PhD Studentship: Detecting Weak Magnetic Fields Through Nano-mechanical Motion

University of Southampton - Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC)

Supervisor:                  Dr Eric Plum

Co-supervisor:            Prof Nikolay Zheludev

Project description

The University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) hosts the UK’s flagship research programme on photonic metamaterials - a new generation of nanotech-enabled materials with engineered, actively controllable optical properties (see: Science 348, 973 (2015); Nature Nanotechnology 11, 16 (2016); http://www.nanophotonics.org.uk).

One of the central themes of our research programme is the development of metamaterials comprising nanoscale building blocks that can be moved by external forces [e.g. due to electrical/magnetic signals or light illumination; see: Nature Nanotechnology 11, 16 (2016)]. Nanoscale motion of this kind can radically change the optical properties of matter and will enable the development of a new generation of optical devices such as re-focusable flat lenses, dynamic holographic displays, optical components with programmable properties, and micro-sensors of electromagnetic fields and forces. This PhD project will look at the intriguing physics of the interplay between electromagnetic and mechanical forces at the nanoscale and will aim to develop practical nano-mechanical metamaterial-enabled photonic sensor devices.

Students with a background in physics, an interest in photonic technologies, and a desire to develop advanced skills in nanofabrication, electron and optical microscopy, experimental photonics and computational electromagnetic modelling, would be a good fit to this exciting project area. You will join a strong international group of students, postdoctoral and academic staff working together on many aspects of cutting-edge nanophotonics.

To discuss any details of the project informally, or to arrange a visit to meet us and see our facilities, please contact Eric Plum [erp@orc.soton.ac.uk] or Nikolay Zheludev [niz@orc.soton.ac.uk].

The PhD programme

The ORC PhD comprises a solid education for a research career. The structured first year involves attending our training programme while carrying out your research project. This provides a smooth transition from your degree course towards the more open-ended research that takes place in the following years under the guidance of your project supervisors. We expect our students to present their work at international conferences and to write papers in leading academic journals as their research progresses. Students will emerge from the PhD with skills at the forefront of nanotechnology, photonics and metamaterials research and will benefit from the many opportunities to interact with the wider community of PhD students across the Southampton Campus through academic, sporting and cultural events.

The ORC is the leading photonics research institute in the UK and possibly in Europe. It comprises state-of-the-art cleanrooms for optical fibre, planar photonics, silicon and bio-photonics fabrication and over 80 laboratories. Computer simulations benefit from Southampton’s high performance computing cluster Iridis, one of the UK’s largest supercomputers. A PhD at the ORC has enabled our past graduates to make successful careers in academia, in national scientific laboratories, and as scientists or business leaders in industry. Our research papers, patents, spin-off companies and these successful alumni taken together place Southampton amongst the top institutes worldwide.

Key facts

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

Closing date: applications should be received as soon as possible.

Duration: typically three years (full-time)

Funding: For UK and EU students, full tuition plus and a tax-free stipend of £14,777 - £18,000 per annum for 3.5 years. www.orc.southampton.ac.uk/phd_funding.html

Assessment: nine-and 18-month reports, progression reports, viva voce, thesis examination

Start date: as soon as possible.

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

South East England