EPSRC I-CASE D.Phil studentship with Merck

University of Oxford

3.5 year available from 1st October 2016 (subject to eligibility requirements below).

Research Area - Direct Laser Writing of 3-Dimensional Polymeric Structures in Liquid Crystalline Materials for Next-Generation Photonic Devices

The studentship is being jointly undertaken by the University of Oxford (Professor Steve Elston, Professor Martin Booth and Dr Stephen Morris) and Merck under the EPSRC Industrial CASE award scheme. The studentship can, in principle, start at any time from the 1st October 2016.

There are many technologies, ranging from low-threshold lasers through to 3D displays, which rely upon the efficient confinement and manipulation of the flow of light. For next-generation devices, these technologies would benefit from new photonic structures that can only be realised through novel fabrication techniques. Therefore, the objective of this DPhil project is to create advanced photonic structures directly within polymerisable liquid crystal (LC) devices using a direct laser writing fabrication technique that exploits the nonlinear behaviour of 2-photon absorption. Following the fabrication of these materials, studies will be carried out to characterise the structural morphology as well as the resulting optical and electro-optic properties of the materials/devices. As the project develops, we will experiment with writing a variety of 1, 2 and 3-dimensional structures into LC materials and devices in an attempt to form, stabilise, and explore the behaviour of entirely new molecular arrangements and potentially novel electro-optic effects.

For this project, the DPhil student will be based in the Soft-Matter Photonics group (http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/smp) and the Dynamic Optics and Photonics group (http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/dop) in the Department of Engineering Science.

Award Value

The studentship covers University fees at the level set for UK students plus a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £14,296 p.a. for the first year (with up to an additional £3k) and at least this amount for a further two and a half years. The studentship does cover the payment of college fees (c £2765 p.a.).


To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees) a student must be a UK citizen.

 Candidate Requirements

 Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

 A first class honours (or high 2.1) degree in Electrical Engineering, Physics, or Materials;

  • Strong interest in photonics;
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills.

 The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  •  Ability to program in C/C++;
  •  Ability to program in Matlab,
  •  Experience with Linux and Windows.

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship, candidates should send the following documents to graduate.studies@eng.ox.ac.uk:

  • CV
  • Covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil and your research experience to date)
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees

NOTE: Candidates are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria available at http://www.eng.ox.ac.uk/postgrad/criteria.pdf and a full graduate application must be made at the same time as applying for this studentship.  Your studentship application will not be considered until you have submitted a graduate application. Further details about making a graduate application are available at http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply

Please quote MERCK_SM in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Stephen Morris (stephen.morris@eng.ox.ac.uk). Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. 

Application deadline: As soon as a suitable applicant is found.

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