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PhD Studentship on Advanced Electromagnetics and Fluid Dynamics Modelling of Optical Fibres

University of Southampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £18,000 enhanced stipend tax-free per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 6th December 2018
Expires: 6th March 2019

Project Description

Fibre optics has transformed telecommunications and profoundly impacted industrial manufacturing, medical endoscopy and structural sensing. In many applications however, fibres are operating close to fundamental physical limits of the glass forming their core. A transformative new technological step is required to keep up with the growth rate in data traffic and laser output power. Air guiding hollow-core fibres – for which this group has a world-leading reputation - can provide the solution.

We are looking for enthusiastic PhD students with a background in physics/engineering/mathematics and an interest in numerical modeling, to embark on an ambitious project, aiming to revolutionize fibre optics. 

As part of a well-funded ERC European project, a PhD position is available to work alongside experienced researchers and develop a radically new form of optical fibre guiding light in air. This could represent the future of data transmission and laser power delivery, and enable numerous futuristic new applications, such as laser-driven particle acceleration or ultraprecise transfer of timing signals. 

A fully funded PhD position is available for UK applicants. EU students with no external funding can contend for a small number of competitive scholarships. Students from overseas who have secured some external funding are also encouraged to apply.

To discuss any details of the project or arrange a visit, please contact Professor Francesco Poletti, (, email:

The PhD programme

The project is hosted at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), an institution at the forefront of optical fibre technology for the past 45 years, which has led the development of most of the special fibre types in existence today. With more than 200 researchers working in all areas of photonics, the ORC provides an outstanding interdisciplinary environment for students to grow. Besides, its cluster of ten photonics spin-out companies provides a natural career paths for PhD graduates.

Our well-funded group has an excellent track record of publishing in high profile research journals. Former PhD and postdoctoral researchers from this group have made successful careers in Universities worldwide or as scientists and business leaders in industry.

The quality of our research outputs, the cluster of spin-off companies and the worldwide network of successful alumni place the ORC amongst the top institutes worldwide for doctoral research. 

The ORC PhD provides a solid education for a research career, The first year involves attending a structured training programme running in parallel with the research project. This provides a gradual transition from a taught degree course to the more open-ended research, conducted under the close guidance of your project supervisor. Students will present their work at conferences worldwide, first-author papers in leading academic journals and will emerge from the PhD with skills at the forefront of fibre optics research.

Key facts

  • Entry requirements: first or upper second-class degree or equivalent
  • Closing date: applications are welcome throughout the year.
  • Duration: typically three and a half 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: reports at the 8 and 16-month stage and an oral examination to determine progression to PhD, which is awarded after thesis submission and viva voce examination
  • Start date: typically October (although later starts might be acceptable)
  • Applying:
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