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Next Generation Components for Quantum Communication

  • 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

Quantum Communications has the potential to provide verifiably secure communications, guaranteed by the laws of quantum mechanics. This PhD will examine aspects of quantum communications, including quantum amplifiers and quantum random number generators. This PhD project will work closely with the EPSRC Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Communications.

The Single–Photon Group at Heriot–Watt University ( offer a four year fully funded PhD position examining aspects of quantum communications, including quantum amplifiers and quantum random number generators. This PhD will involve working with the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Communications which is a EPSRC funded £25m consortium of major UK Universities and major industrial companies.

The group has a long–standing track record in researching ground breaking QKD systems: for example, work in the field led to a world record transmission distance quantum key distribution system, the first demonstration of a quantum key distribution system operating at a clock–rate of a gigahertz (and above) over an optical fibre link and the first experimental demonstrations of quantum digital signatures. The PhD will examine a number of aspects of quantum communications, and the PhD student will have the backing of a large, experienced and enthusiastic team.

Our group has five well–equipped laboratories and a group of approximately 6 postdocs and five PhD students. The research group has direct ownership of world–leading state–of–the–art equipment with a total value in excess of £3 million and shared access to the national network of resources from the UK National Quantum Technology Programme. Access to these resources and expertise will allow a successful candidate to drive the rapid development of world–leading experimental systems and test–beds 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 1st class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a physics or engineering course and be strongly motivated with the drive required to pursue three to four years of intensive practical and theoretical work. 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 quantum optics and some experience of laboratory work is expected. Experience of computer programming in C/C++ and/or MatLab would 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, having a total of 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 Heriot–Watt’s 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.


All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng or equivalent degree by Autumn 2019. Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype). DTP’s are only open to UK/EU applicants. DTP Studentships are only available for students who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC.

Funding Notes

The annual stipend will be approx. £14,777 and full fees will be paid, for 4 years.

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