• School of Engineering and Applied Science, Aston University

      B4 7ET Birmingham

      United Kingdom

    Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    Are you interested in researching within a multidisciplinary project to develop a novel polymer waveguide biosensor capable of single biomolecule detection for very early, rapid and low cost detection of pathogens behind COVID19, Avian Influenza and may other illnesses? Aston Institute of Photonics is hiring! You would work alongside myself, Dr Kaiming Zhou and Professor David Webb (all AIPT – the world renown Aston Institute for Photonic Technologies), and in collaboration with colleagues in EBRI (Dr Alfred Fernández-Castané), LHS (Prof. Anna Hine) and EPS (Dr Thomas Thatapudi), and leading academic and industrial collaborators outside of Aston University to use a novel detection scheme that will actually capitalize on the high thermal sensitivity of polymers, which for many applications is problematic, to eliminate for the first time all of their inherent low-frequency (DC) related noise and drift issues in a polymer waveguide based biosensor. Search for the project: BIOPOLY – Single BIOmolecule Detection Via an ELISA Sandwich Assay Through the Realisation of Novel Optical POLYmer Biosensors for a Low Cost Rapid Field Deployable Diagnostic Instrument #biosensor #PhD #Photonics #nanotechnology #multidiscipline #biophotonics #COVID19 #polymer #hiring #engineering #university #collaboration from within the EPS call for PhD applications: https://www.aston.ac.uk/study/courses/phd-engineering-and-physical-sciences/april-2021 The College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Aston University has funding available for a total of 12 fully funded PhD studentships for the Academic Year 2021-22. Each studentship covers full UK PhD tuition fees and a tax-free maintenance allowance for 3 years. Only limited funding is available for international candidates who will need to cover the difference between the ‘Home’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees and confirm that you have applied for, or secured, this additional funding. Closing Date: 31st January 2022

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    Personal profile

    Research Projects/Collaborations

    MONPLAS MSCA-860775 – H2020 ITN Research Project (01/2020-12/2023)

    CanDo ICT-610472 – FP7 STReP Research Project (01/2014-08/2017)

    POSITIVE ICT-257401 – FP7 STReP Research Project (09/2010-08/2013)

    INTOPSENS ICT-223932 - FP7 STReP Research Project (09/2008-08/2011)

    SABIO IST-026554 – FP6 STReP Research Project (01/2006-12/2008)

    ePIXNET IST-004525 FP6 Network of Excellence (01/09/2004-01/09/2008)

    LASERPOM FP6 CRAFT Research Project COOP-CT-2004-513275 (10/2004-10/2006)

    ATOMCAD FP5 TMR Network- HPRN-CT-1999-00048 (02/2000-08/2004)

    NanoFab FP4 TMR Network- ERBFMRXCT970129 (12/1997-11/2002)

    CAD and verification of MM- and Submm-Wave Circuits FP4 TMR Network- ERBFMRXCT960050 (09/1996-08/2000)


    Reseaerch Fellow, Aston University (2020-)

    Marie Curie COFUND Research fellow, Aston University (2018-2020)

    Senior Researcher “Universitat de Valencia” (2011-2017)

    Researcher “KTH - Kungliga Tekniska högskolan” (2009-2010)

    Senior Researcher “Universitat Politecnica de Valencia” (2006-2009)

    Postdoctoral Researcher, “Universitat de Barcelona” (2004-2006)

    Postdoctoral Researcher, “Sigma Plus” (2002-2004)

    Postdoctoral Researcher, “Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona” (2000-2002)

    Postdoctoral Researcher, “Universidad de Cantabria” (1999-2000)

    Graduate Trainee, Philips Semiconductors (1998-1999)

    Research Interests

    Research is focussed on optofluidics and the nanostructuring of photonic and plasmonic materials for near proximity flow of analyte to sensor surfaces and novel matter and electromagnetic wave interaction controls. These sensor surfaces can provide real time responses and the use of small sample and reagent volumes, as well as added functionality for highly integrated, efficient and rapid low-cost multiparameter optical biosensors. Of particular interest are porous membranes, as substrates and templates for nanocolumns, for nanostructured optical biosensors.

    Membership of Professional Bodies

    CPhys, MInstP, IEEE, SPIE

    PhD Supervision

    Fast and specific detection of micro and nanoplastic by flowthrough plasmonic sensing - Aisha Bibi (09/20-)

    Portable and low cost photoluminesent (PL) micro- and nanoplastics detection - Atif Iqrar (10/20-)

    Development of a polarimetric based optical biosensor using a freestanding porous membrane biosensing – Jesus Alvaréz Alavaréz (09/10 – 7/13), maximum qualification (17/09/13).

    Funding Applications and Awards

    3.9M€ H2020 MSCA ITN project MONPLAS, 2020-2023 – Awarded/Management of whole project and legal principle researcher or PR (Aston)

    4.0M€ FP7 ICT project CanDo, 2014-2017 – Awarded/Management of whole project and legal principle researcher or PR (UV)
    Q-Nanotics (Spanish Ministry of Education) project, 2012-2015 – Proposal contribution, awarded/legal PR - head of group (UV)
    2.9M€ FP7 ICT project POSITIVE, 2010-2014 – Awarded/Management of whole project and legal PR (UV)
    10K€ VINNOVA award, 2010 – Awarded grant, legal PR - head of group (KTH)
    2.6M€ FP7 ICT project INTOPSENS – Awarded/Management of whole project, legal PR - head of group (KTH)
    SINADEC (Spanish Ministry of Education) project, 2009-2011 - Proposal contribution, awarded/PR - head of group/PR (UPV)
    2.4M€ FP6 IST project SABIO – Management of whole project
    6.0M€ FP6 IST NoE ePIXnet JRA Sensors – Partner manager
    NANOPOLAR (Spanish Ministry of Education) project, 2006-2009 – Proposal contribution, awarded/PR - head of group/PR (UB)

    Teaching Activity

    2020-2022 EE3OEL and AP4OEL Optoelectronics Module leader (Aston University)

    2015, 2016 – Supervision of Physics for Biologists laboratory (University of Valencia)

    2008-2009 - ‘GCSE’ and ‘A’ Level tutoring at British Private School

    1998 - Support role in preparing and running Masters laboratory on materials selection

    1997 - Support role in preparing and running Masters laboratory on materials selection

    1996 - Support role in preparing and running Masters Workshop on crystallography

    1995-1996 - Support role in preparing and running Masters laboratory on microscopy

    1995 - Support role in preparing and running a computation analysis workshop

    1994 - Support role in preparing and running various 1st year physics laboratories

    1993 - Support role in preparing and running various 1st year physics laboratories



    Postgraduate Certificate Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Distinction) – Aston University in 2019

    Assistant professor/lecturer accreditation

    Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU) – Since 2018

    Spanish National Agency for Evaluation of Quality & Accreditation (ANECA) – Since 2016


    Project Reviewer

    FETOpen, MCSA IEF, ICT and NMP evaluator in EC FP7 and H2020.
    Nanoscience projects evaluator in the “Blanc programme” of the French National Research Agency (ANR).


    Nanophotonic biosensor based on surface Plasmon interference – Peter Debackere, 15/12/09


    Editorial board member of the International Journal of Foods and Biosystems Engineering
    International Program Committee member of Allsensors 2016, 2017. 2018, 2019
    International Program Committee member of Photoptics 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
    International Program Committee member for International Conference on Sensors Engineering and Electronics Instrumental Advances (SEIA) 2015.
    Scientific Committee of International Conference on Food and Biosystems Engineering (FABE) 2015, 2017
    International program committee member of Eurosensors XXV
    European Silicon Photonics Cluster
    Expert in Nanofutures key node group of Design, Modelling and Testing of Materials
    Student Representative of Liverpool University Engineering and Physical Sciences Graduate School Committee (1995-1998)
    Secretary of Department of Materials Science and Engineering (University of Liverpool) Staff-Student Liaison Committee (1995-1998)
    Faculty (Science and Engineering) representative for University Guild Council for University of Liverpool (1995-1998)

    Academic/Professional Contacts

    Prof. P. Bienstman, Ghent University/IMEC; Prof. L. Pavesi and Dr P. Bettotti, U. Trento; Prof. C. Elliot, Belfast University; Prof. H. Goosens, University of Antwerp; Dr C. Angulo Barrios, Politecnica de Madrid; Dr. L. Vivien, IEF/Universitie Paris Sud; Prof A. Russom (Stockholm); Prof J. Popp and C. Krafft, Jena University; Dr. M. Chiari, Consiglo Nazionale Delle Ricerche; Drs C. Bosshard and H. Knapp, CSEM; Dr T. Krahn, Bayer Worldwide Healthcare; Dr. H. Becker, Chipshop; Dr M. Swann, Farfield Scientific Ltd; Dr. K. Beyer, Charité (Berlin); Dr. M. Makki, Mobidiag; Dr. H. Zoller, Medical University of Innsbruck; Dr. G. Skorski, Phylogene SA (France); Dr. P. Pourquier ID-VET Sarl (France); Profs Löhr and Heuchel, Karolinska Institute; Prof M. Nilsson, Stockholm University


    GKS; AstraZeneca; Pfizer; Novartis; Bayer; Roche (Healthcare and Diagnostics); R-Biopharm; Janssen R&D; Merck; Abbot; Biomerieux; GE Healthcare; Siemens; Renishaw; Alcatel-Lucent; Honeywell; STMicroelectronics; Sagem; Telefonica; IBM; HP; Philips; 3M; Thermo Scientific; Sony; Veeco; Danone; CocaCola; Nestlé; HeinzKraft; Tetrapak

    Contact Details

    Room: NW617
    Phone: 0121 204 3549 
    Email: d.hill2@aston.co.uk

    Scholarship and Fellowship

    Research topics of interest for supervising PhD students

    Nothing currently available.

    Topics of interest fall within: Hybrid (inorganic-organic) planar and non-planar biosensors through the use of nanocomposite polymer materials, inorganic memebranes and novel optofluidic interrogation mechanisms.

    Education/Academic qualification


    Award Date: 23 Dec 2019

    PhD, University of Liverpool

    Award Date: 14 Dec 1998

    MPhil, University of Liverpool

    Award Date: 19 Dec 1995

    BSc, University of Leeds

    Award Date: 20 Jul 1993


    • TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
    • Photonics
    • Optical Sensing
    • Biophotonics
    • polymer nanotechnology
    • Nanomaterials
    • Metamaterials
    • Nanocomposites
    • optics, spectroscopy, lasers


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