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Doctor of Engineering (EngD) - Ultrafast laser inscription of components for quantum technologies

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

Project Description

The Ultrafast Laser Inscription technique exploits the high fields present at the focus of an ultrafast pulse train to modify transparent materials. By tuning the parameters of the writing laser, the modification can take the form of an index change (exploited in grating, lens or waveguide formation) or a phase change (changing an amorphous material into a crystalline and vice versa) or an increased etch rate. Fraunhofer CAP have set up a state-of-the art ULI system in their laboratories. Motion stages cable of sub-micron accuracy and a highly flexible ultrafast laser source give the opportunity to explore extremely wide ranges of writing parameters.

The project will involve the design, fabrication and characterisation of different types of structured materials for applications in quantum technologies (QT). There will be opportunity to understand and formulate the theoretical framework to describe different modification processes and resultant optical properties. The potential QT applications will be wide ranging – the first to be explored will be grating formation for laser control – the student will gain laser development experience alongside the existing expertise at Fraunhofer CAP, other topics could include photonic integrated circuits in nonlinear materials, miniaturisation of complex experimental layouts and characterisation of sensor components enabled by ULI. Quantum technologies are playing a vital role in the next generation of sensors, communications and computing and photonic integration is a key part of taking these systems from the laboratory to practical use in the field.


The Candidate

Essential Criteria
-Interests in integrated optics

Desirable Criteria
-Labview and Matlab
-Optical test and measurement
-Interests in integrated optics design and fabrication and optical component testing

Flexible Working
We are happy to have discussions on flexible research options with potential candidates.

Working Environment
The student will be working at the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in Glasgow. We have a number of laser optics research laboratories and it is where we have the Ultrafast Laser Inscription system that will be a key part of the hardware the student will become familiar with. We also have a high temperature furnace and micro flame brushing system to study localised heat treatment and annealing of samples. The student will join an existing cohort of students within Fraunhofer CAP and will be expected to work with researchers and other students alike where required. Fraunhofer CAP students get exposure to industrial research projects and get to see photonics progress from the laboratory table to field demonstration. There is also a weekly Fraunhofer CAP journal club in which the student would be expected to participate.

The student will be given opportunities to follow up their ideas and formulate innovation projects and would be encouraged to also disseminate their research in peer reviewed papers and at conferences.

Funding Notes

This 4-year (including CDT taught-courses) project is funded jointly by Fraunhofer CAP and by the CDT in Applied Photonics, run by Heriot-Watt University. This academic supervisor for the project is based at Heriot-Watt University. The annual stipend is £20,777, which includes an enhancement from Fraunhofer CAP. A substantial consumables and equipment budget is provided by a concurrent EPSRC grant. Travel funding for conference presentations is also available.

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