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PhD Studentship: Fibre laser based mid infrared source development

University of Southampton - Optoelectronics Research Centre

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Full tuition funding, plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 19th March 2019
Closes: 19th June 2019

Project Description

This projects aims to develop a ground-breaking new technology platform for the mid-infrared (mid-IR) and demonstrate the enabling capabilities it provides in several important application areas, with a lice sciences focus.

We are looking for applicants with a background in physics, material sciences or engineering, to develop the technology needed to enable a wide range of sensing applications in biology, medicine, environmental monitoring and manufacturing.

You will develop high power short pulse fibre lasers operating at conventional near-IR wavelengths and converting the wavelength of the output light to mid-IR wavelengths using nonlinear optical effects in specially engineered crystals, and/or optical fibres. You can expect professional mentoring, leaving with independence and skills to help you in a successful career.

Most gas molecules exhibit vibrations that lead to highly structured but characteristic light absorption spectra in the mid-IR regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. By measuring the absorption of light for gas samples as a function of the wavelength, the presence and concentration of different gas species within a sample can be determined, enabling many sensing applications.

Laser sources operating in the mid-IR are necessary to exploit this sensing approach, but these are difficult to realise using traditional laser materials and designs.

You will target both high-power sources with a wide wavelength tuning range and a narrow spectral linewidth that can be used to probe individual gas absorption and broadband supercontinuum sources with ultrahigh spectral power densities used to record the full gas absorption section in one go without tuning.

Full tuition funding, plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £18,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. EU students with no external funding can apply for limited scholarships. Overseas students with external funding can also apply.

For more details, contact Professor David Richardson FRS, FREng ( or Dr Lin Xu (

About the Optoelectronics Research Centre

The ORC has been leading the world in optical fibre technology research for the past 50 years. With over 90 state-of-the-art laboratories and 200 researchers working in all areas of photonics, the ORC provides an outstanding interdisciplinary environment for students to grow. Its cluster of 12 photonics spin-out companies provides a natural career path for PhD graduates.

The group has an excellent track record of publishing in high profile research journals and leading international conferences. Its former PhD and postdoctoral researchers have made successful careers in universities worldwide or as industry scientists and business leaders.

In the first year of your PhD a structured training programme runs alongside the research project, providing a gradual transition from a taught degree to open-ended research. Students present their work at conferences worldwide, first-author papers in leading academic journals and emerge with skills at the forefront of glass and 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 3.5 years (full-time) 

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 (later starts might be acceptable)


Further information about the ORC:

Further information about Airguide Photonics:

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