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  (A*STAR Split-site) Combining twisted 2D materials and metaoptics for mid-far-IR & THz light matter interaction

   Department of Physics and Astronomy

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  Dr Alessandro Principi, Dr Jinghua Teng  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The electromagnetic radiation is one of the prime tools to investigate matter and its properties. This is made possible

by the existence of efficient and compact sources and detectors in the whole spectrum, with the crucial exception of

the low-THz/far IR range (between 3 and 30 THz). This fact, commonly referred to as the “THz gap”, has slowed down

technological developments in, e.g., nondestructive imaging, biosensing, and spectroscopy of materials. Two

dimensional (2D) materials like graphene or transition-metal dichalcogenides offer a potential solution to this

problem. Contrary to three-dimensional systems, they can support gapped or ungapped collective excitations (i.e.

excitons or plasmons) which can be coupled to electromagnetic radiation and whose dispersion encompasses abroad range of frequencies down into the THz-gap.

The frequencies of these collective excitations, and in general the whole optical response of 2D materials, can be

strongly influenced by both the nearby environment and the geometry of the device. Controlling the twist angle

between stacked 2D materials to produce moiré superlattices also opens the possibility of engineering bespoke optical properties. These can potentially be further tuned by combining metallic gratings or antennas, dielectric structures (all of which are commonly referred to as “metaoptics”) and moiré superlattices induced by twisting stacked 2D materials. Metaoptics has been widely studied for enhancing the light matter interaction and manipulating the light field property in terms of amplitude, phase, polarization and orbital angular momentum from ultraviolet to visible and THz spectral range.

In this project we will combine moiré superlattices with metaoptics made by metallic or dielectric subwavelength

structures to engineer the optoelectronic properties of twisted 2D materials. In this way, we aim at controlling their complex optical response. For example, resonances can be tuned to match frequency ranges where detectors or emitters are scarce or for sensing of specific molecules or, on the contrary, gaps can be engineered to make the device transparent in other intervals.

The project has both a theoretical/computational and an experimental component, whose relative weight can be adjusted depending on the student’s interests and skills.


Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2.1 honours degree or a master’s in a relevant science or engineering related discipline.


Scholarships are available for suitable candidates to commence on this 4-year programme in October 2024 including:

·        Tuition fees

·        Annual stipend at the minimum UKRI rate (2023/24 rate £18,622) to the students when in Manchester (for a maximum of 2 years) and when in A*STAR (two years) equivalent to S$2,700/month.

·        Flight allowance for students travelling to Singapore (£1,000) paid by University of Manchester.

·        One return airfare to/from Singapore (S$1,500) paid by A*STAR

·        Medical insurance and settling-in allowance (S$1,000) paid by A*STAR

·        An annual Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) towards project running costs/consumables (up to £5,000 pa) provided to all students when in Manchester.

Supervisor travel allowance up to £6,000 for two airfare/accommodation visits to Singapore. 

Before you apply

We strongly recommend that you contact the supervisor(s) for this project before you apply.

How to apply 

To be considered for this project you’ll need complete a formal application through our online application portal.

When applying, you’ll need to specify the full name of this project, the name of your supervisor, how you’re planning on funding your research, details of your previous study, and names and contact details of two referees.

Your application will not be processed without all of the required documents submitted at the time of application, and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

If you have any questions about making an application, please contact our admissions team by emailing

[Email Address Removed].

Equality, diversity and inclusion

 Equality, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and are at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.  

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status. 

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder).

Engineering (12) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

See Project Description for funding notes

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