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PhD Studentship: Up-conversion detectors based on PPLN waveguides (Miniaturising components for imaging in low light)

Photonic Systems Circuits & Sensors Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Sunday 30 June 2019
Reference:  1138519PN

Research Group: Optical Engineering and Quantum Photonics 

Supervisor: Prof. Peter Smith (peter.smith@soton.ac.uk)

Co-supervisors: Dr Corin Gawith and Dr Sam Berry

Our friendly team of 20 researchers specialises in the development and manufacture of novel optoelectronic components for applications in quantum technology, integrated optical sensors, and laser optics. Working closely with our spin-out company, Covesion Ltd (www.covesion.com), we pride ourselves on delivering research from prototype to product.

Up-conversion detectors based on PPLN waveguides (Miniaturising components for imaging in low light)

This project aims to develop a new class of quantum optical detectors for imaging in low-light environments, such as LIDAR for driverless cars and environmental monitoring of greenhouse gases. This will be achieved by up-converting photons from the 2-5 micron region to shorter wavelengths enabling detection by standard silicon based photodiodes and cameras. The project will utilise our proprietary technology in periodically poled lithium niobate (PPLN) with specific objectives: 

  • to develop optical systems for up-conversion and efficient measurement of single photons 

  • to build modules for operation with single mode fibres using PPLN waveguides

  • to find ways to miniaturise the pump laser requirements for low Size, Weight, and Power (SWAP) aiming at <10W power consumption

The project will be laboratory focused, working with lasers and optical systems and our extensive cleanroom and machining facilities. The PhD is funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), as part of the UK’s Quantum Technology programme. As such the student will also benefit from regular interaction and site visits with Dstl staff. 

The PhD programme

Our world-leading research centre is a hive of activity with over 250 staff and students working on cutting-edge research to provide innovative solutions for real life problems in manufacturing, communication technology, defence, health care, renewable energy and the environment.

We are looking for the photonic engineers of the future to join our friendly and vibrant research team and work alongside our department of world-class researchers. Our PhD programme offers a solid start to any career in optics and photonics, whether you are planning to stay in academia or work in industry. 

Candidate Requirements:

Applications would be welcome from candidates holding good degrees (1st class, 2:1 honours or MSc) in physics, materials science, mechanical or electronic engineering. Experimental skills are essential. This position includes an annual stipend of £18,000 (tax free) and allowance to enable attendance at international conferences. As this post is funded by Dstl it is subject to eligibility and administrative checks prior to acceptance.

How to apply:

To apply, please submit an application for a PhD in the Optoelectronics Research Centre to the University of Southampton including that you wish to apply for a project within Prof. Peter Smith’s group. Please see the following address for more details: https://www.orc.soton.ac.uk/phd  

Closing date: applications should be made as soon as possible, this position must be filled by the end of June 2019. Informal discussions are welcome prior to full submissions.

Duration: three and a half years (full-time)                                           Start date: October 2019

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