University of Exeter funding: Quantum thermodynamics close to the

Quantum thermodynamics close to the absolute zero, Physics – PhD (Funded) Ref: 3835

About the award


Academic Supervisor: Dr. Luis A. Correa, University of Exeter
Co-Supervisor: Prof. Janet Anders, University of Exeter

Models for nanoscale thermal machines have been used for decades to probe the emergence of thermodynamics from quantum theory. Today, these abstract theoretical models are becoming a technological reality with the advent of the first proof-of-principle experiments realising nanoscale (quantum) heat engines and refrigerators. In the near future, it will be feasible to use these systems to cool the nanoscale components of next-generation quantum devices down to ultracold temperatures.

Just like a thermal engineer would do when designing a refrigerator, in this PhD project we will tweak the design of quantum-thermodynamic cooling cycles to attain the best possible compromise between energy-efficiency and cooling load. To do so, we will develop new tools to treat open quantum systems undergoing strong or non-linear dissipation at extreme temperatures. We will also apply this toolbox to improve current precision standards in low-temperature thermometry.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU/International tuition fees and a tax-free stipend.  For students who pay UK/EU/International tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £15,009 per year tax-free stipend.

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence in October 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter. Earlier start dates can be discussed.

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. A solid background on quantum theory and statistical mechanics is essential. Prior knowledge of open quantum systems or quantum optics is desirable.

If English is not your first language you will need to have achieved at least 6.0 IELTS and no less than 6.0 in any section by the start of the project.  Alternative tests may be acceptable (see

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents.
• 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)
• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.

A shortlist will be drawn from applications submitted by 23rd February 2020 (midnight). Interviews will be held at the University of Exeter or via Skype the week commencing 11th March 2020.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 722730 or +44 (0)1392 725150.  Project-specific queries should be directed to


Application deadline:23rd February 2020
Value:£15,009 per year for 3.5 years
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Admissions Office +44 (0)1392 722730 / 5150