Mechanical Engineering MSc – Investigation of noise sources in beam profile reflectometry and ellipsometry

Location: Swansea University, College of Engineering – Bay Campus

Annual Stipend: £11,702

Application Deadline: 15th November 2019 (Start date – early January 2020)

Project Description (max 500 words):

The Nightingale Ltd has developed a system for measuring thin films and coatings using proprietary technologies called Beam Profile Reflectometry (BPR) and Beam Profile Ellipsometry (BPE). The underlying technology, which works by analysing the profile of a reflected laser beam, was developed in the semiconductor industry in the 1990s but only used in that industry on perfectly flat and smooth surfaces. Nightingale-EOS has shown how the technology can be extended for use on tilted, curved and rough surfaces, and has identified many potential uses in the medical device, pharmaceutical and engineering industries.

The current hardware is affected by sources of noise which make its measurements insufficiently stable for production use in a commercial environment. The objective of this project is to identify the sources of noise and the development of suitable mitigation for them. This will require the generation of a quantity of raw data from which noise patterns can be identified and correlated with external factors. This will require the collection and statistical analysis of data, including the condition of the measurement system and its environment, as well as the measurement data pertaining to various types of sample-under-test. The project will also include predictive mathematical modelling, in order to test hypothesis about the behaviour of the apparatus and compare modelled predictions with the results of subsequent measurements.

 The scholarship offers all eligible participants (student):

  • KESS Scholarship holders do not pay fees
  • A monthly stipend to £11,702 per annum
  • An additional budget to support your research of £3,000 for travel, conference attendance, minor equipment, consumables and training
  • An opportunity to access a suite of higher level skills training & attendance at a residential KESS Grad School
  • A minimum of 30 days a year working with the company partner on their allocated project
  • All participants must complete the KESS Postgraduate Skills Development Award


Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in the undergraduate degree in a closely related subject. They should also be eligible for UK/EU fees (see–advice/fees-and-money/Wales-fee-status for more information. For more information on eligibility criteria please refer to section C of the KESS 2 Participant Proposal From.

How to Apply:

Applicants are strongly advised to contact Prof Tim Claypole regarding information on the area of research by email (

To apply:

  1. Complete the KESS 2 Participant Proposal Form – and return to
  2. Complete the KESS 2 Supplementary form – and return to

You will also need to provide copies of the following documentation:

  • Degree certificate/s
  • Two references*
  • CV
  • English language certificate (if required)
  • All supporting documentation as detailed in Section C of the KESS 2 Participant Proposal Form
  • *The references can take the form of a letter on official headed paper, or via the Universities standard reference form. Alternatively, referees can directly email a reference from their employer email account to Please note that references received via private emails accounts (e.g. Hotmail, yahoo) cannot be accepted.

Please return both application forms and supporting documentation to the KESS office at the address stated on the KESS application form (original ink signatures only)

Application forms may be submitted in Welsh and any application in Welsh will be treated no less favourably than an application received in English.

For other queries, please contact:

 Mandatory text, do not delete:

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.

Due to ESF funding, eligibility restrictions apply to this scholarship. To be eligible, the successful candidate will need to be resident in the Convergence Area of Wales on University registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification.