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PhD in Materials and Devices for Photonic Co-Processors

University of Southampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £21,000 Stipend at the UKRI rate plus £2,000 ORC enhancement tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 22nd December 2023
Expires: 21st March 2024
 

Supervisory Team: Ioannis Zeimpekis, Kevin MacDonald

Project description

Materials and devices for photonic co-processors: Design and application of phase-change media for next-generation data processing.

Modern society depends massively on the generation, processing and transmission of vast amounts of data: it is predicted that by 2025, 175 zettabytes (175 trillion gigabytes) of data will be generated around the globe. Processing such huge amounts of data demands ever increasing computational power, memory and communication bandwidth - demands that cannot be sustainably met by conventional digital electronic technologies. Indeed, CMOS-based von Neumann architectures are now approaching a widely accepted ‘efficiency-wall’ – a fundamental limit on the number of operations per unit energy, while the number of operations required continues to grow at unprecedented rates. 

A new approach is needed. In this project we aim to exploit the clear advantages offered by photonic computation to develop a novel, highly efficient non-von Neumann co-processor. Working in collaboration with the Universities of Exeter and Oxford (and supported by at £1.1M grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), we will utilise phase-change photonic “in-memory computing” concepts to deliver massively parallel computation at high speed and low energy, while retaining the ability to integrate with existing electronic computing infrastructure. 

If you enjoy developing new technologies and applying novel concepts using the latest nanofabrication and materials/device characterization tools, you will enjoy working with us. Our cleanroom and laboratory facilities are unique in the UK and will help you to develop advanced skills in the design, characterisation, optimization, and experimental application of novel materials and devices. You will also receive training in report writing, project management, time management, presentation skills, and safety, applicable to future academic or industrial employability. 

We are looking for a passionate candidate excited about the latest developments in technology. You will need a background in physics, chemistry, engineering, electronics or a related discipline. A basic understanding of semiconductor physics, optics/photonics, and materials science are essential. Experience in experimental physics, electronics, optics or photonics, and computational modelling and/or programming languages will be beneficial. 

The University of Southampton is committed into sustaining an inclusive environment for all students and staff. We hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award and work continuously to improve equality in the workplace and encourage a work-life balance. The Zepler Institute is home to over 200 researchers working in all areas of photonics, offering a unique, interdisciplinary, friendly and supportive environment. 

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent). 

Funding

For UK students, tuition fees and a stipend at the UKRI rate plus £2,000 ORC enhancement tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years (totalling around £21,000 for 2024/25, rising annually). EU and Horizon Europe students are eligible for scholarships. CSC students are eligible for fee waivers. Funding for other international applicants is very limited and highly competitive. Overseas students who have secured or are seeking external funding are welcome to apply. 

How To Apply

Apply online. Select programme type (Research), Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, next page select “PhD ORC”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Ioannis Zeimpekis.

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