PhD Studentship: Novel nano-mechanical materials and devices for photonics

United Kingdom
Nov 30, 2016
May 01, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
PhD Studentship: Novel nano-mechanical materials and devices for photonics

Optoelectronics Research Centre

Location: Highfield Campus

Closing Date:  Monday 01 May 2017

Reference: 812916EH

Project title: Novel nano-mechanical materials and devices for photonics

Supervisor: Dr. Eric Plum

Co-supervisor: Prof. Nikolay Zheludev

Project description

The University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) hosts the UK’s flagship research programme on photonic metamaterials - a new generation of nanotech-enabled materials with engineered, actively controllable optical properties (see: Science 348, 973 (2015); Nature Nanotechnology 11, 16 (2016);

One of the main research directions of our programme is developing metamaterials consisting of nanoscale building blocks that can be moved by external forces (e.g. due to electrical or magnetic signals and light illumination). Such nanoscale motion can radically change the optical properties of matter and will enable the development of a new generation of optical devices such as re-focusable flat lenses, dynamic holographic displays and optical components with programmable properties.

This PhD project will look at the intriguing physics of electromagnetic, mechanical and optical forces at the nanoscale and will aim to develop practical applications of nano-opto-mechanical metamaterials in photonic devices.

Students with a background in physics, an interest in photonic technologies, and a desire to develop advanced skills in advanced nanofabrication, electron and optical microscopy, experimental photonics and computational electromagnetic modelling, would be a good fit to this exciting project area. You will join a strong international group of students, postdoctoral and academic staff working together on many aspects of cutting-edge nanophotonics.

To discuss any details of the project informally, or to arrange a visit to meet us and see our facilities, please contact Eric Plum [] or Nikolay Zheludev [].

 The PhD programme

The ORC PhD provides 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 our students to present their work at major international conferences and to write papers in leading academic journals as their research progresses.

The ORC is a world-leading photonics research organisation of around 200 research staff and students, famous for the development of novel photonic technologies underpinned by cutting-edge research in materials. Its mission is to combine applications-led research with fundamental studies into the generation, transmission and control of light. A PhD here has enabled our past graduates to make successful careers in academia, in national scientific laboratories, and as scientists or business leaders in industry.

A fully funded PhD position is available for UK applicants. Overseas students who have secured some external funding are also encouraged to apply. EU students with no external funding may additionally contend for a small number of competitively allocated scholarships.

Key facts

Apply online:

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

Closing date:Applications for 2017 entry are open now; early application is strongly advised. For reasons of funding allocation, applications from international candidates should be made by 31st March 2017. UK applications are accepted throughout the year.

Duration: Typically 3.5 years (full-time).

Start date: Typically September/October (but other start dates are possible).

Funding: All fully-funded places include paid tuition fees and a tax-free bursary to cover your living expenses. Our UK-student enhanced stipend is £18,000 per annum for up to 3.5 years. The EU/International bursary is based levels set by the UK Research Councils - in 2016 this was £14,296 per annum for up to 3.5 years.

Assessment: periodic written reports and viva voce examinations determine progression; PhD award is subject to final thesis submission and viva voce examination.

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