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University of Glasgow

Fully funded PhD Studentship on the quantum mechanics of light matter interaction, in particular chiral matter

The University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is a world leading institution and was the first UK university to be rated as 5 Stars Plus overall (QS World University Rankings 2015). With more than 28,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, and a global community of over 291,000 contactable alumni, we are a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities, and are a broad-based, research intensive institution with a global reach.

The School of Physics and Astronomy

The School of Physics and Astronomy has an outstanding research reputation. Through our world-changing research we are tackling the global challenges of the 21st Century, and significantly contribute to the Glasgow Research Beacons, primarily in The Nano & Quantum World.

The Quantum Theory Group sits within the School and covers diverse research topics including quantum information, quantum optics, optical and electron vortices, optical forces, quantum thermodynamics and chiral matter and its interaction with light.

3.5-year fully funded PhD Studentship

The Quantum Theory Group is seeking PhD applications for a 3.5 year PhD studentship, starting from 1st October 2019.

Research Topic

We are looking for a motivated student interested in working on the quantum mechanics of light matter interaction, in particular chiral matter.

Matter can be chiral, that is showing a lack of symmetry in its structure. Molecules in particular can exist in two forms which are mirror images of one another, and yet differ fundamentally in their chemical or biological function. The natural handedness of circularly polarised light can be used for probing and trapping molecules in a manner that distinguishes the mirror image forms. Even atoms, which are naturally not chiral, can be rendered susceptible to the handedness of light, making light a widely applicable tool when studying the effects of handedness in matter. On a more fundamental level, chirality is related to parity violation and hence the weak force. This is an interdisciplinary field of research which has seen much interest in recent years from chemists, biologists as well as theoretical and experimental physicists.

This project will explore signatures of chirality in light matter interaction by tailoring the structure of the light field. It is possible to create chiral optical lattices where neighbouring lattice sites interact differently with chiral matter. This promises to be an ideal tool to study chiral effects in many body physics and thermodynamics. The successful student will therefore have the opportunity to work on a range of topics on in quantum mechanics related to chiral light-matter interactions.


EU and UK nationals with a 1st class undergraduate physics degree or equivalent.

We are looking for candidates interested in working on various fundamental theoretical aspects in light-matter interactions, potentially with a view to experimental implementations. You will be part of a varied and vibrant research environment. A particular strength of our group is in working closely with experimentalists. The successful candidate must be capable of working alone or as part of a team.


The studentship covers all tuition fees, and a tax-free stipend at the standard UKRI rate, which for this year is £15,009 pa.


31st July 2019 to start from 1st October 2019.

Application Process

Please visit our website and follow the how to apply steps.

If you have any questions on the studentship or the application process please contact:

Dr. Joerg Goette: [email protected]
Prof. Stephen Barnett: [email protected]

Join our Future World Changers at the University of Glasgow.

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