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Novel platforms for integrated quantum devices based on rare earth doped insulating materials

School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Edinburgh United Kingdom Nuclear Physics Optical Physics Materials Science Physics

About the Project

We offer a 3-year PhD position for a talented, proactive, and strongly motivated candidate who will contribute building a new setup with potential for ground breaking scientific research in the field of solid-state quantum memories for quantum communication applications.

Rare earth ion doped crystals are particularly attractive as materials for quantum memory implementations because they are ensembles of optically active ions naturally trapped in inert media. As such, they offer unique quantum information multiplexing opportunities, beside excellent coherence properties and efficient addressability with both optical and RF fields.

This project aims at the development of new telecom-compatible platforms for integrated quantum devices based on rare earth ion doped materials. This will involve:

1) the investigation of the mechanisms affecting the optical and spin coherence properties of new materials
2) the design of confined structure with the aim of achieving improved performances due to the strong light matter interaction and facilitating the coupling with other integrated quantum technologies as quantum light sources or detectors.

The research will be carried out in the Quantum Photonics Lab at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (, under the supervision of Dr. Margherita Mazzera. The Quantum Photonics Lab ( works on quantum devices in different material platforms (as rare earth ion doped crystals, diamond, SiC, “beyond graphene” 2D materials and III-V semiconductors). The lab hosts state-of-the-art facilities, including several cryostats, superconducting single-photon detectors, lasers and radio-frequency equipment for high-fidelity spin manipulation.

The field of coherent information processing with rare earth ion doped solids has experienced in the last two decades a very exciting and promising development, and the present project opens the possibility to work in close contact and friendly collaboration with the most important and prolific international research groups active in this field.

Additionally, the outlined work-plan will allow developing numerous hands-on skills as optical spectroscopy, light manipulation and characterization, quantum and non-linear optics, vacuum, cryogenics and photon counting techniques.

Applicants must have or expect to have a first class degree or equivalent in physics, or other relevant subject in the physical sciences. A background in experimental physics is desirable.

To apply, please send your CV, academic transcripts and a cover letter explaining your motivation/interest in this project, to Dr. Margherita Mazzera ().

Funding Notes

The PhD project is available for 3 years for UK or EU nationals. This funding includes a stipend of £15k per year.

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