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PhD in Electron Beam Probing for Quality Assurance

Brunel University
PhD Studentship between TWI Ltd and Brunel University

Location: TWI Ltd (Abington, Cambridge) and Brunel University (Uxbridge, West London)

Duration: Three years

Bursary: Ł16,000 p.a. plus fees

Start date: September/October 2012


The Electron Beam (EB) Section at TWI is focused on development of electron beam welding and materials processing for a wide range of applications. It is currently engaged in a range of projects where beam profile, quality and repeatability are important and has developed novel beam probing and analysis technologies which could become a powerful QA production tool.

TWI has developed an approach to probing electron beams to measure their profile and power characteristics. This prototype equipment is unique in both physical format and data processing/display. TWI wishes to build on this development by enhancing the prototype to meet the needs of production applications, enabling effective integration of the beam probe for a wide variety of EB welding and processing users. The student would work closely with experts within TWI and also have good exposure to one or more major manufacturers employing beam probing in a production environment. Areas of investigation and development could include:

•Determination of existing system performance and repeatability, especially related to EB gun condition and maintenance events.
•Evaluation of laboratory and production environment beam probe data (based on Statistical Process Control/Six Sigma methodologies) to determine trends and key performance indicators.
•Design review and practical development of next generation beam probe, capable of measuring characteristics of macro and micro-beams (down to 1μm diameter).

The project will be jointly supervised by Brunel University ( and TWI Ltd ( The academic supervisors will be Professor. W Balachandran and Dr. M Abbod, School of Engineering & Design at Brunel University, and the industrial supervisor will be Mr Andrew Dack at TWI Ltd. The student will be based primarily with the sponsor company TWI Ltd (Cambridge) working with state-of-the-art electron beam welding and processing equipment, returning to the University to attend events such as scientific and non-scientific short courses, meetings, and to use characterisation facilities. The costs of travel and accommodation associated with the time spent at Brunel University will be covered by TWI Ltd.

Professional Development

Brunel Graduate School supports all postgraduates and early career researchers with the university through the provision of a comprehensive skills development programme, workshops and networking events, research prizes and 24/7 study and social facilities. In addition, the student will participate in selected courses of TWI Ltd’s graduate development programme and will be encouraged to work towards Chartered Engineer status with the relevant Professional Institute (for example, IEE). A suitable mentor will be provided by TWI Ltd.


Applicants should have or expect to obtain the equivalent of a 2.1 or first class undergraduate degree in engineering or physics and should have excelled in previous study of physics, electronics, statistics and/or mathematics. A postgraduate degree in these subject areas is also desirable, but not a necessity. The terms of the studentship are the full payment of Home/EU fees for a maximum of three years, and Ł16,000 per year, subject to annual review and satisfactory progress.

Applications should be sent by email marked for the attention of Professor Balachandran, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH to by clicking Apply Online below.