Weekly PhD Newsletter | SIGN UP NOW Weekly PhD Newsletter | SIGN UP NOW

EPSRC DTP PhD Studentship in Developing surfAce enhaNCEd infrared absorption photonics Quantum Devices for multiple vibrational modes imaging (DANCE-QD)

   Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy

About the Project

The School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University are delighted to offer fully funded EPSRC studentships starting in October 2023. 

Project Summary:

Existing in situ nano biomedical imaging techniques are highly labour and time intensive, often requiring specialist training (e.g. cryo-microscopy), and focus on the analysis of bulk samples due to the scarcity and nanometre scale of intra- or extracellular cell microstructures (e.g. vesicles). The inability of cells and proteins to maintain their structure in dehydrated states also adds further challenges and often results in artefacts. An in situ and rapid technology is therefore required for the in- depth analysis of biological tissues in their native state. Recently, photo-induced force microscopy (PiFM), which provides an external electromagnetic field as a driving force to map 3D chemical and topographical characterisation as a function of phonon energies, has been suggested as a turn-key solution for rapid in situ bio-medical imaging (socially desirable). However, the environmental phonon distribution in liquids creates high background noise due to water molecule vibrations. Vibrational modes can be selectively enhanced using tailored micro-structures, that act as antennas to create local electric field enhancements and near-field coupling to significantly increase near infrared signals.

The aim of this studentship is to develop microfabricated antennas as a substrate for in situ aqueous imaging and image reconstruction algorithm development. We will use colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals, quantum materials, two-dimensional materials, metals and photo and electron beam lithography to fabricate micro and nano-photonic structures to enhance IR signals via a PiFM imaging system at Cardiff (unique in UK).

Research Environment:

The candidate will work in the Translation Research Hub (TRH) building home to the Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) and Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI) and next door to the Cardiff’s newly-opened sbarc|spark building, home to the Social Science Research Park (SPARK); such working environment enables the Responsible Research and Innovation being embedded not only in the project but also in student’s daily life and promoting creativity and opportunities for science and innovation that are socially desirable and undertaken in the public interest.

Training and Development Opportunities:

The student will gain fundamental knowledge in semiconductor thin-film growth (sputtering, laser ablation), in processing, micro and nano fabrication, practical experiences in using cleanroom facilities, image reconstruction, pattern recognition and PiFM microscopies. Equipped with these skills, the student will be highly competitive and sought after both in industry and academia.

How to apply: 

Applications should be received no later than 24/02/23. We reserve the right to close this advert before the deadline should sufficient applications be received.  All applications should be submitted via the online application portal, SIMS:  


 Applicants should apply for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages including: 

• your academic CV 

• a personal statement/covering letter 

• two references, at least one of which should be academic 

• Your degree certificates and transcripts to date. 

 In the "Research Proposal" section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project. 

In the funding section, please select that you will not be self-funding and write that the source of funding will be “EPSRC DTP” 

The typical academic requirement is a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 2:1 in a relevant discipline such as Electronic Engineering, Physics, and computer science. A master’s level qualification with strong education and research background/experience in electron microscopy, computer vision and image processing and reconstruction would be advantageous. We also welcome applications from non-traditional candidates. 

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS) (https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/international/english-language-requirements


EPSRC DTP studentships are available to home and international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise international students, once the limit has been reached, we are unable to make offers to international students. 

We are still accepting applications from international applicants.  

International students will not be charged the fee difference between the UK and international rate. Applicants should satisfy the UKRI eligibility requirements. 

Cardiff University is committed to support students from a range of backgrounds and circumstances. Where needed, we will work with you to take into consideration reasonable project adaptations (for example to support caring responsibilities, disabilities, other significant personal circumstances) as well as flexible working and part‐time study requests, to enable greater access to a PhD. All our supervisors support us with this aim, so please feel comfortable in discussing further with the listed PhD project supervisor to see what is feasible. 

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive environment for all. We welcome applications from all members of the global community irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. 

We welcome applications for both full and part-time study and from candidates with non-traditional academic backgrounds. For further information about modes of study, please contact us. 


Applicants are reminded to submit all relevant documents (transcripts, supporting statement, etc) by the deadline. Due to the volume of applications received, incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Funding Notes

The studentship funded by the EPSRC DTP is for 3.5 years and covers tuition fees, an annual tax-free living stipend of in line with UKRI minimum rates (currently £17,668) and includes access to a Research Training Support Grant (currently £4000).  
  If you have a disability you may be entitled to a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) on top of your studentship.  


1. Quantum Dots Microstructural Metrology: From Time-Resolved Spectroscopy to Spatially Resolved Electron Microscopy. Part. Part. Syst. Charact. 2020, 37, 2000192. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppsc.202000192
2. Machine Learning and Artificial Neural Network Accelerated Computational Discoveries in Materials Science. WIREs Comput Mol Sci. 2020; 10:e1450. https://doi.org/10.1002/wcms.1450
3. Tailoring grating strip widths for optimizing infrared absorption signals of an adsorbed molecular monolayer. Opt. Express 27, 10524-10532 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.27.010524

How good is research at Cardiff University in Physics?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Email Now

Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs