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Optical initialisation of molecular qubits

   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr N Chilton  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Quantum computing is proposed to have an enormous impact on secure communications and indeed some specific applications have already shown a quantum advantage over classical methods. Most commercial implementations use superconducting circuits or trapped ions as the base qubits, however molecule-based qubits offer a decided advantage for modularity, reproducibility and cost; if only a number of challenges can be overcome. One of these is initialisation of the two-level quantum system before quantum algorithms can be implemented. For molecules this is most often achieved using thermal methods: that is, cool down the sample to below liquid helium temperatures (< 4 K) to polarise the electron spin. In this project we will be exploring how optical techniques such as circularly polarised excitation can efficiently spin-polarise molecular qubits, and generate design principles for the next-generation of materials. We will also investigate how vibronic coupling leads to quantum decoherence and how this can be mitigated in molecules.

 The successful candidate will join the multidisciplinary Chilton group in the Department of Chemistry at The University of Manchester, alongside five other PhD students, six post-docs and two masters’ students. The project will start by looking at optical initialisation in existing molecular qubits, and move on to designing prototype molecules with improved performance. The successful candidate will: (i) learn density-functional theory (DFT) methods and how to determine the molecular structures and vibrational modes of metal complexes, (ii) learn complete active space self-consistent field spin-orbit (CASSCF-SO) methods, (iii) learn how to calculate circularly-polarised excitation spectra, (iv) how to calculate vibronic coupling, and (v) design new molecules with tailored initialisation and diminished vibronic coupling.

Academic background of candidates 

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in Chemistry or Physics

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact. We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

 We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles. We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder). 

Contact for further Information:

Dr Nicholas Chilton

[Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 Year funded PhD studentship, covering fees and stipend (£17,668 in 2022-23)


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