PhD Studentship: Composite Material Nonlinear All Fibre Devices

University of Southampton - Optoelectronics Research Centre

Nonlinear fibre devices are essential components in today's optical fibre networks as well as in optical systems for light generation, manipulation and detection. Silica based glass is the most suitable material for optical fibres, in terms of robustness and low optical absorption, but exhibits low third order nonlinearity and no second order susceptibility due its centrosymmetric structure. This demands that optical physicists keep advancing the field of nonlinear fibre optics with improved nonlinear fibre designs (as photonic crystal fibres), the use of compound glass materials or the development of fibre processing techniques, as thermal poling.

The development of nonlinear optical fibres can largely profit from the development of techniques who optimize the inclusions of metals, semiconductors (like Si, Ge or ZnSe) or 2D materials (like graphene or molybdenum) within the fibre structure. The recent activity of our group is largely advancing this field of research with an important potential impact on real world applications, particularly in the field of optical communication components and light generation.

The two projects offered will explore the various possibilities offered by bulk or thin film depositions of various materials within the fibre, using both conventional Ge doped silica and specialty optical fibres (as photonic crystal fibres or soft glass fibres), in order to increase their inherent third and second order nonlinearity.

These projects will give potential students the opportunity to develop a number of key skills, ranging from numerical simulations to fabrication activities concerning optical fibre manufacturing, high-pressure chemical vapour deposition, thermal poling, fibre characterization and final device implementation.

The selected candidates will work in a very dynamic and world leading research environment, having access to state of the art laboratories and equipment.

A fully funded PhD place on this project is available for UK applicants. Students from overseas who have secured external funding are also welcome to apply. Students with a first or upper second-class degree or equivalent in a relevant subject area such as physics, engineering, materials science or chemistry would be a good fit to this exciting project area. A visit to meet us in person is highly recommended but phone / Skype interviews are also possible.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Pier Sazio (, Dr Walter Belardi ( or Francesco De Lucia (, Optoelectronics Research Centre, Photonic Electronic and Plasmonic Microstructured Optical Fibres Group.

Funding: full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.  

About the ORC

Based at the University of Southampton, the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) is one of the largest university-based research groups entirely devoted to photonics in the world, with a long and well-established track record in the field of microstructured optical fibres, fibre lasers, optoelectronic devices and novel materials. A brand new, world-class cleanroom facility and state-of-the-art photonics labs are available for fabricating, post-processing, filling and characterising the fibres for this project.

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South East England