PhD Studentship - Optical components for next generation quantum technology systems

United Kingdom
Oct 13, 2016
May 01, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
PhD Studentship - Optical components for next generation quantum technology systems Optoelectronics Research Centre

Location: Highfield Campus

Closing Date:  Monday 01 May 2017

Reference: 791916EH

Project title: Optical components for next generation quantum technology systems               

Supervisor: Prof. Peter GR Smith         

Co-supervisor: Dr Corin BE Gawith, Dr Christopher Holmes

Project description

This PhD studentship is fully sponsored by the United States Air Force (USAF) European Office for Aerospace R&D; (EOARD) and is to be conducted in the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre, UK.

Quantum Technology is a disruptive paradigm that offers the potential to revolutionise many areas of science, technology and defence. In particular the unique property of quantum entanglement offers physical level security for communication guaranteed by the laws of quantum mechanics. If scaling can be realised, then quantum information processing offers the potential for incredible improvements in processor speeds and in allowing algorithms to be run that are impossible on conventional Von Neumann computer architecture.

This PhD project aims to develop the optical technology platforms that will enable the scalable realisation of quantum technology. Firstly this will involve the development of a new ultra-low-loss integrated optical waveguide technology in silica-on-silicon that offers the potential for losses that are orders of magnitude lower than current state-of-the-art. The second area of development will look at bespoke nonlinear optical components based on periodically poled nonlinear materials to generate blue and near-UV wavelengths for quantum applications.

The research is very hands-on, involving a wide range of disciplines and technologies including fibre optics, optical metrology, computational modelling, laser processing, cleanroom-based manufacturing and material sciences. Data analysis, material characterisation, microscopy and analysis techniques will also be used to complement the research.

The prospective candidate shall work closely with the European Office of Aerospace Research & Development (EOARD), our collaborators in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded UK Quantum Technology Hubs, and our project partners at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST, USA). Design and development of components and new fabrication processes shall be performed at the University of Southampton’s world leading Optoelectronics Research Centre, utilising state-of-the-art cleanroom tooling and laser fabrication technology.

 Please contact: for further details. 

 The PhD programme

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) PhD comprises a solid education for a research career. The structured first year involves attending our training programme running in parallel with carrying out your research project. This provides a smooth transition from your degree course towards the more open-ended research that takes place in the following years under the guidance of your project supervisors. We expect the vast majority of our students to present their work at international conferences and to write papers in leading academic journals as their research progresses. Students will emerge from the PhD with skills at the forefront of future photonics research and will benefit from the many opportunities to interact with the wider community of PhD students across the Southampton Campus through academic, sporting and cultural events.

The ORC is the leading photonics research institute in the UK and possibly in Europe. It comprises state-of-the-art cleanrooms for optical fibre, planar photonics, silicon and bio-photonics fabrication and over 80 laboratories. Computer simulations will benefit from Southampton’s high performance computing cluster Iridis, one of the largest supercomputers in the UK. A PhD at the ORC has enabled our past graduates to make successful careers in academia, in national scientific laboratories, and as scientists or business leaders in industry. Our research papers, patents, spin-off companies and these successful alumni taken together place Southampton amongst the top institutes worldwide.

 Key facts

Entry requirements: first or upper second-class degree or equivalent.

We invite candidates from a range of disciplines including Physics, Electronics, and Electrical Engineering. Interested candidates should have an upper second or higher (or equivalent) degree, with an interest in optoelectronics and quantum technology. We will aim to recruit the strongest student regardless of nationality or citizenship, but all candidates will need to comply with UK visa regulations on PhD study.

Funding: full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 30 November 2016 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Duration: typically three years (full-time)