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PhD OPEN DAY

Considering a PhD in Photonics? - Come along to our open day on Wednesday 22 March 2017 and find out how you could have a brighter career...

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Optical Engineering & Quantum Photonics

The research group concentrates on the development of novel optoelectronic devices for applications in telecommunications, sensors and laser optics. Working closely with two University spin-outs (www.stratophase.com and www.covesion.com), we aim to develop advanced functionality devices by modifying and patterning standard optoelectronic materials.

The core of our technology lies in innovative control of materials using direct UV laser writing for waveguides and Bragg grating inscription, electrical poling technology for the creation of domain inverted ferroelectric materials and the deposition and processing of glass and silicon based materials. Working closely with the silica fibre fabrication group we have pioneered new flat-fibre subtrates for integrated optics.

Specific project areas include the development of integrated chemical and biological sensors, creation of novel optoelectronic components for future advanced coding scheme networks, and microfluidic channel devices for opto-fluidic science.

Group webpage

PhD Projects:

Integrated optical waveguides for ion trap quantum computing

Supervisor: Prof Peter Smith
Co-supervisor: Dr James Gates 

Working as part of the NQIT (Networked Quantum Information Technologies) hub, this project aims to build optical connections and networks in planar waveguide technology for ion trap based quantum networks. Requiring components at blue wavelengths 350 to 450nm, this project will involve development of glass on silicon waveguides optimised for operation at these demanding short wavelengths.

Working closely with partners in Oxford and Sussex University the studentship will work on some of the most exciting challenges in Quantum Information processing working towards building a scaleable hybrid optical / ion quantum computer.

With a background in physics, electronics, material science or engineering successful candidates will be enthusiastic to work in a multi-disciplinary team with top quality collaborators across the UK and worldwide.

The work will involve cleanroom fabrication, optical design, testing, modelling and theoretical work.

 

Integrated optical elements for miniaturised atom traps

Supervisor: Prof Peter Smith
Co-supervisor: Dr Christopher Holmes

Working as part of the UK Quantum technology hub in Sensors and Metrology led by Birmingham University, this project aims to build optical components for cold atom chips for miniaturised atom traps. Planar waveguide technology will be used to create miniature (1 inch cube size) traps that will find applications for magnetic and gravity sensing, as precision accelerometers and for network timing in future telecomm networks.

This project will involve development of glass on silicon waveguide components to couple light into magneto-optical traps. Working closely with partners in Southampton Physics Dept, Sussex University and Birmingham University the studentship will work on some of the most exciting challenges in miniaturisation of this important technology for real world applications.

With a background in physics, electronics, material science or engineering successful candidates will be enthusiastic to work in a multi-disciplinary team with top quality collaborators across the UK and worldwide. The work will involve cleanroom fabrication, optical design, testing, modelling and theoretical work.

 

Nonlinear conversion for single photon detection

Supervisor: Prof Peter Smith
Co-supervisor: Dr Corin Gawith

This project will look at the development of cavity nonlinear optical elements for room temperature mid-IR conversion. The work will be part of the EPSRC Established Career Fellowship (Quintessence) held by Prof Peter G.R Smith. The project will involve the development of cavity enhanced nonlinear devices using periodically poled lithium niobate.

Offering the potential for high efficient wavelength conversion the project will look at two main areas, firstly, efficient generation of photon pairs for secure optical communications and secondly, on up-conversion detection for the 2 to 4.5 micron spectral regions.

The work will be collaborative with project partners including DSTL, Menlo Systems and Toptica. With a background in physics, electronics, material science or engineering successful candidates will be enthusiastic to work in a multi-disciplinary team with top quality collaborators across the UK and worldwide. The work will involve cleanroom fabrication, optical design, testing, modelling and theoretical work.

 

3D Printed Integrated Optics

Supervisor: Prof Peter Smith
Co-supervisors:  Dr James Gates, Dr Christopher Holmes

From its inception 3D printing has been applied to a range of fields. Photonics is an emerging field into which additive and subtractive laser manufacture techniques are being applied to enhance manufacturing capability.

This PhD project looks at developing 3D printing techniques, for the fabrication of integrated optical circuits. The project will develop precision printing techniques in a range of materials including optical quality doped-glass (achieved through Flame Hydrolysis Deposition), electro-optic polymers and metal species (deposited using cleanroom toolset). Laser processing will be made at a combination of wavelengths from the UV (213 and 244nm) to the Infrared (9.4 microns) and the application of a high precision computer controlled air-bearing translation stages.

 

Scalable heralded single-photon sources

Supervisor: Prof Peter Smith
Co-Supervisors: Dr Devin Smith, Dr James Gates, Dr Corin Gawith

The single-photon source is the fundamental building block for quantum technologies in photonics, particularly for quantum computing. Currently, no one can run more than a handful of such sources at a time, and their efficiency is limited. In collaboration with the University of Oxford and Imperial College London, this project aims to tackle that problem.

It is an open question how to scale up from 3-4 sources to 20, or even 100. There are several possible approaches to the problem possible in a planar waveguide chip, where we currently make state-of-the-art sources, which must be evaluated for feasibility and performance. The leading contenders will then be designed, fabricated, and evaluated in practice over the course of the PhD project.

The project will involve theoretical calculations, computer models, device specifications, and device fabrication in the cleanroom, leading to a broad base of skills upon completion. Students with strong background in any of these areas would be suitable candidates for the position.

 

Optical Quantum Circuitry

Supervisor: Prof Peter Smith
Co-Supervisors: Dr Devin Smith, Dr James Gates, Dr Corin Gawith

Manipulation of quantum states of light is important, but difficult problem, especially on-chip. Active devices are a particularly important problem that can be addressed using technologies present in the Planar Materials Group, in collaboration with the ultrafast quantum optics and optical metrology group, Oxford.

The goal of this project would be to integrate a fast modulator design with existing quantum light devices in UV-written waveguides on chip, in order to allow for on-the-fly adaptive measurement and control of quantum light. Historical approaches to fast quantum control have relied on large bulk optics and high voltages, while this studentship will focus on bringing those modulators on-chip using organic polymer EOMs.

This project will involve designing and optimising the EOMs themselves, as well as the fabrication process and integration into the existing quantum networks for any desired quantum operation to be performed. While this project is quantum-technology focussed, a background in quantum physics is by no means required: a student in electronics or engineering interested in quantum technology would do well to apply.

 

Ultra-precision physical micro-machining of planar optical materials

Supervisor: Prof Peter Smith
Co-Supervisors: Dr Corin Gawith, Dr James Gates

In conjunction with Loxham Precision Ltd, this project will make use of a suite of state-of-the-art ultra-precision physical micro-machining tools for applications in Quantum technologies, lasers, sensors, MOEMS and telecoms. Offering sub 3nm surface roughnesses this novel project will aim to create a new paradigm in the manufacture of optical integrated components. For example, by forming high finesse cavities in nonlinear optical materials and lasers, the project will create new optical microsystems for optical frequency combs in the infrared.

With a background in physics, electronics, material science or mechanical engineering successful candidates will be enthusiastic to work in a multi-disciplinary team with top quality collaborators across the UK and worldwide. This project will particularly appeal to candidates that enjoy hands-on engineering and real-world practical challenges. The work will involve cleanroom fabrication, optical design, testing, modelling and theoretical work.

 

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