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Optical Ground Receivers for Satellite-Based Quantum Communications

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, March 07, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Current demonstrations of satellite-based quantum communications have implemented ground stations which utilize existing large diameter telescopes, originally designed for other applications, such as astronomy. If satellite-based quantum communications is to become commercially viable as the basis for a secure global network, a large number of distributed ground stations are required. This means there is a vital need to investigate new ways in which quantum communications ground stations can be implemented in a coherent and cost-effective manner. This PhD position will investigate a range of novel optical and photonic technologies to develop the next-generation of innovative satellite quantum communications ground stations.

The PhD student will join the Single-Photon Group ( under the supervision of a Royal Academy of Engineering Research fellow, Dr Ross Donaldson, for a 3.5 year fully funded PhD position. The Single-Photon Group has a long-standing track record in researching ground-breaking quantum communication systems, which has led to them playing a leading role in the UK National Quantum Technology Programme, especially through the EPSRC Quantum Technology Hub which is a £25M research consortium containing a number of the UK’s leading Universities and industrial companies. The group has well equipped state-of-the-art research facilities as well as an experienced team of approximately 5 postdocs/research fellows,6 full-time PhD students.

In this project, you will develop significant expertise in theoretical system modelling and experimental techniques for free-space quantum communications. You will build skills in programming, free-space optical design, and field trial demonstrations. Throughout this project, you will have ample opportunity to develop communication skills through industrial and academic collaborations, publication of peer-reviewed papers, attendance of conferences.

An ideal candidate should have a good understanding of optics and photonics as well as quantum physics. The candidate should be strongly motivated to pursue the 3.5 years of intensive work. A good ability to work both individually and in a group is required. Previous experience of laboratory work is expected. Experience with programming languages, such as Matlab, would be highly advantageous. The PhD student will work closely with industrial partners, and a candidate with industrial experience would be advantageous.

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).

Funding Notes

DTP’s are only open to UK/EU applicants. DTP Studentships are only available for students who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC. The annual stipend will be approx. £14,777 and full fees will be paid, for 3.5 years.

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