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  Giant Rydberg Excitons for Quantum Technologies

   Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy

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  Dr S Lynch, Dr S Doyle, Prof W W Langbein  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Giant Rydberg excitons are recently discovered quantum objects that are generating considerable scientific excitement. They are different from conventional excitons, which are commonly observed near the band edge of semiconductor crystals because they have large sub-micron Bohr radii. This length scale is approximately three orders of magnitude larger than the hydrogen atom. The Rydberg excitons behave like artificial atom analogues (quasi particles), but unlike normal matter they can be created, destroyed, and their quantum state manipulated, with laser light. In collaboration with Durham Physics, we have demonstrated that a further level of quantum control is achievable with intense microwave fields. On the basis of this ground-breaking result, we have been awarded four years of EPSRC funding to exploit superconducting microwave resonator technology, originally developed in the Astronomy Instrumentation Group at Cardiff Physics. This novel technology will allow the generation of intense microwave fields in the locality of the Rydberg excitons, for the purpose of achieving optimised electromagnetic coupling to encode the quantum information.

The aim of this PhD project is to explore how quantum information can be transported intact around a distributed quantum network. To achieve this, the encoded microwave quantum information needs to be up-converted to an optical signal that can be sent down an optical fibre. The challenge is to do this efficiently without introducing additional decoherence that might destroy the fragile quantum state. We propose to build such a converter using Rydberg excitons inside a semiconducting material called cuprous oxide. The student will develop the methods required to physically integrate Rydberg excitons and superconducting circuits together, and study ways to maximise the coupling between them, as well as tackling the challenge of reducing optical losses in the conversion process.

The student will be part of a diverse cohort of students, and will receive training in research methods, safety, time management, writing reports and scientific publications, and intellectual property. The student will master an array of highly transferable research skills. These will include electromagnetic device modelling and design of superconducting microwave circuits. The student will receive training in clean-room fabrication and device characterisation. The student will be educated in advanced spectroscopic techniques at cryogenic temperatures. The student will regularly participate in internal seminars/workshops to gain self-confidence and sense of teamwork, improve their communication skills, and develop networks. They will be encouraged to present the research results at international meetings and participate in outreach events. This PhD is part of the Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy training program Quantum Materials and Technologies, which trains students in a cohort environment across similar themes.

How to apply:

Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics and Astronomy with a start date of 1st October 2024. 

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages to ( including: 

• your academic CV 

• Your degree certificates and transcripts to date including certified translations if these are not in English 

• 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). Your references can be emailed by the referee to [Email Address Removed]  

Please note: We are do not contact referees directly for references for each applicant due to the volume of applications we receive.     

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

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. IELTS 6.5 Overall with 5.5 minimum in sub-scores) (

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 that you will not be self-funding and write that the source of funding will be EPSRC. 

Once the deadline for applications has passed, we will review your application and advise you within a few weeks if you have been shortlisted for an interview. Closing date 24th June 2024. We may however close this opportunity earlier if a suitable candidate is identified.

Eligibility :

This studentships are available to home and international students. International students will not be charged the fee difference between the UK and international rate. Applicants should satisfy the UKRI eligibility requirements.

For more information, or if there are any questions re application process, please contact Physics and Astronomy PGR Student Support team at [Email Address Removed]

Computer Science (8) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This EPSRC fully-funded scholarship is for 3.5 years and covers the full cost of tuition fees, a UKRI standard stipend (£19,237 for 2024/25), and additional funding for training, research and conference expenses. The scholarships are open to UK/home and international candidates.

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