Research Assistant / Associate in optical engineering and instrument development

Research Assistant / Associate in optical engineering and instrument development

Imperial College London (ICL)

London, United Kingdom

Research Assistant / Associate in optical engineering and instrument development

The successful applicant will work on several projects in the Rowlands Lab, starting with two: to create a rapidly-reprogrammable optical filter, and to create a fluorescence diffuse optical tomography system to control drug production in a bioreactor.

The first project will involve building a high-precision optical system to create interference patterns in a photorefractive polymer. The resulting patterned polymer acts as an optical filter, with the key property that it can be rapidly reconfigured to mimic any other optical filter profile the user desires. The filter will then be used in hyperspectral imaging applications, such as counter-terrorism (locating chemical and biological weapons), medical imaging, environmental monitoring and industrial quality control. The second project will be to build a system that can monitor and control an experimental bioreactor. This bioreactor uses fluorescent reporters to monitor reaction conditions; the successful applicant will build a diffuse optical tomography to monitor these reporters and maximise synthetic yield on a large scale.

Applicants will be expected to have expertise in constructing optical instrumentation and writing software to control laboratory instrumentation. For both systems they will finalize a prototype design, build it, develop any necessary electronic control systems and program the control software. For the second project, they will also be expected to develop software to process the fluorescence diffuse optical tomography data and return an accurate estimate of the fluorescence distribution.

The post will be undertaken in the Rowlands Lab in the Department of Bioengineering, in close collaboration with Dr Karen Polizzi and Dr Cleo Kontoravdi in the Department of Chemical Engineering. The laboratory environment is highly multidisciplinary, thus candidates with a willingness to learn and strong problem-solving skills are especially welcome.

Main duties:
• Finalize optical and mechanical design for the two described instruments
• Work with workshop technicians to build any necessary custom components
• Build and align all systems with precision and attention to detail
• Program any necessary software to operate the instruments
• Write software to process any captured data
• Work with collaborators to meet project requirements, including incorporating feedback at every stage.

Essential requirements

• To have, or be about to receive a PhD in a relevant subject (Physics, Engineering, Photonics etc.)
• Experience in the development of optical systems, including some programming and data analysis experience.
• To have a good track record of academic publications commensurate with your current research experience
• To have excellent time management, problem solving and communication skills, particularly in an academic environment
• To work well as part of a team, including with students.

Salary Range:
Research Assistant: £33,380 – £35,061 per annum
Research Associate: £37,904 – £39,892 per annum*
(Maximum salary on appointment will be £39,892 per annum)
for a period of 24 months, with a 12 month probation period.

*Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £32,380 to £34,040 per annum.

The Rowlands laboratory has a strong personal development policy, and assistance and support will be offered to candidates who wish to apply for research fellowships or develop their professional skills over the course of their employment.

Should you require any further details on the role please contact: Dr Christopher Rowlands –

To apply, please visit:

Closing Date: 05/05/2019

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

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