Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes

Modelling of tailored parametric processes in nonlinear crystals

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The mathematical 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 a class of ultrafast lasers known as optical parametric oscillators (OPOs). 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 unidirectional operation.

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, and some experience of laboratory work would be useful. Experience of computer programming in Matlab would be highly advantageous but knowledge of other programming languages is relevant. A relevant undergraduate project would assist in selection of a candidate.

Heriot-Watt’s Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences (IPaQS) is a thriving environment for PhD research, with around 160 academics, postdocs, PhD and EngD students working full–time in the general photonics field. Heriot-Watt is based in a modern environment on the outskirts of Edinburgh, with excellent transport links to the centre of one of Europe’s most exciting cities. Heriot-Watt was recently awarded a UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Doctoral Training in Applied Photonics, cementing our reputation as a centre of excellence in photonics, and providing PhD students with an even more attractive environment for study, as well as enhanced training opportunities. IPaQS is one of the main partners in the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) whose Graduate School provides added value to PhD student education in Scottish Physics Departments, principally in terms of inter-university video-linked taught courses and transferable skills tuition.

Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype).

Funding Notes

The annual stipend will be approx. £15,285 and full fees will be paid for 3 years.

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