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Creation and Characterisation of Spin Defects for Quantum Technology

   Department of Materials

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  Prof N Alford, Dr D Arroo  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisors: Professor Neil Alford and Dr Daan Arroo

Start date: October 2022

Duration: 3.5 Years

Entry requirements: Ideally, you will hold, or be expected to achieve, a Master’s degree or a 4-year undergraduate degree at 2:1 level (or above) in a relevant subject, e.g. Material Science, Physics or a related discipline.

Funding: The studentship is for 3.5 years and will provide full coverage of tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of approximately £17,609.

Eligibility: Applicants must be ‘UK Residents' as defined by the EPSRC. 

Project summary: 

Spin defects such as the nitrogen vacancy centre (NVC) in diamond behave as isolated spins in a host crystal that have many useful properties for developing quantum technologies, including long coherence times and spin-dependent intersystem crossing and photoluminescence that allow their spin state to be optically controlled and read out. Their quantum state can further be controlled through microwave pulses, making spin defects a promising platform for applications such as quantum computers, masers, quantum memory and quantum sensing. In 2018, the Maser Research Group at Imperial used NVCs to demonstrate the first solid-state maser (the microwave analogue of a laser) capable of running continuously at room temperature (Breeze et al., Nature 555, 493-496 (2018)).

Applications are sought for a PhD student to join the group in a collaboration with the University of Manchester and the University of Leeds as part of the NAME EPSRC Programme Grant. Through this collaboration we have access to a state-of-the-art ion implantation system which will be used to introduce spin defects into diamonds and other materials (such as silicon carbide and hexagonal boron nitride) in a controlled fashion. The PhD project will involve working with this tool to create previously unstudied spin defects and characterising these defects using a purpose-built confocal microscope. The most promising spin-defect materials will then be exploited to develop new quantum technologies such as novel masers, spin-qubit quantum memories and nodes for a quantum network.

The project will ideally suit an applicant with an interest in quantum technology and a combination of strong experimental and computational skills.

Techniques and equipment used:

You will gain experience in optically-detected magnetic resonance (ODMR), electron paramagnetic resonance, optical microscopy and spectroscopy (photoluminescence, Raman, birefringence) and microwave engineering.

Applications will be assessed as received and all applicants should follow the standard College application procedure. Please apply to the Department of Materials.

Informal enquiries and requests for additional information for these posts can be made to Dr Daan Arroo

To apply, please go to the application portal.

Queries: Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to Dr Annalisa Neri.

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