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Microlasers based on rare-earth-doped and semiconductor nanocrystals for photonic applications

   Institute of Photonics

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  Dr Nicolas Laurand, Prof Keith Mathieson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Start date: 1 October 2022

Duration: 3.5 yrs

Summary: The project will pioneer micro-resonators made from rare-earth doped upconverting nanoparticles and/or luminescent semiconductor nanocrystals in order to enable novel microscopic/sub-microscopic lasers for use in photonic integrated circuits and as enhanced fluorescent/lasing labels for sensing and biomedical applications.

Description: Luminescent nanoparticles (1nm to 50nm in size) can act as the building blocks of higher level, micrometre-scale photonic structures (super-crystals or super-assemblies) that can be designed for enhanced fluorescence and light matter-interactions, as well as for multi-functionalities. Our team has recently demonstrated micro-size lasers using semiconductor nanocrystals that self-assemble into microsphere resonators under the right conditions. These structures are a great platform to study laser phenomena at a very small scale. They also create opportunities for new applications in integrated optics (as microscopic light sources) and in biomedical sciences (for example as fluorescent and sensing labels that could be used in-vivo). We are now expanding our “building blocks library” to rare-earth doped upconverting nanoparticles – these enable efficient anti-Stokes emission (e.g., they can emit in the visible or UV when excited by near infra-red light), an attractive feature for applications within biological samples. Our first target is to demonstrate a self-assembled upconverted laser, which has never been reported so far.

Our team is therefore pioneering these new types of microlasers with the underlying goals of understanding their physics, and putting them into exciting uses: potentially revolutionising the way pathogens or pollutants are targeted and detected, and creating innovative artificial optical materials. This studentship is agreat opportunity for a motivated person to join our team and contribute to achieving these goals. It is envisaged that the focus will be on integration of these materials with photonic integrated circuitry (microfabrication of photonic elements by lithography and self-assembly, microlaser integration, and testing), although there is flexibility depending on the student background and aspirations.

Our team is part of the Institute of Photonics (see details below) and is currently composed of 8 researchers: the Principal Research Fellow (supervisor), two Postdoctoral Researchers, and 5 Postgraduate Researchers. The student will be part a wider cohort of research students at the Institute of Photonics. They will be mentored in technical writing skills, technical speaking and presentations skills, literature searching and analysis.s. They will also attend and present at international and UK conferences. Of course, the PhD student will gain technical competencies through the project, including experience with state-of-the-art soft and hard material processing techniques and novel assembly approaches. The researchers will benefit from the international environment of the project by exchanging with peers.

Institute of Photonics: The Institute of Photonics (IoP), part of the Department of Physics, is a centre of excellence in applications-oriented research at the University of Strathclyde. The Institute’s key objective is to bridge the gap between academic research and industrial applications and development in the area of photonics. The IoP is located in the £100M Technology and Innovation Centre on Strathclyde’s Glasgow city centre campus, at the heart of Glasgow’s Innovation District, where it is co-located with the UK’s first Fraunhofer Research Centre. Researchers at the IoP are active in a broad range of photonics fields under the areas of Photonic Devices, Advanced Lasers and Neurophotonics, please see: . Strathclyde Physics is a member of SUPA, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance.

The University of Strathclyde has, in recent years, been the recipient of the following awards: The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in the field of Advanced Manufacturing (2021); Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 Scottish University of the Year, The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2020 (and 2019), The Times Higher Education UK University of the Year 2019/2020 (and 2012/2013), The Times Higher Education Widening Participation Initiative of the Year 2019 and UK Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2013/2014. 

Student eligibility: To enter our PhD programme applicants require an upper-second or first class BSc Honours degree, or a Masters qualification of equal or higher standard, in Physics, Engineering or a related discipline. Full funding, covering fees and stipend, is available for applicants who are UK Nationals (meeting residency requirements) or have settled status (meeting residency requirements), pre-settled status or otherwise have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

How to apply: Applicants should send an up-to-date CV to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The funding covers the full stipend and tuition fees at the home rate (not the international rate). To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:
• Be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or
• Have settled status, or
• Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
• Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.
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