PhD Studentship: Low Noise RF Amplification and Detection using Piezoelectric Optomechanical Platforms

University of Bristol

The project:

As the spectacular success of LIGO has shown, optical cavity interferometry provides unparalleled sensitivity and is usually the method of choice for detecting weak signals. By designing efficient transducer platforms, a given perturbation can be mapped onto an optical cavity and measured close to fundamental detection limits. This project aims to develop novel receivers for very weak RF signals (such as encountered in MRI, radio astronomy, radar and even cell phone reception in indoor environments) based on integrated piezo-electric platforms (such as GaAs and GaN). The piezo-electric effect allows us to efficiently excite a localized mechanical mode of an opto-mechanical cavity. By engineering the cavity to support an optical mode which is strongly coupled to the mechanics, we can use the optical mode to pick up the displacement induced perturbation and thus the RF signal. Our goal is to understand the fundamental limits of conversion efficiency in RF to optical signal transducers (optical modulators) and detection efficiency in these RF-optical receivers [1,2].

References:

[1] Krishna Balram et al., Nature Photonics (2016)

[2] Krishna Balram et al., Physical Review Applied (2017).

URL for further information:

http://krishna-balram.appspot.com/

How to apply:

Before applying interested applicants should send their CV with a list of three references to krishna.coimbatorebalram@bristol.ac.uk.

Please make an online application for this project at http://www.bris.ac.uk/pg-howtoapply. Please select <Electrical and Electronic Engineering> on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of the studentship in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.

Candidate requirements: 

Candidates should ideally hold a first/upper-second class degree or masters (MSc) in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Physics.  Candidates interested in nanofabrication, semiconductor devices and ‘hands on’ experiments are encouraged to apply.  Candidates with previous experience in optics, semiconductor devices and RF circuits will be preferred.

Funding:

Scholarship covers full UK/EU PhD tuition fees and a tax-free stipend at the current RCUK rate of £14,553 in 2017/18.  Overseas applicants may also apply but may be liable for tuition fees (to be confirmed).

Contacts:

For informal enquiries please email Dr. Krishna Coimbatore Balram, krishna.coimbatorebalram@bristol.ac.uk.

For general enquiries, please email gsen-pgrs@bristol.ac.uk.

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South West England