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Harvesting light in new liquid crystal based smart materials

Project Description

Project description
Applications are invited for a PhD position in the Soft Photonics Systems group at the University of Southampton in the U.K, in collaboration with the University of Strasbourg in France.
This PhD project focuses on designing and building a new class of light harvesting smart materials based on liquid crystals and analysing numerically their electromagnetic response.
The proposed research will embed the PhD student in a team of experimental physicists and mathematicians to create new liquid crystal systems that adapt their optical properties based on the intensity of the light illuminating them.
Once fully developed their applications may range from energy conservation to optical limiters to protect sensitive detectors. This project will provide an exciting opportunity to operate in a truly interdisciplinary environment, while learning some key experimental, manufacturing and data analysis skills that will be applicable in a wide variety of contexts.
The core of the PhD research project will be to realise new multi-layer structures with photosensitive materials and measure their electromagnetic response. An integral part of the project will be the analysis of experimental data and using numerical techniques to extract material parameter values from their optical response. A student on this project will be trained in experimental techniques in micro-structured liquid crystal optics, in numerical techniques for liquid crystal optics and in parameter fitting to extract material parameters from experimental data.

Position requirements
The ideal candidate will have a good and relevant undergraduate background, such as Master’s degree in Physics, Material Science or Engineering. It is essential to have a good knowledge of laboratory techniques in optics and of electromagnetic theory required to model the response. There will be an opportunity to write codes, but we do not require proven experience in coding. It is also important for the candidate to engage with research questions on the boundary of experimental physics and mathematics.

Funding and duration/arrangements
• The successful applicant will be supervised by Prof. Malgosia Kaczmarek and Dr Giampaolo D’Alessandro in Southampton, in close collaboration with Prof. Thomas Heiser from Strasbourg. The visits to the University of Strasbourg will be planned to carry out part of the experimental work.
• Funding is for three years and covers fees, stipend (approximately £15,009 per year) and travel money for visits and conferences (approximately £1200 per year).
• The PhD student will be formally registered in the School of Physics and Astronomy and be based there, but will receive training from both Mathematical Sciences and Physics and Astronomy and will have plenty of opportunities to interact with students from both communities.
• Application deadline: the position will be advertised until filled, but the candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
• The position is available with starting date 1st October 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.

For further info please contact Prof Malgosia Kaczmarek ().

Funding Notes

If awarded, this studentship will provide a provisional tax-free stipend of £15,009 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only available to students eligible for UK/EU fees.
International candidates can apply if they can meet the difference between UK/EU and International Tuition fees from their own resources.

How good is research at University of Southampton in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

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

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