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Brightness-enhancing solid-state technology for excitation application in masers (Advert Reference: RDF22-R/EE/MPEE/SATHIAN)

   Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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  Dr Juna Sathian, Dr Hamdi Torun  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The MASER was preceded by the laser and works by Amplified Stimulated Emission of Radiation but at Microwave rather than optical frequencies. A critical break-through for masers has now made it possible for pulsed and continuous operation at room-temperature. The current working example of the pulsed/continuous room-temperature maser uses lasers to optically pump the pentacene/nitrogen vacancy (NV) colour centres, one of the key requirements for the maser action. This project will be transformative in the optical pumping capability of the maser. The project proposes an innovative low-cost, high brightness technology using light emitting diode-pumped luminescent concentrator (LED-LC) to optically pump the maser. The LED-LC will be developed to spectrally match the visible light excitation of the maser gain medium. Because of their complexity in implementation, the masers are used in only a few specialised applications, notably atomic clocks and low-noise amplifiers for radio astronomy and space communications. This new approach and research will enable masers to become more widely available for use and open new application areas such quantum computers, medical imaging and potentially in a key role of improving sensors for security scanning.

The project involves the integration of novel method to bring MASERs to address new applications as follows:

  1. Developing different LED-luminescent modules and analysing their electrical and optical characteristics and functionalities including output power/energy, tunability, stability, beam quality, linearity, bandwidth, etc. and comparing the data with the simulated results using Monte Carlo Ray-Tracing Simulation.
  2. Developing microwave resonators for masers to enable generation of signals at specific frequencies. Different types will be investigated including metamaterial-based resonators that can be integrated into the MASER setup. The design of the particular resonators will be completed using finite-element modelling methods.
  3. Integration of the subsystems and the demonstration of the fully operating MASER.

The work will progress and builds on the already ground-breaking initial work at Imperial College London and Northumbria University. The successful candidate will join the Quantum and Molecular Photonics (QMP) research group and the Maser/Laser technology lab at Northumbria University. This PhD aims to provide the opportunity for significant contributions to the scientific field, training in the subject area and broader understanding of applications.

The Principal Supervisor for this project is Dr Juna Sathian.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF22-R/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 20 June 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Funding Notes:

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2022/23 full-time study this is £16,602 per year) and full tuition fees. Only UK candidates may apply.

Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,961 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.

Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

• Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or

• have settled status, or

• have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or

• have indefinite leave to remain or enter.


[1] Sathian, J*., Breeze, J.D., Richards, B., et al., 2017. Opt. Express, 25(12), pp.13714-13727.
[2] Sathian, J*., and Oxborrow, M., U.S. Patent US10502882B2.
[3] Breeze, J., Tan, K.J., Richards, B., Sathian, J*., et al., 2015 Nat. Commun., 6(1), pp.1-6.
[4] Salvadori, E., Breeze, J.D., Tan, K.J., Sathian, J*., et al., 2017. Sci. Rep., 7(1), pp.1-8.
[5] Breeze, J.D., Salvadori, E., Sathian, J*., et al., 2018. Nature, 555(7697), pp.493-496.
[6] Breeze, J., Alford, N., Sathian, J*., et al., 2020 U.S. Patent US11108206B2
[7] Sathian, J*., et al., 2020. JOSA B, 37(7), pp.2185-2192.
[8] H Torun, F Cagri Top, G Dundar, AD Yalcinkaya, 2014. Journal of Applied Physics 116 (12), 124701.
[9] S Zahertar, E Laurin, LE Dodd, H Torun, 2019. IEEE Sensors Journal 20 (5), 2434-2439.
[10] S Zahertar, AD Yalcinkaya, H Torun, 2015. AIP Advances 5 (11), 117220.

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