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Compact high energy lasers for deep-tissue microscopy

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Deep-tissue multiphoton microscopy has the potential to provide rapid advances in neurology and cancer research, but access to this technology is limited by the high cost of the laser source. This PhD will develop new laser sources for multiphoton imaging, focusing on compact and low-cost prototypes that can be tested in microscopy laboratories. This PhD project will work closely with industry.

The Laser Innovation Lab at Heriot–Watt University ( is offering a three-year fully funded PhD position in applied laser development. This PhD will involve working with laser manufacturer Chromacity and microscopy suppler Scientifica to demonstrate low-cost laser sources for multiphoton microscopy.

The group is led by Dr Richard McCracken, who has a track record in developing lasers microscopy, spectroscopy and astronomy. The group has a newly refurbished laboratory and has secured significant funding from UKRI. Access to these resources and expertise will allow a successful candidate to drive the rapid development of world–leading experimental systems and testbeds and lead to publications in high impact journals.

We are now looking for a talented individual to join us at this exciting time. A suitable applicant will have a strong undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a physics or engineering course and be strongly motivated with the drive required to pursue three years of intensive practical and theoretical work. The project will require both individual and group work and a successful candidate must be capable of operating effectively in both environments. Any candidate must have a good grounding in the theories of lasers and optics, and some experience of laboratory work would be useful. Experience of computer programming in Matlab would be highly advantageous but knowledge of other programming languages is relevant. A relevant undergraduate project would assist in selection of a candidate.

Heriot–Watt’s Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences (IPaQS) is a thriving environment for PhD research, having a total of 160 academics, postdocs, PhD and EngD students working full–time in the general photonics field. Heriot–Watt is based in a modern environment on the outskirts of Edinburgh, with excellent transport links to the centre of one of Europe’s most exciting cities. Heriot–Watt was recently awarded a UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics, cementing Heriot–Watt’s reputation as a centre of excellence in photonics, and providing PhD students with an even more attractive environment for study, as well as enhanced training opportunities. IPaQS is one of the main partners in the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) whose Graduate School provides added value to PhD student education in Scottish Physics Departments, principally in terms of inter–University video–linked taught courses and transferable skills tuition.

Funding Notes

The annual stipend will be approx. £14,777 and full fees will be paid for 3 years.

Related Subjects

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