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Doctor of Engineering (EngD) - Novel laser designs to exploit low-cost-per-Watt pumping of Ti:sapphire for application in sensing, imaging, and precise timing technologies (Fraunhofer and University of Strathclyde)

   School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

  Prof D Reid,  Wednesday, May 31, 2023  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This studentship will build on the synergies between the parallel programmes at Fh-CAP and the IoP. The studentship research programme will draw together expertise on the Fh-CAP side on practical, high performance diode-pumped Ti:sapphire systems in the ultrashort pulse [1] and single frequency domains [2], with the work ongoing at the IoP on understanding the underpinning spectroscopic properties of Ti:Sapphire under diode laser pumping [3]. The studentship will seek to exploit novel approaches to the design and engineer of a high-performance and low-SWaP Ti:sapphire laser systems that are opened up by the move to a direct diode-laser pumping. In particular, options here would involve semi-monolithic microchip-type cavity designs including waveguide geometries, novel mode-locking regimes including graphene mode-locking and broadband frequency comb generation from highly nonlinear fibers, master-oscillator-power-amplifier approaches and wavelength multiplexing of pump lasers for a high-power operation. Further, the studentship will look at various system stabilisation techniques and rugged architectures for overall system reliability and applications outside the laboratory environment. Such high-performance and low-cost laser apparatus will significantly advance a range of applications from quantum imaging, quantum-secure communications, precision time keeping and transfer, low-noise microwave generation and remote spectroscopy areas. This studentship will benefit from and contribute to a wider Fraunhofer CAP projects portfolio supported by Innovate UK, which involves multiple industry partners. 

The applications focus of the studentships, and so the detail of the technical approaches investigated will depend on industrially driven demand when the studentship commences. While at this stage, the applications pull is towards the ultrafast, the approaches set out above would also be very relevant to single-frequency devices.

1. J. C. E. Coyle, A. J. Kemp, J.-M. Hopkins, and A. A. Lagatsky, "Ultrafast diode-pumped Ti:sapphire laser with broad tunability," Opt. Express 26, 6826-6832 (2018), doi: 10.1364/OE.26.006826.

2. A. A. Lagatsky, G. M. Bonner, P. J. Schlosser, D. J. M. Stothard, and L. J. McKnight, "Ultra-compact diode-pumped single-frequency Ti:sapphire laser," Opt. Lett. 47, 2995-2998 (2022), doi: 10.1364/ol.460367.

3. J. C. E. Coyle, J.-M. Hopkins, A. A. Lagatsky, and A. J. Kemp, "Titanium Sapphire: A Decade of Diode-laser Pumping," in 2019 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics

CDT Essential Criteria

A Masters level degree (MEng, MPhys, MSc) at 2.1 or equivalent

Desire to work collegiately, be involved in outreach, undertake taught and professional skills study

Project Essential Criteria

Desire to undertake a complex experimental project which involves elements of numerical modelling, laser systems development, engineering and characterisation. Desire to interact with external end-users for the developed technology prototyping and testing.

Project Desirable Criteria

Background in optics and laser physics. Numerical modelling or programming skills.


The CDT in Applied Photonics provides a supportive, collaborative environment which values inclusivity and is committed to creating and sustaining a positive and supportive environment for all our applicants, students, and staff. For further information, please see our ED&I statement https://bit.ly/3gXrcwg. Forming a supportive cohort is an important part of the programme and our students take part in various professional skills workshops, including Responsible Research and Innovation workshops and attend Outreach Training.

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