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Fully funded PhD studentship in Photonics: Integrated Mid-IR spectrometer for biomedical cancer diagnostics


Optoelectronics Research Centre

Southampton United Kingdom Electrical Engineering Inorganic Chemistry Optical Physics Engineering Materials Science Physics Solid State Physics

About the Project

Fully Funded PhD Studentship for UK students

Integrated Mid-IR spectrometer for biomedical cancer diagnostics

University of Southampton - Optoelectronics Research Centre

The Optoelectronics Research Centre has a 40-year track record of pioneering contributions in photonics and is currently one of the largest and most dynamic research centres in this field world-wide. The Integrated Photonic Devices Group (http://www.orc.soton.ac.uk/ipd.html) explores the fundamentals of guided wave optics at surfaces, with applications including telecommunications, biosensing and novel light sources, and is complemented by world-class photonic materials and fabrication facilities (http://www.orc.soton.ac.uk/facilities.html).

The Project: Mid-Infrared (MIR) spectroscopy is a powerful technique for biochemical analysis in applications such as point of care diagnostics and pollution monitoring. It provides a plethora of qualitative and quantitative chemical information and can be used for label free analysis due to the inherent selectivity of the MIR spectral region. Commercially available MIR spectrometers are usually bulky and expensive, and are not suitable for detecting analytes of very low concentration. However, biomedical diagnostics or early detection of a symptom often involves very low concentration of analytes/biomarkers. An ultra-sensitive optical waveguide based integrated MIR spectrometer device platform which is portable and cost-effective/mass-manufacturable, suitable for use in low resource settings, has not been demonstrated yet.

In this project, low-cost amorphous/glass waveguide based sensing elements, mid-IR sources and interferometers will be fabricated to provide detection, identification and quantification of chemical and biological species from their characteristic vibrational fingerprints. We will explore radically new materials with artificially-induced functionalities at mid-IR wavelengths. Induced nonlinearity will be provided by innovative selective micropoling which we have recently demonstrated in amorphous materials, allowing electro-optic device control in cheap non-crystalline materials providing flexibility to tailor the composition at various parts of the circuit according to the device needs. In addition novel ways of fabricating chalcogenide waveguides on Silicon and thermo-optically tuned spectrometers will be of interest. Finally, these devices will be used to demonstrate the detection of cancer biomarkers (at very early stages of cancer) from body fluids including blood, saliva and exhaled breath.

The PhD programme: Our world-leading research centre is a hive of activity with over 200 staff and students working on cutting-edge research to provide innovative solutions for real life problems in health-care, manufacturing, communication technology, defence, renewable energy and the environment.

We are looking for the photonics pioneers of the future to join our vibrant research team and work alongside our world-class researchers to make history. Our Photonics PhD programme offers a solid start to any career in optics and photonics, whether you are planning to stay in academia or work in industry.

Supervision: This project will be supervised by Dr. Senthil Ganapathy and Prof. James Wilkinson

Entry requirements: first or upper second-class degree or equivalent in physics, materials science, chemistry, photonics or electronic/electrical engineering.

English language: IELTS 6.0, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component; for information on other accepted English Language tests, please visit https://www.southampton.ac.uk/studentadmin/admissions/admissions-policies/language.page#_ga=2.60728360.448287177.1584098395-27825989.1488188708

Duration: Typically 3.5 years (full-time)

Start date: Typically September/February (but other start dates are possible)

Applying: To apply, please submit an application for a PhD in the Optoelectronics Research Centre to the University of Southampton including that you wish to do a PhD on the above topic and with the supervisors mentioned above. For more details https://www.orc.soton.ac.uk/how-to-apply

Closing date: Applications should be made as soon as possible.

Contact: You are welcome to contact Dr. Senthil Ganapathy () for further details and an informal discussion.


Funding Notes

Funding: Full funding is available for UK applicants which includes paid tuition fees and tax-free bursary of £18,000 per annum to cover the living expenses.

EU/International applicants may also be considered for fully-funded scholarships. Obtaining support from other sources (or self-funding) for living expenses will increase chances of a successful application. Please note that EU students who have been working/studying in the UK for the previous 3-years can be fully-funded as equivalent UK students.

International students are encouraged to seek full/partial funding from other sources (e.g. national scholarships, commonwealth scholarships, self-funding etc).

For further information, visit View Website

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