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Glass Surface Interactions in Hollow Core Fibres


Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Dr Natalie Wheeler, Dr Yong Chen

Project description

We are looking for a PhD student with a background in chemistry, materials science, physics to join us to study the surface chemistry of thin glass membranes in hollow core fibres (HCFs). 

HCFs are an exciting, novel optical fibre technology where light is guided in an air filled core. At the University of Southampton, we have a world-leading group, which designs, characterises and fabricates state-of-the-art HCFs in our specialist facilities and we recently reported a new world record low loss for this type of optical fibre. HCFs are now contenders for a diverse range of interesting applications, including telecommunications, high power laser delivery and novel medical diagnostics. 

Now the optical lifetime of these fibres is becoming critical for their successful deployment. The hollow core is surrounded by a cladding structure formed from thin glass membranes with extreme dimensions, for example, with a width of only 30 nanometres but extending along the full fibre length (several kilometres). These membranes therefore present a novel and interesting platform for glass surface dynamics. We want to study the interactions between these surfaces and air (or other gases) within the fibre. 

In this project, you will fabricate new HCFs, focussing on understanding the impact of different fabrication processes on the properties of the glass surfaces within the fibre and linking this to lifetime of the final fibre in various applications. You will become an expert in both fabrication and characterisation of HCFs, while developing a high level of understanding of glass science. You will work with experienced researchers, have access to a wide range of equipment and work with external partners to maximise the impact of your work.

This project is based at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton. The ORC has led the world in optical fibre technology research for the past 50 years. With over 90 state-of-the-art laboratories and 200 researchers working in all areas of photonics, the ORC provides an outstanding interdisciplinary environment for students to grow. Its cluster of 12 photonics spin-out companies provides a natural career path for PhD graduates.

The first year of your PhD, a structured training programme runs alongside the research project, providing a gradual transition from taught degree to open-ended research. Students present their work at conferences worldwide, first-author papers in leading academic journals and emerge with skills at the forefront of glass and fibre optics research https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2_6yNQamkU. Former PhD researchers have made successful careers in universities worldwide or as industry scientists and business leaders.

Entry Requirements

An undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: 31 August 2021

Funding: fully funded PhD position is available for UK applicants (enhanced stipend of £18,000 pa for up to 3.5 years.) EU students with no external funding can contend for a small number of competitive scholarships. Students from overseas who have secured some external funding are also encouraged to apply. www.orc.southampton.ac.uk/phd_funding.html

How To Apply

Apply online, programme type (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, “PhD ORC (Full time)”. Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Natalie Wheeler

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page


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