Dr Richard French

Senior Research Fellow

Email: r.s.french@sheffield.ac.uk

Thematic area:

Advanced Engineering, Particle Detector Technologies, Irradiation Studies, Tracking Detector Development, Robotics for Radioactive Environments, Embedded Monitoring Sensors


Dr Richard French is a Senior Research Fellow at The University of Sheffield. He leads the Enabling Sciences for Intelligent Manufacturing (ESIM) group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and is Director of Research at Sheffield Robotics.

He holds a PhD. in Applied Physics from The University of Sheffield with a strong background in mechanical engineering, nuclear physics and microelectronics which provides his interdisciplinary research direction for the development of advanced robotic and automated systems for flexible manufacturing and decommissioning hazardous environments.

With over 21 years of hands on experience drawn from research projects based in partnership with the Aerospace & Nuclear industries and wider scientific research (CERN). He provides research leadership & direction for a large research agency portfolio of collaborative industrial research jointly funded with UK SMEs to major OEM companies.

From 2004, Richard has been a member of the ATLAS collaboration based at CERN, the Central European Organisation for Nuclear Research, developing novel technologies for the construction of large scale semiconductor particle physics tracking detectors, and playing leading roles in detector R&D and construction.

Richard has held multiple EPSRC, STFC, Innovate-UK Collaborative Research and Development grants as PI to give a combined research income to Sheffield at 80%FEC of> £8.5 M since 2011. He has over 19,500 citations and an H-index of 27 on Google Scholar.

Research interests include:

  • Robotics, collaboration, dextrous manipulation
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Irradiation and hazardous environments
  • Advanced fusion welding
  • Advanced intelligent manufacturing for Industry 4.0.

Research Novelty from 2011:

Developing advanced manufacturing technologies for ultra-thin super alloy material joining in aerospace re-manufacturing with UK partners. Significant economic benefits achieved from re-use and repair of previously unrepairable materials found in gas turbines and engines using our jointly developed technology.
Novel real-time monitoring and evaluation equipment developed by own research has now started to make serious impact within aerospace and the nuclear industries. Coupled with radiation hard robotics systems developed for CERN and UK industry has products nearing market readiness targeted towards nuclear decommissioning.

Current projects include:

  • Autonomous Re-Manufacturing System
  • Single Manufacturing Platform Environment
  • SIMPLE Phase I with NAMRC
  • Real-Time Defect Characterisation (commercial)
  • Intelligent Inspection and Manipulation of Nuclear Materials
  • Applied particle physics detector development with aerospace and nuclear applications
  • AIDA 2020, Advanced Infrastructure for Detectors at Accelerators
  • Cyclotron Irradiation Systems
  • Intelligent Process Monitoring OEM Platform
  • Automated re-manufacture & development of thin Titanium components using low heat input fusion welding. Project with ARTC Singapore.
  • Free-form Welding Systems
  • Human VRAR Interactions
  • Hyperpulse Deep Penetration Welding
  • ATLAS Phase II Upgrade
  • AIDA2020: EU H2020
  • Particle Physics Consolidated Grant II from the University of Sheffield - ATLAS, ATLAS upgrade, T2K, LBNE/F, Hyper-K, MICE, LZ, DMGS, DRIFT, R&D, KE

Past projects include:

  • ATLAS Phase I Upgrade
  • AIDA: EU FP7
  • Ultra Thin Advanced Aerospace Alloy Joining Using Automated Constricted Gas Tungsten Arc with VBC Instrument Engineering Ltd
  • Radiation Tolerance Development with Shadow Robot Company
  • 3D Machine Vision with i3D Robotics Ltd
  • Stereo-Welding: Intelligent Vision for Energy facilities Inspection and Welding (IVEIW)
  • UK-ITk Irradiation Programme
  • Flexible Manufacturing, Future Vision
  • Shadow IAA
  • ATLAS Semi-Conductor Tracking Detector
  • Particle Physics Consolidated Grant I from the University of Sheffield - ATLAS, ATLAS upgrade, T2K, FNE, MICE, EDELWEISS/EURECA, DMGS, SNO+, R&D, KE

Publications: Richards’ publications can be viewed on Google Scholar