Assistant Professor

+44 (0)131 451 3084
Room G.23
Earl Mountbatten Building
Heriot-Watt University
Robert RJ Maier

In Robert’s more recent research (2009/10) he investigated the use of distributed sensing based on Rayleigh scattering in fibre optics for transverse load sensing and shape monitoring in multicore fibres and the embedding of fibre Bragg gratings into components made by additive layer manufacturing (2010/11).

Robert also collaborates (with Jon Shephard and Duncan Hand) and works on the development of hollow core photonic crystal fibres in the mid IR and in the visible for high power laser beam delivery in medical applications (midIR) and general laser based machining technology.

The current and near term research focus (2011/…) is on the development of FBG based strain sensing at very high temperatures for the detection of, for example, stress corrosion cracking in steam pipes in future power generation facilities operating at temperatures of up to 700 oC using FBGs embedded into metallic structures using additive layer manufacturing technologies.

In May 2012 the research group was awarded a FP7 research project in collaboration with 9 european reseach partners valued at Euro 4.5M on the development of new materials for high temperature applications in turbine technology with a focus on additive layer and laser cladding manufacturing technology. As part of this research, the embedding of fibres into structures manufactured using these new technologies will be researched and developed.

Selected publications

1. Richard M Carter, Peter Morrall, Robert R J. Maier, Benjamin J S Jones, Scott McCulloch and James S Barton “Optical characterisation of RF sputter coated palladium thin films for hydrogen sensing” Proc. SPIE 7753, (2011)

2. Maier, R.R.J., et al. (2011). “Fibre Optic Strain and Configuration Sensing in Engineering components produced by Additive Layer Rapid Manufacturing” In Proc. IEEE Sensors, Limerick, ISBN 978-1-4244-9288-6, pp. 1353-1357.

3. Urich, A., Delmonte, T., Maier, R. R. J., et al., "Towards implementation of hollow core fibres for surgical applications," Proceedings of SPIE Vol. 7894, 78940W (2011).

4. Robert R J Maier, William N MacPherson, James S Barton, Scott McCulloch and Benjamin J S Jones “Distributed sensing using Rayleigh scatter in polarization-maintaining fibres for transverse load sensing” Meas. Sci. Technol. 21 094019 (2010)

5. Maier, R. R. J., MacPherson, W. N., Barton, J. S., "Distributed transverse load sensing in polarisation maintaining fibres using Rayleigh backscatter" in 20th Int. Conf. on Optical Fibre Sensors, Proc. SPIE Vol. 7503, 75030C (2009)

6. Robert RJ. Maier, James S. Barton and Mathias Kuhn” Ratiometric interrogation of dynamically strained fiber Bragg gratings” 19th International Conference on Optical Fibre Sensors, April 2008, Perth Australia Parts 1 and 2, Proc SPIE Vol 7004, pp A40 (2008)

7. Maier RRJ, Jones BJS, Barton JS, et al. “Fibre optics in palladium-based hydrogen sensing” JOURNAL OF OPTICS A-PURE AND APPLIED OPTICS 9 (6): S45-S59 (2007)


Robert Maier graduated Dipl.Ing.FH in 1980 in Feinwerktechnik. After a year as researcher at a clinic for nuclear medicine he joined the MPI for Quantum Optics as experimental officer. Here he developed his interest into laser technology, mass spectrometry and experimental instrumentation. In 1985 he joined Technolas Lasertechnik as R&D manager, developing excimer lasers for medical applications in ophthalmology). In 1987 he joined FORTH, the leading research institution in Crete to assist in building up their infrastructure and research facilities and to carry out research into LIBS of metal ores. He then moved on to Edinburgh University, Chemistry in 1988. where he continued research begun at FORTH. His main interests focused on laser based material analysis, photo electron spectroscopy, time of flight mass spectrometry, but in particular he worked on MALDI, molecular beam instrumentation and optical spectroscopy. 1998 he joined the Physics department at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh where he is currently a Research Fellow working on fibre optic sensor technology in engineering applications and high power laser applications . In 2006 he was awarded a PhD in Physics on application of fibre Bragg gratings in sensor technology.

His research focuses on optical sensor technology for physical measurements, the application of FBGs in sensor systems and the use of absolute interferometric distance sensing for engineering applications. Environmental sensing, especially fibre optic based hydrogen sensing, is another corner stone of his activities. More recently he also restarted research in high power laser applications for precision machining and engineering applications.

During Summer semester 2012 he was invited to the Munich University for Applied Sciences [MUAS] as a visiting Professor on a Fellowship, At MUAS he taught a course on Optoelectronic Instrumentation and collaborates with Johannes Roths on high temperature compatible fibre Bragg gratings. He is also a Fellow of MUAS.