PhD Studentship: Quantum Polaritonics

University of Southampton - Physics & Astronomy

Supervisor: Professor Pavlos Lagoudakis

Project description

Applications are invited from EU/UK nationals for a PhD studentship in the field of Quantum Polaritonics at the Dept of Physics & Astronomy, University of Southampton, which hosts the UK's flagship EPSRC research programme on polaritonics.  Recently, we proposed polariton graphs as a new platform for analogue simulation. Polariton graphs benefit by the continuous optical readout of the phase, energy, momentum and spin of the individual polariton vertices, the strong inter-particle interactions −mediated through the exciton component−, room temperature operation −with appropriate choice of materials−, and even the potential for electrical injection utilizing well-developed semiconductor technologies. 

Inverse scattering problems, namely reconstructing the shape of objects from their scattered intensity distributions occur in many fields of science and technology, such as tomographic imaging (MRI, CT scan), seismology, single shot X-ray scattering and imaging. Solving the inverse scattering problem, in cases where all the phase information is lost, is generally very difficult. This difficulty is alleviated by resorting to some a priori knowledge such as the boundaries within which the object lies (compact support), sparsity or other spatial features. Under such “restrictions”, it is possible to reconstruct the object using iterative algorithms, such as the well-known Gerchberg-Saxton algorithm. Unfortunately, the algorithms are time consuming and do not always converge to the right solution even with advanced computational resources. In this project, we will design and realise a polariton simulator to address inverse scattering problems with the aim to demonstrate solutions within the coherence lifetime of the polariton condensates (10ths of picoseconds; 6-9 orders of magnitude faster than current supercomputers).

We seek candidates with a knowledge of and keen interest in fundamental physics and optics, and a desire to develop skills in experimental photonics, advanced spectroscopies, condensed matter theory, quantum, laser and semiconductor physics.

The student will join a strong international team of students, postdoctoral and academic staff working together on many aspects of cutting-edge research in polaritonics and quantum simulation. 

This PhD project involves close collaboration and therefore international travel at IBM Zurich, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and MIT-Skoltech

Please contact: Professor Pavlos Lagoudakis ( for further details.

Key facts

Entry requirements: The successful candidates should have a good first degree and/or a Masters in Physics, Electrical/Electronic Engineering, Material Science or a related area.
Closing date: The PhD programme associated with this studentship could start as early as in January 2018.  However, applications should be received no later than 31 August 2018 for standard admissions.
Duration: 3.5 years (full-time).  The student must complete the programme in 42 months.
Funding: full tuition fees, for UK/EU students, and a tax-free stipend of £14,553 per year (topped up to £20k per year for exceptional candidates).
Assessment: Nine month and 18 month reports, viva voce and thesis examination

Start date: January to October 2018

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