PhD Studentship: Bismuth Doped Optical Fibres: Fabrication and Development of Ultra-Broadband Fibre Amplifiers and Short Pulse Fibre Lasers.

University of Southampton - Faculty of Physical Sciences & Engineering

Project description

Long distance optical telecommunications was revolutionized by the invention of erbium doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) in the mid-1980’s. Periodic all-optical amplification of optical signals using the EDFA allowed the deleterious impact of fibre attenuation on the data carrying capacity of a fibre to be largely overcome. However, after a further 30 years of technological innovation, the 12 THz bandwidth of the EDFA (in wavelength terms from 1530-1625nm and centred at the minimum loss window of silica based fibre at 1550nm) has now become a major limiting factor to fibre transmission capacity. The operating window (attenuation 0.5 Petabit/s level.

This project aims to develop novel ultra-wideband Bi-doped fibre amplifiers and lasers covering the wavelength spans 1150 – 1500nm and 1625 – 1750nm where no silica based rare earth doped fibre amplifier exists. The first challenge to achieving this relates to fibre fabrication and determining understanding the associated detailed spectroscopic characteristics, including developing an understanding of the valence state of the Bi-ion that contributes to the near-infrared emission and establishing the exact absorption and transmission spectra of the active fibres. This will lead to optimised fibre designs aimed at tailoring the gain bandwidth based on different pumping schemes and ultimately the realisation of a variety of compact, high performance active fibre amplifiers. If successful, this work will yield a >4-times enhancement in the transmission capacity of single mode fibre as used in today’s transmission systems. In addition, the broad gain spectra of bismuth (> 400nm) is suitable for the development of short pulse fibre lasers through the adoption of suitable mode locking techniques.

A fully-funded PhD position, sponsored by II-VI foundation (USA), are available for UK and EU applicants. We are seeking students with a background in physics/chemistry/engineering/materials science and a strong interest in optical fibre technology and/or laser technology to work on this ambitious project. A generous stipend of £19,300 per annum will be available for highly motivated students.

To informally discuss further about the project, or to arrange a visit to meet us and see our cutting edge fabrication facilities, then please contact Prof David Richardson ( or Prof Jayanta Sahu (

Key facts

Entry requirements: first or upper second-class degree or equivalent

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2018 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Duration: typically three years (full-time)

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

Assessment: eight-and 16-month reports and viva voce determine progression to PhD; progression reports, viva voce and thesis examination

Start date: typically September

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