PhD Position in Optical Oxygen Mapping in Porous Biomaterials





The MeBioS Biophotonics group at the KU Leuven Department of Biosystems investigates the physical properties of biological materials to develop new technologies for the agro-food chain. The fundamental research activities focus on measurement of the optical properties and exploitation of this information to develop novel sensor technologies. In our applied research, these techniques are combined with advanced data analysis for quality assessment and optimization of agro-food products.

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Many biological materials have a porous structure with open spaces distributed over a (semi)solid matrix. Especially for respiring biological tissues, pores are a key element in the supply and removal of gasses such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapor. Nondestructive quantification of these internal gasses is challenging. Gas in scattering media absorption spectroscopy (GASMAS) is a novel optical technique for measuring gas concentrations in porous materials. As both the gas concentration and the path length through the gas in a porous medium are unknown, GASMAS results are typically reported as equivalent path lengths. The first step in this research will be to overcome the issue of an unknown path length. This will allow to determine absolute oxygen or water vapor concentrations inside the biomaterial together with its (optical) porosity. However, such measurements yield average values, whereas biological porous materials often exhibit internal gradients. Information on these gradients is vital, as they are closely linked to gas transport, respiration processes and the occurrence of gas-related disorder such as hypoxia. Therefore, this research aims at taking GASMAS beyond the state of the art by embedding our GASMAS system in a tomography setup and elaborate reconstruction algorithms to enable tomographic mapping of the gas concentration gradients throughout the material. This technique will be validated on porous models systems, before demonstrating its potential for nondestructive mapping of internal gas concentrations on porous agrofood products. 


To perform this research, the MeBioS Biophotonics group is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate. Do you hold a master in optics, photonics or (bio-)engineering with a keen interest in optical sensors and data science? Do you have a creative, critical, analytical and innovative mindset? Do you have a hands-on mentality? Do you have excellent oral and written communication skills in English? Then you may be the perfect candidate to join our team. Experience with programming, tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS) or diffuse optical tomography is considered a plus.

  •        We offer a full-time PhD position for 1 year. After positive evaluation, the contract can be extended to 4 years.

  •        Excellent guidance by our young, dynamic and multidisciplinary team.

  •        State-of-the-art research infrastructure.

  •        A challenging job in a young, dynamic environment.

  •        High-level scientific training at a top-ranked university.

  •        Being part of a world-class research group.

  •        Remuneration according to the KU Leuven salary scales (


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Wouter Saeys, tel.: +32 16 32 85 27, mail: or Mrs. Annelies Postelmans, tel.: +32 16 37 64 31, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than September 05, 2022, via the online application tool

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