A first of its kind non-contact laser-based vibration sensor - AB-028

Preferred Disciplines: PhD or Post-Doc in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Project length: 12 months (possibly via Elevate program)
Desired start date: As soon as possible
Location: Calgary, AB
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: Canadian-based universities; other universities also considered. Language: English
Company: NA


About Company:

A start up company from Calgary, AB that has developed a unique IP for innovative vibrometer design. We’re looking for a talented and motivated individual to help develop a prototype that will be tested at the facilities of our large industrial partner.

Project Description:

The discipline of Vibrometery is wide and has many applications, vibrations are present in any mechanical system that involves moving components. So far, the main method to measure these vibrations has been the traditional accelerometer sensor, although it has its limitations and challenges.

Laser Doppler Vibrometers (LDV) were developed in order to address some of these limitations and they offer a non-contact measurement of vibrations by leveraging the Doppler shift of the laser’s wavelength induced by the target’s vibrations. Although LDV offers superior accuracy and the benefits of non-contact measurement, this technology has been historically very expensive and not practical for rugged industrial applications.

In this project, we propose to develop an alternative to LDV by utilizing the propriety technology developed by the partner company in the field of RF/photonics. The idea is to eliminate the interferometric front end and to design a vibrometer without the expensive opto-mechanical assembly that is required by LDV. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work on an exciting first of its kind technology with deep impact on the Vibrometery industry. The developed sensor will be tested both in the lab and in the field in collaboration with a major industrial partner with global presence.

Background and required skills

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

  • Trade off exploration between different design parameters and the achievable resolution/bandwidth
  • Sensor architecture definition and simulations to verify performance
  • Design and testing of the transmitter circuits
  • Receiver architecture design and validation with focus on low noise and high signal integrity design practices
  • Circuit level simulations and design of receiver front end (RF + mixed signal)
  • Digital backend design and setup of test environment
  • Performance evaluation, benchmarking and design refinements
  • Field testing
  • Paper write up + conference presentation


  • Critical path is the receiver architecture design
  • Emphasis on low noise design of TX/RX chains
  • Crosstalk elimination and high signal/power integrity design techniques
  • Offset cancellation techniques and switch cap circuit design
  • Careful selection of components and smart layout (e.g. differential signalling, shielding, clearances and more)
  • Design of an efficient and stable lab testing environment to ensure repeatable results
  • Work closely with partner company throughout the project
  • Work closely with industrial partners and third-party contractors and service providers

Expertise and Skills Needed:

  • Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering with focus on analog/mixed signal and photonics circuit design (completed <5 years ago)
  • Demonstrated ability to meet project deadlines and objectives
  • Open and effective communications skills
  • Deep understanding of analog/mixed signal design methodologies and board-level engineering practices with focus on low noise
  • Analog, RF and mixed signal board level design experience (schematic capture and layout) – with GHz circuits, low noise op amp design, transimpedance amplifiers, double balanced mixers, switched cap integrators, ADC and offset cancellation techniques – at least 5 years experience (academia or private sector)
  • Experience in multi board design with emphasis on signal/power integrity and low noise driven methodologies for analog/mixed signal circuits
  • Experience with schematic capture, layout and simulation CAD tools (such as Altium, Cadence)
  • Strong hands on experience in board bring up and troubleshooting as well as design of experimental setups in the lab
  • Hands on experience with test equipment such as oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers and signal generators
  • Preferred: experience or background in FPGA or micro controller embedded firmware design (VHDL or embedded language)

Preferred: Experience with basic optics principles and lasers


For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
  2. Complete this webform. You will be asked to upload your CV. Remember to indicate the title of the project(s) you are interested in and obtain your professor’s approval to proceed!
  3. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Oba Harding at, oharding(a)mitacs.ca.