PhD Position

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Computational optical metrology development for defects, damages and deviations detection in aerospace structures subjected to ground and flight conditions

Supervisor: Professor José Luis Vega Miguel (Aerosertec CEO), Juan Sanz Peciña (Aerosertec R&T Manager), Professor José A. Rodríguez-Martínez (University Carlos III of Madrid)

AEROSERTEC develops and manufactures visual systems to identify and measure surface imperfections and damage in aerospace and defense structures. For this purpose, AEROSERTEC accumulated over the years great expertise on the use of different technologies, especially in mechanical testing and assembly applications for aerospace (though they are used in fields as diverse as medical imaging and industrial quality controls) due to its relative ease of implementation and use. Within this context, in this research we aim at developing a measurement methodology, based on the Plennoptic technology, to detect
mechanical damage before, during and after flight-tests of aircraft components. From the theoretical point of view, the challenge is to derive a mathematical model suitable to re-create from the captive image a complete high precision and measurable 3D scene. From the experimental point of view, the challenge is to validate and make operational this measurement methodology. For that goal, flight-tests on aircraft-wing structures will be performed. These are experiments to establish how aircraft-wing structures behave with normal and exceptional loads. The results shall provide precise information about the loading conditions and the level of strains that lead to surface damage in aerospace structural elements.

Research outputs:

Development of a mathematical model measuring real-time initiation and progression of surface mechanical damage or defects in aircraft structures. It is a challenge hardly approached by the industry. This fact
motivates this investigation in which we will develop a measurement method capable of detecting damage and defects and its evolutions in aircraft-wing structures before, during and after flight-tests. This research will strengthen the competitiveness of AEROSERTEC and will enable to the company to reach a leadership position in relation to its competitors.

Multidisciplinary/ intersectoral research approach:

The ESR will develop at the University Carlos III of Madrid the core of the mathematical model to describe the imaging properties of projector and cameras, and the tests on aircraft-wing structures will be developed at AEROSERTEC. Taking advantage of the geographical proximity between AEROSERTEC and the University Carlos III of Madrid, the ESR will conduct periodic visits to the UC3M where she/he will have regular meetings with the academic advisor of her/his thesis. Moreover, the ESR will conduct a dedicated secondment at the University Carlos III of Madrid where she/he will be assisted to implement the mathematical model into a computational code. In addition, the ESR will conduct a secondment at the TECHNION where she/he will interpret and analyze the results of the flight-tests to determine the precise loading conditions which lead to surface damage in the aircraft-wing structures.

Training activities:

The successful candidate will have access to the PhD program of the University Carlos III of Madrid as well as to the training activities organized within the OUTCOME consortium (see here for more information).


The successful candidate will be employed for 3 years and receive a financial package plus an additional mobility and family allowance according to the rules for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in an EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Networks (ITN):

  • Living allowance – 3035.36€ (per month).
  • Mobility allowance – 600€ (per month).
  • Family allowance – 500€ (per month – if applicable).

This amount is a gross contribution to the salary costs. Net salary will result from deducting all compulsory social security/direct taxes from the gross salary according to the law applicable to the agreement concluded with the ESR.

Additional information about the funding provided by the ITN  projects can be found here.

Key publications:

Adelson, T. A. Single lens stereo with a plenoptic camera. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 1992; 14: 99-106.
Clare, R., Lane, R. Wave-front sensing from subdivision of the focal plane with a lenslet array. Journal of the Optical Society of America. 2005; 22: 117-125.
Conforti, G. Zernike aberration coefficients from Seidel and higher-order power-series coefficients. Optics Letters. 1983; 8: 407-408.
Marichal-Hernández, J. G., Rodríguez-Ramos, J. M., & Rosa, F. (2007). Modal Fourier wavefront reconstruction using graphics processing units. Journal of Electronic Imaging. 2007; 16: 023005.
Rodriguez-Ramos L. F., Viera T., Gigante J. V., Gago F., Herrera G., Alonso A., Descharmes N. et al. FPGA adaptive optics test bench. Astronomical Adaptive Optics Systems and Applications II. Edited by Tyson R. K., Lloyd-Hart M. Proceedings of the SPIE. 2005; 5903: 120-128.
Goodmann, J. W. Introduction to Fourier Optics. Edited by McGraw-Hill. 1996.
Rodríguez-Ramos, J. M. Detección de frente de onda: Aplicación a técnicas de alta resolución espacial y alineamiento de superficies ópticas segmentadas. Tesis Doctoral. Universidad de La Laguna. 1997.
Rodríguez-Ramos, J. M. International Patente nº ES200800126 ES200600210. 2006


We are looking for highly motivated early-stage researchers with the following profile:

  • Hands-on mentality, good organizational and communication skills.
  • Proactive attitude and ability to work both independently/autonomously and within a team.
  • Excellent communication skills in English.

In order to meet the specific requirements of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie funded PhDs, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Spain for more than 12 months in
the last 3 years. You may be of any Nationality.

Required educational level:

Degree: Master degree or equivalent
Degree field: Engineering vision and automatization
Degree: Master degree or equivalent
Degree field: Physics Optics
Degree: Master degree or equivalent
Degree field: Mathematics (computational science)

Career stage:

Early stage researcher or 0-4 years (Post graduate).

Professional and/or research experience:

We will particularly consider those candidates with proven experience in technological and/or research activities. Publication/s in journals indexed in the Journal of Citation Reports will be especially welcomed.

Letter of motivation:

The candidates must provide a letter of motivation where they clearly state why, under their point of view, they should be enrolled in OUTCOME.


At least, one recommendation letter from the scientist/s who mentored the candidate during her/his master studies is required. The letter must clearly expose the profile of the candidate with emphasis in the qualities which make her/him suitable for being recruited in OUTCOME. Additional recommendation letters from any other professor/professional will be most welcomed.

Specific qualifications:

Candidates should have a solid background in Mathematics and Programming. Desired knowledge: CUDA, GPUs, FPGA knowledge, Fortran, C++, Unix.

Flexible working conditions:

We are committed to provide flexible hours and home working conditions for researchers having family obligations. The following web-site contains relevant information related to the EU equal opportunities policy.

Moreover, the web-site  facilitates geographic mobility by providing help to find a job for an accompanying partner.

The application period is closed.
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