PhD Studentship: Fibre lasers for sensors

United Kingdom
Nov 30, 2016
May 01, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
PhD Studentship: Fibre lasers for sensors

Optoelectronics Research Centre

Location: Highfield Campus

Closing Date:  Monday 01 May 2017

Reference: 812616EH

Project title: Fibre lasers for sensors

Supervisor: Prof Johan Nilsson, Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), University of Southampton

Start date: Most students start in September, but an earlier start date is preferred.

The recent decade has seen a phenomenal growth in the capabilities of fibre lasers. Sensors (e.g., lidar) is one of the most demanding application areas, because of requirements on pulse energy, wavelength, beam quality, linewidth, and advanced modulation formats. These are difficult to meet, and the objective of continuous research. There is now an opening for a PhD student in this area, based on a new collaboration with Northrop Grumman (a US company). The research remit is quite open and the details can be adjusted to the profile of the student, but is likely to involve research on stimulated Brillouin scattering and high-concentration erbium-doped fibres. You will work in ORC’s renowned high-power fibre laser group (, in top-class laboratories and with unsurpassed access to tailor-made fibres from ORC’s fibre fab. You will be integrated fully in the group, and conduct research both independently and together with other members of the group and ORC. There are also be opportunities for visits to Northrop Grumman and their events in America. Beyond the immediate research project, you will have excellent opportunities to participate in many exciting activities in ORC’s open and rich research environment and work with world leaders and pioneers in the field of fibre lasers.

Candidates for this position should have an interest in lasers and fibre optics, including design. The research is likely to focus on experimental work, but will involve modelling and simulations in a mix that can be adapted to suit the interests of the student. A visit to meet us is recommended. Phone / Skype interviews are also possible.

Up to £8,000 of yearly top-up is available to the successful candidate. A fully funded PhD place on this project is available for UK applicants. Students from overseas will need to secure funding.

For further information please contact Prof Johan Nilsson (, 023 8059 3101).

The PhD programme

The ORC PhD comprises a solid education for a research career. The structured first year involves attending our training programme. In parallel you will carry out your research project, with increasing emphasis in subsequent years. As your research progresses, you are expected to present your work at international conferences and write papers for leading scientific journals. You will emerge from the PhD with skills at the forefront of fibre laser research and will benefit from the many opportunities to interact with the university’s wider community of PhD students through academic, sporting and cultural events.

The ORC is recognised as a world leader in fibre laser research. Its researchers invented the fibre amplifiers that enable the internet and made pioneering advances in fibre sources for sensing as well as in the high power fiber lasers currently used industrially. ORC graduates make successful careers in academia, in national laboratories, and as scientists or business leaders in industry. Our research papers, patents, spin-off companies and these successful alumni place Southampton amongst the top institutes worldwide.

Key facts

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

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 March 2017 for standard admissions (September start date), but early applications and start dates will be considered.

Duration: typically 3.5 years (full-time)

Funding: full tuition and an enhanced stipend of £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years (for UK students) plus up to £8,000 per annum tax-free top-up (for suitable candidates).

Assessment: eight-and 16-month reports and viva voce determine progression to PhD; progression reports, viva voce and thesis examination

Start date: typically September but can be any time subject to funding.