Advanced Sensor Technology for Astrobiology
Astrobiology is an interdisciplinary science that seeks to understand the limits of life and the potential for life elsewhere. Projects in this topic involve the study of life under single and multiple extremes and the study of life in extreme rocky environments. At the University of Edinburgh there is a particular interest in life in extreme environments, how life adapts to single and multiple extremes, how life adapts to conditions in the planetary crust and the habitability of other planetary bodies. One technical question that underpins all of these areas is: how can we detect whether environments are habitable to life and what are the best ways to detect life itself?
This project is intended to initiate a highly interdisciplinary collaboration between the School of Engineering (Institute for Micro and Nano Systems) and the School of Physics & Astronomy (UK Centre for Astrobiology; Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems) that may additionally involve aspects of chemistry and biochemistry.
The purpose of the project is to develop and characterize advanced sensor technology for the detection of the elements capable of supporting life in extreme environments both on earth and beyond. There is scope for the initial project as described to encompass two linked PhD projects – one emphasizing the biochemistry & sensing and the other emphasizing the sensor technology & integration.
We expect this will lead to follow-on projects with the long term aim of deploying the sensors in extreme environments on earth and in space.
This PhD is offered as a joint project between the UK Centre for Astrobiology and the School of Engineering (Scottish Microelectronics Centre).
- Professor Charles Cockell (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
- Ian Underwood (School of Engineering)
The project supervisors welcome informal enquiries about this project.
Find out more about this research area
The links below summarise our research in the area(s) relevant to this project:
- Find out more about Astrobiology.
- Find out more about the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems.
- Find out how to apply for our PhD degrees.
- Find out about fees and funding and studentship opportunities.
- View and complete the application form (on the main University website).
- Find out how to contact us for more information.