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Developing Semiconductor Quantum Light Sources

   Cardiff School of Engineering

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  Dr A Bennett, Dr John Hadden  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

EPSRC 3.5 year studentship

Number of Awards 1

Start dates available April 23, July 23 and October 23

Project Summary

Description of Project. Quantum optics is one of the most exciting and interesting research areas available for a PhD because it uses fascinating physical phenomena, such as those rewarded with the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics, to develop systems that can transform everyday life, for example ultra-secure communications [1]. Photons are ideal carriers of quantum information, being fast, cheap and easy to encode with quantum-information carried in their polarisation, phase, time or path degrees of freedom, which is why they underpin so many different quantum technologies.

The challenge in creating useful light sources for quantum technologies is to make them reproducibly, at scale, and cheaply, whilst operating at room temperature with high quality [2]. This project will study quantum light from semiconductor devices made of Aluminium Gallium Nitride (AlGaN) which is already commercially used for solid state lighting, power and RF devices. Our group and others have shown that AlGaN can host point-like quantum light sources within its bandgap emitting across the visible and near-infra-red spectrum [3-5]. By developing devices containing these novel emitters with established AlGaN device manufacturing techniques, the project will enable technology for low light level imaging, secure communications, and quantum computing.

The focus of the project will be to experimentally investigate the growth, physics and electrical control of these novel devices. The project will be sited in the Institute for Compound Semiconductors at Cardiff University, where we have existing equipment to create and test devices.  Towards the end of the project we anticipate we will be able to develop prototype quantum systems incorporating our sources.

This project would be suitable for a candidate with a degree in Physics, Engineering or Material Science. We encourage applications from backgrounds that are under-represented in technology and STEMM.  For more information please contact Anthony Bennett at [Email Address Removed], 02920 875 404, School of Engineering, Cardiff University.

[1] and

[2] A. Shields et al, Nature Photonics 1, p215–223 (2007)

[3] S. Bishop et al, Applied Physics Letters 120 (11), 114001 (2022).

[4] S. Bishop et al, ACS Photonics 7, 7, 1636–1641 (2020)

[5] Y. Zhou et al, Science Advances 4, 3 (2018)

Research Environment. We are seeking someone to join our vibrant and growing research group of 14 persons. You can learn more about our group via We run well equipped labs with state-of-the-art characterisation equipment, located in the new Translational Research Hub building at Cardiff University. Devices will be fabricated in the Institute for Compound Semiconductors cleanroom which is at the heart of £300m campus upgrade.

Support of the candidate. The group will provide an exceptional level of training and support to the candidate on a day-to-day basis in a friendly and open working environment. You will have a desk in an interdisciplinary research office with other Post-docs/PhD students from the schools of physics and engineering. To enable integration within the research culture of the university you will attend regular group meetings and seminars.

Learning and Development Opportunities.

 Intellectual challenge. This is a fascinating and challenging research area at the cutting edge of science and technology. The candidate will uncover new science in a fast-moving research field, which will lead to great publications and opportunities to travel to international conferences and the main supervisor’s collaborators in the UK and EU.

Research Excellence. The primary goal of the project is research excellence. The candidate will leave their PhD with multiple first author peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals.

Training and job prospects. Regular opportunities to practice public speaking and report writing will hone transferable skills. The candidate will be trained in the preparation and processing of samples in the Institute for Compound Semiconductors cleanroom. The skills that will be acquired in this project are highly sought after by high-tech employers in the semiconductor and quantum technology industries. These skills include lithography, etching, process control, wafer handling and structural assessment, data analysis and computational modelling.  Practical lab skills will be gained including Labview programming, error analysis and data processing.

Academic Criteria Candidates should hold or expect to gain a first-class degree or a good 2.1 (or their equivalent) in Engineering, Physics or a related subject. 

Desirable skills: knowledge of Quantum Physics , Optics, Semiconductors, Technology, Physics, Engineering. An interest in building things and programming equipment would be useful.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent)

Contact for further information: Please contact [Email Address Removed] to informally discuss this opportunity.

How to apply Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages ( ) including;

·        an upload of your CV

·        a personal statement/covering letter

·        two references (applicants are recommended to have a third academic referee, if the two academic referees are within the same department/school)

·        Current academic transcripts

Applicants should select Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering), with a start date of July or October 2023

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for a scholarship / grant" and specify that you are applying for advertised funding, reference AB EPSRC 23

Deadline for applications 31st January 2023. We may however close this opportunity earlier if a suitable candidate is identified.

Funding Notes

Amount of Funding: Tuition fees at the home/EU rate (£4,500 in 2021/2) and an annual stipend equivalent to current Research Council rates (£17,668 stipend for academic year 2022), plus support for travel/conferences/consumables. To be eligible for a full award a Student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the Studentship. Overseas Candidates may be able to apply for a three year fee only award.
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