PhD Studentship: Ultrafast Dynamics in Photonic Metamaterials

United Kingdom
Nov 30, 2016
May 01, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
PhD Studentship: Ultrafast Dynamics in Photonic Metamaterials

Optoelectronics Research Centre

Location: Highfield Campus

Closing Date:  Monday 01 May 2017

Reference: 813016EH

Project title: Ultrafast Dynamics in Photonic Metamaterials

Supervisor: Dr. Kevin MacDonald

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);

Advanced materials with unique dielectric and plasmonic properties offer new and enhanced modes of light-matter interaction. They are redefining the limits of what is possible in terms of the magnitude and speed of material response to optical excitation over nanometre-scale interaction lengths, and promise step-changes in the miniaturization and reduced energy consumption of optical modulation, sensing, switching and memory devices.

This PhD project will investigate nonlinear and phase-change response mechanisms in a variety of ultra-thin and nanostructured designer optical materials, for example extremely high-/low-refractive index dielectrics, and plasmonic ‘topological insulators’ with intriguing electromagnetic surface states.

Students with a knowledge of and keen interest in fundamental physics and ultrafast/nonlinear optics, and a desire to develop advanced skills in experimental photonics, computational electromagnetic modelling and nanofabrication, 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 Kevin MacDonald [] 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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