Advanced Computational Electromagnetics for Nanophotonics and Biosensing MPhil/PhD

University of Exeter - College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Photonic technologies play a key role as building blocks in advanced biomolecular sensors and new generation medical diagnostics tools. They offer the potential for advanced sensing in healthcare and as novel analytical tools in the life sciences. We are now at the stage where advanced computational electromagnetic techniques are required to analyse complex nanophotonic architectures in response to intricate biomolecular structure and resulting light matter interactions [1, 2].

The present PhD project will explore full-wave electromagnetic simulation techniques of advanced optical sensor structures to achieve these goals. The student will develop the theoretical electromagnetic modelling, algorithms and advanced optical simulation tools at IHPC in Singapore. The student will apply the suite of analysis tools to nanophotonic single-molecule sensors developed in Prof Vollmer’s laboratory at the Living Systems Institute, University in Exeter.

Fully utilising the advanced computational capabilities of the A*STAR Institute for High Performance Computing in Singapore the student will combine the computational photonics, nanophotonics and plasmonics with molecular dynamics and density functional theory simulation techniques. Our goal is to dramatically advance modelling and simulation capabilities of complex nanophotonic structures and their response to biomolecular structure and dynamics. We would like to develop a computational suite that allows us to analyse single-molecule sensor data to visualise the structural dynamics of single proteins [1,2]. The results of this study is expected to nurture  in depth impact on our understanding of light-matter interactions at the nanoscale. The results will lead to entirely novel designs for nanophotonic sensors for high-resolution visualisation of protein structure beyond the diffraction limit. 

In summary, the student will be work on the following cutting-edge computational techniques:

  1. Advanced computational electromagnetics of photonic and plasmonic nanostructures
  2. Advanced molecular dynamics modelling and simulations of single protein dynamics
  3. Density Functional Theory simulations for molecules attached to plasmonic nanoantennas
  4. Perturbation theory for hybrid metal-dielectric (opto-plasmonic) sensor systems.

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South West England