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PhD Studentship: Planar photonics for ion-based quantum information processing

Fibre & Systems Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Sunday 30 June 2019
Reference:  1107019PN

Supervisor: Dr Peter Horak       
 Co-supervisor: Dr James C Gates

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton is looking for a PhD candidate with an interest in quantum technology and a strong background in theory and computational simulation in classical and/or quantum optics to join us on this interdisciplinary project as part of the EPSRC Networked Quantum Information Technology programme (NQIT).

One of the leading contenders for quantum information technology is based on cold trapped ions interacting via single photons. However, in current state-of-the-art experiments the coupling between ions and photons is still very inefficient and is mainly achieved through conventional lenses and mirrors.

The main goal of this project is to investigate how this optical access can be provided by optical waveguides integrated on the same chip that holds the ion trap. We will investigate different types of waveguides and ion-photon coupling via gratings, tapers, Fresnel lenses and other mode converters. Integration of Bragg reflectors and dielectric coatings to form resonators will be considered. Light polarisation must be considered carefully and coupling coefficients to specific ion transitions and collection efficiencies of emitted photons will be simulated and optimised to support the development of fully integrated chips for future quantum applications.

This PhD project is funded by the NQIT consortium ( and will be in close collaboration with experiments in the Optical Engineering and Quantum Photonics Group in Southampton and in the quantum information groups at the Universities of Oxford and Sussex.

A fully funded PhD place offering an enhanced stipend is available for UK applicants. If you have a degree in physics or related engineering subject and experience in numerical modelling, you would be a good fit to this exciting project area. 

For more information please contact the supervisor, Dr Peter Horak

The PhD programme

The ORC PhD comprises a solid education for a successful career in photonics. You will receive technical and generic skills training and will perform world-leading research. You will have the chance to attend international conferences and publish papers in leading academic journals as part of your PhD. 

The ORC is one of the leading photonics research institutes worldwide. It comprises state-of-the-art cleanrooms for optical fibre, planar photonics, silicon and bio-photonics fabrication and over 80 laboratories. The University of Southampton also hosts a huge and vibrant research community in computer modelling which benefits from its high performance computing cluster Iridis, one of the largest supercomputers in the UK. A PhD from the ORC will enable you to make a successful career in academia or as a scientist or business leader in industry. 

Key facts

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

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 30 June 2019.

Duration: typically 3.5 years (full-time)

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

Assessment: 9- and 18-month reports and viva voce determine progression; viva voce and thesis examination.

Start date: typically September/October 2019


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