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Comb Based Optical Communications


   College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Monday, November 07, 2022  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Please note this post may close earlier if a successful candidate is recruited.

The Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AiPT) is delighted to offer a funded three-year PhD studentship in Comb Based Optical Communications.

The position is available to start in October 2022, or January 2023.

The Environment

AiPT hosts the oldest photonic communications research group in the UK. The PhD student will benefit from full-scale experimental, computing, and office resources and facilities to their project success including a fully equipped system research laboratory, including 400Gb/s testbeds, high-speed electronic test equipment including 70 GHz real-time oscilloscopes. AiPT currently hosts over 22 PhD students, who are members of the Aston Graduate School and organizes local OSA and SPIE student chapters. The successful candidate will work alongside experienced researchers on EPSRC funded research projects and will be a member of the Aston Graduate School.

Overall Context

Digital technologies directly support over 1.4M jobs throughout the UK and the Photonics industry is responsible for an industrial value of £13.4M per annum. Employment opportunities within both the Communications and Photonics sectors are particularly strong. Exponential traffic growth is driven by both the continuing evolution of network access technologies, including 5G and 6G networks with base stations directly connected to the fiber network, and the ever-increasing range of applications, including Smart Cities and the Internet of Things. To support continuous exponential growth, radical solutions are required.

The PhD Project

The successful candidate will work alongside experienced researchers on the project “Energy Efficient M Communication using Combs”. This studentship will provide the opportunity to undertake research, leading to a PhD, within the context of a research collaboration between Aston University, Dublin City University, and Pilot Photonics Ltd. The project aims to develop low-cost all-optical techniques to continue to expand the bandwidth of individual transceivers which power the internet. The proposed solution will be compact, suiting applications both within data centres, and high performance, suiting core international networks. If successful, the project will deliver a transponder with more than an order of magnitude more capacity than those commercially available.

The successful applicant will propose and develop techniques to overcome limitations from both the finite bandwidth and quantization of analog to digital converters, demonstrate substantial improvement in transponder capacity, feedback enhanced chip designs to the manufacturer, and finally trial the solution. The successful candidate will split their time between Birmingham and Dublin.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in with final year options relevant to photonics or communications, or from applicants holding a combination of qualifications and/or relevant experience equivalent to that level. Preferred skill requirements include photonic components and optical communication systems. Applicants will need to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English Language skills.

We would particularly like to encourage applications from groups traditionally underrepresented in Electrical Engineering including women. Aston University is committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly, and supportive working environment and family atmosphere. We are a Disability Confident Employer Level 2. We strive to have robust inclusivity strategies in place, including race and sexual orientation, to encourage colleagues to have the confidence and freedom to be themselves in the workplace.

Submitting an application

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here

Whilst an original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined the application should be accompanied by a professionally referenced “research statement” of no more than three pages plus references (a suitable template which may be adapted for this purpose may be found here https://www.ecoc2022.org/images/technical/ECOC2022_full_paper_template_3pagesreferences.docx), which demonstrates the applicants understanding of the current challenges in high-performance optical transponder design. Candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should include a brief review of relevant research literature.

Please include the supervisor’s name, project title, and project reference in your application.


Funding Notes

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of £16,062 for 2022/3. Overseas applicants will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees. The difference is £14,054 in 2022/3. As part of the application process, you will be required to confirm that you have applied for or have available this additional funding. Outstanding overseas applicants with relevant publications or research experience will be able to apply for an AiPT scholarship to fund the fee difference.

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