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An ultrafast shakedown of defects in diamond using intense infrared pulses

Project Description

Atomic-scale defects contained within crystals of diamond provide fascinating opportunities for fundamental and applied physics, including emerging use in quantum technologies and magnetometry. These defects are often a combination of missing carbon atoms, and extra nitrogen and hydrogen atoms. While the unique electronic and vibrational states of defects in diamond can be probed via optical spectroscopy techniques, often only the time-averaged response is accessed.

In this project the PhD candidate will use intense pulses of infared light to promote defects into their vibrationally excited states. The subsequent “shakedown” – the transient vibrational response of the defect – contains information about the vibrational energy levels, cross-coupled vibrational modes and energy relaxation rates. This information is crucial in order to better understand the fundamental physics of defects in diamond.

The student will make use of the Warwick Centre for Ultrafast Spectroscopy (, a joint collaboration between the Physics and Chemistry Departments at Warwick that provides ultrafast spectroscopy experiments covering the ultraviolet, visible, infrared and terahertz ranges. This massive spectral coverage will let the student further examine the dynamics of electrons and their coupling to vibrational modes. Additional material characterisation will be undertaken using Warwick’s suites of modern spectroscopy (UV-visible, Raman, FTIR, ESR), and microscopy (SEM, TEM) equipment. Specific research challenges are to:

(1) exploit this state-of-the-art experimental methodology to examine different local vibrational modes;
(2) fully quantify the anharmonicity of the potential using multiple photoexcitation;
(3) examine how the electronic states of defects couple to their local vibrational modes.

This project suits an enthusiastic and motivated student keen to work with advanced experimental methods to further our understanding of the physics of novel materials. Funding is available for exceptional UK and EU candidates for 4 years at standard research council rates (stipend plus fees). The student will be part of the Diamond Centre for Doctoral Training ( The studentship is offered with the support of an industrial partner, the de Beers Group.

Funding Notes

You should have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree in physics, chemistry, material science or a related subject.

The project provides full funding for stipend and fees for four years, and includes a generous research training support grant. UK and international students can be considered.

The Physics department is proud to be an IOP Juno Champion and a winner of an Athena Swan Silver Award, reflecting our commitment to equal opportunity and to fostering an environment on which all can excel.

How good is research at University of Warwick in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 54.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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