for underwater sonar applications.
Alba has experienced consistent growth, achieving turnover in excess of £4M over the past five years. This has been achieved by it becoming the leading small independent transducer design and manufacture company, with world leading clients within both the defence and commercial sectors.
Alba’s facility in the West of Scotland Science Park, Glasgow, houses state-of-the-art design, manufacturing, test and qualification equipment.
Funding and eligibility
Funding is available to cover tuition fees for applicants and a stipend at the Research Council rate (£15,840 for Session 2022/23). In addition, the candidate will receive a top-up of £5,000 pa during the research phase (Years 2-4). To be eligible for this position, you must be a UK citizen who has been resident in the UK/EEA/Switzerland/Gibraltar for the past three years, to fulfil security clearance and studentship funding rules.
Applicants must have or expect to obtain the equivalent of a 1st or 2.1 degree in an appropriate engineering or science discipline.
How to apply
Applications must be submitted through the University of Glasgow online application system. You will be required to submit a cover letter, CV, two references and your transcript/degree certificate. All candidate interviews will be conducted by video conference.
Application deadline: 31st January 2022