RR11: Development of highly sensitive diffractive optical sensors for detection of VOCs

Project Title: Development of highly sensitive diffractive optical sensors for detection of VOCs (WP5)

Host Institution: TDUB

Country: Ireland

Supervisors: Prof. I. Naydenova (TDUB); Secondary Supervisors: Prof. R. Ameloot (KUL), Dr. Y. Ponomarev (Analog Devices)


  • To develop surface holographic sensors for VOCs based on MOF- or zeolite-functionalised surface holograms.
  • To develop holographic sensors for VOCs based on volume holograms functionalised by MOFs or zeolites in the polymer layer.
  • To model and optimize the sensitivity of hybrid opto-mechanical sensors and to examine/validate the model by comparison to experiments.
  • To fabricate a proof-of-concept hybrid opto-mechanical holographic sensors functionalised MOFs or zeolites and evaluate their performance.

Short Description of Work & Expected Results:

  • Holographic structures of surface or volume holograms will be functionalised by coating/impregnating with either MOFs or zeolites and their sensing properties will be tested and optimised. Testing will include characterisation of sensitivity, selectivity, stability, signal-to-noise ratio, reversibility, response time.

Planned secondment(s):

  • Host: KUL, Prof. R. Ameloot, Timing: year 2, Length 6 months, Topic: Characterisation of layers with integrated MOF materials.
  • Host: Analog Devices, Dr. Y. Ponomarev, Timing: year 3, Length 2-3 months, Topic: Sensor testing in an industrial R&D lab.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): TDUB & KUL

Candidate requirements: 

  • A motivated candidate with a strong academic track record and a degree in Physics, Chemistry or a related field in Science and Engineering. The project requires excellent knowledge in Optics/Photonics and knowledge in Materials Science.
  • A team player willing to work as part of an interdisciplinary consortium across multiple universities.
  • A candidate with an interest in literature reviewing, scientific writing, presenting research to an expert audience.
  • Demonstration of out-of-the-box thinking and personal initiative is desirable.
  • Since we are a highly international team, proficiency in both written and spoken English is mandatory.
  • Since the research consortium spans multiple disciplines, the ability to communicate clearly across subject boundaries is essential.