Quantum correlations and nonlinear optical cavities for biochemical applications - Physics PhD (Funded) Ref: 3277

About the award


Prof Frank Vollmer University of Exeter

Dr Jolly Xavier University of Exeter

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in December 2018or as soon as possible thereafter.  The studentship will cover tuition fees (UK/EU/International) plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,777for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.  The student would be based in Physics in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

Location: Streatham Campus, Exeter. Prof Vollmer’s Laboratory is part of the newly established Living Systems Institute. http://www.exeter.ac.uk/livingsystems/

Quantum photonic science and technology is envisaged to bring about unprecedented ultra-sensitive detection schemes to overcome the standard quantum limit by means of quantum correlated light sources and metrology. The quantum optical correlation properties of the entangled photon pairs generated in nonlinear crystals by the spontaneous parametric down conversion (SPDC) nonlinear optical process is highly attractive as the heralded photon pair source for entangled photons.   Quantum optical characteristics shown by correlated photon pairs enable the measurement of a physical quantity with reduced uncertainty. Recent research also indicates that such systems do enable better sensitivity and improved resolution compared to classical techniques. The integration of advanced quantum optical technologies into new generation biophotonic devices is envisaged to have multifaceted research potential and performance excellence to provide a paradigm shift to research outcomes in biochemical applications.

The present project aims at the implementation and quantum optical characterization with optimized parameters of correlated photon source for biochemical sensing and imaging applications. SPDC based whispering gallery mode nonlinear optical cavities with very high quality factors will be designed and fabricated to realize reliable and robust source of heralded photon pairs. The study will also extend into the possible tuning and optimization schemes that can be employed befitting for integrated sensing applications approaching quantum detection limits. The present experimental research project involves also the supporting computational studies for the design of optimized nonlinear resonant optical cavities. Further, with the implementation of photon statistics analysis of the quantum optical source, the project also explores novel approaches for quantum spectroscopy and quantum correlated photon based nonclassical schemes for optoplasmonic biosensing.

Well-motivated students with a passion for applied quantum optics and nonlinear optical applications with nonlinear optics and/or quantum optics background will be desirable for the present cutting-edge doctoral research project.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.  Knowledge in quantum optics is desirable. The ideal candidate has a strong background in physics, optics, engineering, or a related discipline.
If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 in IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see http://www.exeter.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/english/).

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.  Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”.

• CV
• Letter of application (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English
The closing date for applications is midnight 18th of November 2018. Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus the week commencing November 26th. 

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email stemm-pgr-admissions@exeter.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)1392 722730 or +44 (0)1392 725150.  Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor.


Application deadline:18th November 2018
Value:£14,777 per year for 3.5 years
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Support Office +44 (0)1392 722730 / 5150 stemm-pgr-admissions@exeter.ac.uk