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Modelling of nonlinear devices for ultrafast photonics and quantum optics (EPS2022/17)

   School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

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  Dr R A McCracken, Prof Mehul Malik  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The PhD project will use a variant of the generalised nonlinear Schrodinger equation (GNSLE) to model parametric processes, in which energy is exchanged between waves through chi(2) and chi(3) effects, and apply the model to the pulse evolution in nonlinear crystals and optical fibers. In this project we will use this model to study quasi-phase-matched (QPM) nonlinear crystals, combining the GNSLE with simulated annealing or genetic algorithms to design the QPM grating to produce (for example) extremely broadband spectra or high-purity single photons for applications in quantum technologies and fundamental studies of entanglement.

The Laser Innovation Lab at Heriot-Watt University ( is offering a three-year fully funded PhD position in optical modelling, where the PhD student will model nonlinear interactions in periodically poled crystals. The group is led by Dr Richard McCracken, who has a track record in developing lasers for microscopy, spectroscopy and astronomy. The group has a newly refurbished laboratory and has secured significant funding from UKRI. Access to these resources and expertise will allow a successful candidate to drive the rapid development of world–leading experimental systems and testbeds and lead to publications in high impact journals.

We are now looking for a talented individual to join us at this exciting time. A suitable applicant will have a strong undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a physics or engineering course and be strongly motivated with the drive required to pursue three years of intensive theoretical work supported by experiment. The project will require both individual and group work and a successful candidate must be capable of operating effectively in both environments. Any candidate must have a good grounding in the theories of lasers and optics. Experience of computer programming in Matlab would is essential but knowledge of other programming languages is relevant. A relevant undergraduate project would assist in selection of a candidate.

How to Apply

1. Important Information before you Apply

When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:

(a) in ‘Study Option’

You will need to select ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Postgraduate Research’. ‘Programme’ presents you with a drop-down menu. Choose Chemistry PhD, Physics PhD, Chemical Engineering PhD, Mechanical Engineering PhD, Bio-science & Bio-Engineering PhD or Electrical PhD as appropriate and select September 2022 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)

(b) in ‘Research Project Information’

You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project. Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the potential supervisor’s name.

This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.

Please note that once you have submitted your application, it will not be considered until you have uploaded your CV and transcripts.

Funding Notes

There are a number of scholarships available which offer funding from between 3 and 3.5 years at an average stipend rate of £15,000 per year.
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