Current post: The Open University, Post-doctorate Research Associate, ‘Image Sensor Scientist’
I am the principal scientist working to characterise and qualify a new CMOS Image Sensor, which has been selected for the high-resolution and wide-angle optical camera on the European Space Agency’s JUICE mission, destined for Jupiter. The camera, called JANUS, is being developed in a collaboration between institutions from the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain, where the Open University is supported by the UK Space Agency to provide a space-qualified photo-sensitive detector.
I am taking the lead in an extensive qualification programme that includes exposing detectors to protons, gammas, electrons and heavy ions at fluence, dose and/or energy levels equivalent to those expected during or at the end of the mission life-time of JUICE. The programme is critical to understand how the sensor performance will change during the mission due to its exposure to the harsh space environment, and ensure that a sufficiently good imaging quality will be maintained. The extensive detector characterisation pre- and post- exposure to the irradiation sources also opens up unique avenues of research to develop my understanding of the detector's behaviour. I use the results to advise the JANUS camera development, operation and science teams, and directly inform the detector manufacturer’s engineers to modify and improve designs for the next-generation of sensors, thanks to the research-industrial collaboration between the Centre for Electronic Imaging and e2v technologies plc.
Following on from my PhD, I continue to work in cooperation with the detector group and RIXS beamline scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) to advise on the implementation of his research in a new RIXS camera system.
Postgraduate: The Open University, PhD, ‘High-resolution detectors for soft X-ray spectroscopy’
My PhD was a joint studentship between The Open University and the detector group and RIXS beamline scientists at PSI to investigate opportunities to improve the detector performance for the RIXS spectrometer at PSI.
A clear accomplishment from my work was a demonstration that the resolution of the spectrometer’s detector could be improved by a factor of 10 if the current camera was replaced with a photon-counting camera using EM-CCD technology and, most importantly, specially developed novel centroiding algorithms. In further studies, I used sample data from the RIXS spectrometer at PSI to suggest configurations and operational modes for a new camera that could be designed to make use of the substantial resolution improvement. The success of this work has led to PSI contracting a camera company to design, manufacture and commission a new camera system incorporating the recommendations and software algorithms, and I continue to work with my colleagues at PSI on this.
Undergraduate: University of Warwick, MPhys, First Class (with Honours)
I have 5 years of hands-on experience in operating photo-sensitive detectors in a world-leading research laboratory, and developing data processing and analysis pathways for both testing in the laboratory environment and during experimental campaigns at large-scale facilities such as the synchrotrons, BESSY-II (Germany), SLS (Switzerland) and Diamond (UK).
I pioneered the application of centroiding algorithms to soft X-ray events for the RIXS application during my PhD and continue to advise on their application in a new camera design. I developed the novel procedures that are essential for commissioning the centroiding algorithms and cameras in order to achieve optimum resolution performance, and plan to continue this avenue of research to continue improving this new generation of RIXS spectrometer cameras whilst investigating possibilities for detector and algorithm solutions which will yield even better resolutions and throughputs.
I am currently leading the radiation qualification of a CMOS Image Sensor, and the programme is allowing me to explore the effects of radiation on CMOS sensor technology. Particular areas of interest include non-linear responsivity measurements and correction, dark current behaviour, Random Telegraph Signal (RTS) and image lag. Future irradiations in the programme will lead to further avenues of investigation.
I supervise an STFC-funded PhD student who is researching themes related to the performance of next-generation CMOS Image Sensors for space applications. I also manage the day-to-day activities of a PDRA.
I have practical and hands-on teaching experience from leading a ‘CCD Basics’ course provided to engineers and scientists in the format of an intense 3-day workshop. Demonstration laboratory kits are used to operate a CCD using a variety of techniques to provide the participants, often from the European Space Agency, with a solid background in image sensor characterisation.