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Nanostructure enabled extreme light-matter interactions


Department of Physics

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project supervised by Dr Steven Andrews https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/persons/steven-andrews in the Department of Physics.

This experimental physics project is concerned with using ultrafast spectroscopic techniques at terahertz frequencies in combination with nanotechnology to explore the dynamics of electronic and lattice excitations driven by extreme terahertz frequency electromagnetic fields. Example include materials displaying phase transitions, strongly correlated electrons and multiferroicity (coupling between electric and magnetic properties). The common theme is that these are systems where the theoretical explanation for the material properties is often incomplete or contested and where the study of strong light-matter interactions and non-equilibrium behaviour in previously uncharted regions of parameter space could help develop understanding of the equilibrium properties or reveal new phenomena. The terahertz part of the spectrum lies between microwaves and the infrared and is chosen because it overlaps the material excitations of interest which can therefore be driven directly.

An intense source of ultrashort pulses of terahertz radiation based on femtosecond laser ionization of gases has been constructed in Bath and we wish to build on this and increase the driving field in samples by an order of magnitude in order to explore extreme light-matter interactions and non-equilibrium phenomena. We believe that optical fields similar to or exceeding those currently available in large scale accelerator based terahertz light sources can be achieved on the benchtop by concentrating laser generated terahertz radiation using energy harvesting structures. The project will focus on modelling and fabricating nanoscale patterned metal films on top of thin films of the materials of interest to locally enhance the terahertz electric field and performing time resolved, nonlinear measurements at terahertz frequencies. The project offers opportunities to develop expertise in ultrafast optics, electromagnetic modelling, nanofabrication and materials physics.

Candidate requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent) in physics and have a interest in condensed matter physics and photonics.

Enquiries and applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Steven Andrews, .

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Physics:
https://samis.bath.ac.uk/urd/sits.urd/run/siw_ipp_lgn.login?process=siw_ipp_app&code1=RDUPH-FP01&code2=0014

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:
http://www.bath.ac.uk/guides/how-to-apply-for-doctoral-study/

Funding Notes

We welcome all-year-round applications from self-funded candidates and candidates who can source their own funding.

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