Optics-based distributed magnetic field and temperature sensor

Two Master's scholarships are available for research into developing composites and devices for fibre-optic based magnetic field and temperature sensors.

Project description

Two fully funded Masters scholarships are available for researching and developing composites and devices for fibre-optic based magnetic field and temperature sensors at the Robinson Research Institute. The Institute is part of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, and is based in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. The key novel idea is to investigate and use magneto-chromic composites for the detection of the magnetic field where a magnetic field leads to a colour change in the composite.

This is a new research area and the successful candidate can potentially lead this research field through the development of new composites as well as a fundamental understanding of the underlying physics. The applications included distributed magnetic field and temperature sensing for greater reliability of power generation, distribution, and electric transport systems.

The work will involve making the components for magneto-chromic composites via thin film fabrication and solid-state synthesis. They will then be studied using methods such as X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, optical, and magnetic measurements. All the equipment is located at the Robinson Research Institute or at the University's School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, including fully equipped synthesis and optics laboratories, and New Zealand’s only high field (up to 14 T) magnetic and transport measurement systems.

Access to additional resources is available through our affiliation with the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. The magneto-chromic composites will be tested by coupling to optical fibre systems and the results will also be used to develop models and a better understanding of how an applied magnetic field leads to a colour change.

This project is part of a New Zealand government-funded interdisciplinary 'Smart Idea' on 'Optics-based distributed magnetic field and temperature sensor for enhanced power infrastructure reliability' that involves physicists, chemists, and electrical engineers.


Applicants should have a BSc in physics with high grades. We are seeking a highly motivated person with an excellent academic record, a good understanding of physics, and the ability to work well in a team. If you are an international student and your first language is not English, please ensure that you can satisfy the English language requirements

Funding information

The successful applicants will receive a stipend of $22,000 per annum for 1 year, as well as payment of all university tuition fees. There are two scholarships available. The first scholarship will be awarded for 2022-23 and the second for 2023-24.


Email Professor Grant Williams Grant.Williams@vuw.ac.nz and Dr Shen Chong shen.chong@vuw.ac.nz including, 'Masters scholarship in optics-based distributed magnetic field and temperature sensors' in the subject line.

Please include the following information:

  • A full curriculum vitae (CV), including your university transcripts
  • A statement detailing why you are interested in this project
  • The names of at least two people who are prepared to act as referees
  • Your expected starting date