PhD Scholarship
The University of Adelaide

School of Mathematical Sciences

Posted on: Tue Apr 11 2017

Unsteady capillary stretching for microstructured tapers.

This is an opportunity to work in the exciting area of optical fibre technology. You will work with Associate Professor Yvonne Stokes and members of the world-renowned Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) at the University of Adelaide. This is one of two PhD projects being offered; see also "Micro-bubble and micro-bottle blowing in a fibre for whispering gallery resonator sensors."

Microstructured optical fibres (MOFs) have revolutionised optical fibre technology, with a virtually limitless range of designs for a wide range of applications, including as whispering gallery resonator biochemical sensors with the limit of detection potentially down to a single molecule. These are fabricated from commercially available capillaries by first drawing or tapering the capillary down to the required diameter (typically < 100μm), and then heating a small section while, at the same time, pressurising the air inside to form a bottle or bubble in the heated region.

Mathematics is essential to solving the inverse problem of determining the preform and draw parameters to produce a desired fibre and has already proved to be of significant practical benefit. This project focuses on mathematical modelling of the fabrication of microstructured tapers used for whispering gallery resonator sensors, mass-spectrometry and medical devices. Their fabrication is by heating and pulling a suitable capillary/preform. Pressurisation of the air channel(s) may be required to achieve the desired geometry. You will develop coupled flow and temperature models using asymptotic methods to exploit the slenderness of the taper. You will use your models to investigate the relationship between the length of the heated region and the temperature, the pulling tension and velocity, the surface tension and pressure, on the length of the taper and the cross-sectional geometry along its length. You will have the opportunity to be involved in experiments with skilled technicians, for comparison with your model predictions.


These include

  • A PhD scholarship of $26,682 per annum (2017 rate) for 3 years,
  • Full coverage of PhD tuition fees (if applicable),
  • A top-up scholarship of $5000 per annum for 3 years from Trajan Scientific and Medical,
  • Collaboration with experts in photonics at IPAS.


Applicants should hold a first class Honours or a Masters degree in applied mathematics, physics, engineering, or a closely related area, and should have some knowledge of theoretical fluid mechanics. Equivalent international qualifications will be considered.

For further information on the project or the application process please email Associate Professor Yvonne Stokes (

This position will be open until filled.

**Mention you saw it on the AustMS website**