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Metamaterials for Life-Sciences - ENG 1652

   Faculty of Engineering

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  Dr Mitchell Kenney  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham is seeking an enthusiastic, self-motivated student who enjoys working as part of a team to undertake a PhD in the Optics and Photonics Research Group (OPG), supervised by Dr. Mitchell Kenney alongside collaborators within OPG and Life sciences.


The advent of the smart-phone has undoubtedly revolutionised portable imaging systems, but the need for smarter imaging capability grows with increased healthcare end-user and accessibility demands. Imaging is a crucially important aspect in many scientific fields, with it being of particular importance in life-sciences and biomedical imaging. Novel techniques, such as microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, and light-field imaging allow users to gather more useful information with higher levels of details than ever imagined. However, lots of these advanced systems still rely on old technologies based on standard glass lenses and components which are bulky and have limited capabilities.

Metamaterials are artificial materials that use digitally-arranged nanometre-sized optical structures for intelligent manipulation of light. They require only simplistic (microelectronics-compatible) fabrication processes, and have the potential to replace previous optical components, with enhanced functionalities capable of gathering extra optical information.

The proposed project is to utilise the increased functionality of 2D flat metamaterials [1,2,3] to develop complementary and novel imaging systems which builds on Dr Kenney's previous cutting-edge research on large-area meta-lenses [3]. The metamaterials can be used to produce complex imaging and sensing techniques and systems in a compact and affordable way. These systems are applicable to all sectors which require compact imaging specifications, but will have a primary focus on life-sciences and biomedical imaging.

The student will gain experience and skills in a range of nanofabrication, computational modelling, metamaterial design, and optical setup construction. They will make use of commercial simulation software to test electromagnetic designs, algorithmic coding to design metamaterials, fabrication techniques to produce these, and then determine their imaging performance in bespoke optical systems in the visible light range.

Applicants should have, or be expected to gain, a high (1st or 2:1) honours degree in Physics or Electrical and Electronic Engineering and be a UK or home student. The studentship covers tuition fees and stipend for 3 years. For any enquiries about the project please e-mail Dr. Mitchell Kenney ([Email Address Removed]).

Please apply here

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG and supervisors name) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.


[1] L. Huang, S. Zhang, T. Zentgraf, "Metasurface holography: from fundamentals to applications," Nanophotonics 7, 1169 (2018).
[2] X. Zou, G. Zheng, Q. Yuan, et al., "Imaging Based on Metalenses," PhotoniX 1 (2020).
[3] M. Kenney, J. Grant, et al., "Large area metasurface lenses in the NIR region," in Modeling Aspects in Optical Metrology VII, SPIE (June 2019).

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