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PhD Studentship - Laser-engineered silicon photonic devices

Fibre & Systems Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Monday 31 August 2020
Reference:  1255720PN

Supervisor:                 Prof Anna Peacock

Project description

Silicon materials are synonymous with the microelectronics industry and, in particular, the processors used in everyday gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets, digital radios and televisions. More recently, due to its favourable optical properties in the telecoms band, silicon has gained popularity in the field of optical information technologies, i.e., using photons instead of electrons to transfer information.  Bringing these two research areas together on an integrated platform will have huge technological consequences. However, there is a challenge: silicon photonic devices are typically fabricated via complex processing of expensive single crystal wafers, which renders multi-device integration difficult. This project seeks to develop a simple, low cost laser materials processing procedure to fabricate high quality polysilicon photonic platforms that will ease issues associated with optoelectronic integration. 

The work will have elements of: 

  • Materials growth (deposition of amorphous silicon and other semiconductors)

  • Device fabrication (photolithographic patterning and laser crystallization) of various integrated photonic components such as couplers, resonators, modulators etc.

  • Optical characterization and device benchmarking


It will also be possible to extend this work to other semiconductor materials, including silicon-germanium alloys where the laser processing can be used to control the optoelectronic properties of the devices through compositional tuning.

The PhD programme

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) PhD comprises 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 the vast majority of our students to present their work at international conferences and to write papers in leading academic journals as their research progresses. Students will emerge from the PhD with skills at the forefront of future fiber laser research and will benefit from the many opportunities to interact with the wider community of PhD students across the Southampton Campus through academic, sporting and cultural events. 

The ORC is the leading photonics research institute in the UK and possibly in Europe. It comprises state-of-the-art cleanrooms for optical fibre, planar photonics, silicon and bio-photonics fabrication and over 80 laboratories. Computer simulations will benefit from Southampton’s high performance computing cluster Iridis, one of the largest supercomputers in the UK. A PhD at the ORC has enabled our past graduates to make successful careers in academia, in national scientific laboratories, and as scientists or business leaders in industry. Our research papers, patents, spin-off companies and these successful alumni taken together place Southampton amongst the top institutes worldwide. 

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2020 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: full tuition fees for EU/UK students plus for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £15,285 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online, please select the academic session 2020-21 “PhD ORC (Full time)” as the programme. 

Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page

For further information please contact: feps-pgr-apply@soton.ac.uk 

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