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PhD Studentship: Light confinement in disordered photonic crystals as an alternative platform for quantum photonics

University of Southampton - Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777 tax-free stipend
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 25th January 2019
Closes: 31st August 2019

Supervisor:                 Dr Luca Sapienza

Project description

Technological advances allow us to control light at the nanoscale, via highly engineered devices where light can be trapped and guided. However, very accurate fabrication techniques limit the scalability and wide application of such devices. We have recently demonstrated that imperfections, introduced in the device fabrication, can be used to add functionalities and control the light-matter interaction.

One of the major advantages in using “disordered” photonic crystal waveguides to confine light derives from the fact that, in a single waveguide, several cavity modes can co-exist (see image), without the need of fabricating a series of highly engineered photonic crystal cavities. Furthermore, their spatial extension can reach the micron size and, therefore, they show great potential for realizing photonic networks, as spatially extended coupled cavities, so-called necklace states, can spontaneously form.

The student will fabricate disordered photonic crystal waveguides whose properties are tailored to a specific emitter, thanks to the positioning technique that we have developed. She/he will then characterize the Anderson-localized cavity modes by measuring wavelength, quality factors and spatial extension of the optical modes.
The ultimate goal will be the creation of a photonic architecture where the emission from a single emitter is boosted by the coupling to an Anderson-localized cavity. The quantum light will propagate thanks to the hopping from cavity to cavity via coupled necklace states and will be used in quantum information protocols, based, for instance, on interference of single photons. Fabricating photonic crystal waveguides without the stringent requirement of nanometre scale precision in the position, shape and size of the air holes will make the process inherently cheaper and more scalable, since lower resolution tool and faster processes, with no iterations, can be utilised.

Please note that the position is open for UK or European citizens only.

For more information, please visit our group website at and contact Dr Luca Sapienza (

Key facts

Entry requirements: first or upper second-class 4-year degree or Master degree in Physics, chemistry, materials or biology.

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2019 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Duration: four years (full-time)

Funding: full tuition fees, for UK/EU students, and a tax-free stipend of £14,777 per year

Assessment: Nine month and 18 month reports, viva voce and thesis examination

Start date: typically September

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