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  Optical-pump TeraHertz-probe near-field microscopy for material science

   School of Physics and Astronomy

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  Dr M Navarro-Cia, Dr A Kaplan  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Terahertz (THz) is a rapidly expanding field with notable importance for a myriad of disciplines such as physics, chemistry and biology. In the context of material science, optical-pump terahertz-probe spectroscopy is used to follow electron mobility and recombination dynamics on a picosecond to nanosecond timescale. Unfortunately, due to the diffraction limit, the dynamics on a sample are mapped with a spatial resolution of the order of millimetres, which prevents mapping, for example, defects. Finer spatial resolution could be accessed with near-field techniques.

With the aim of realising an optical-pump TeraHertz-probe polarisation-resolved near-field microscope, this PhD research programme will look at combining spintronic THz emitters and near-field photoconductive probes. The PhD student will carry out specifically the following initial tasks: implementation, and calibration of the microscopy system; electromagnetic modelling of the near-field probe may be required for the latter. Subsequently, the PhD student will characterise emerging materials for energy and communication applications. Other activities supporting the project will also be carried out when required.

The PhD candidate should have completed (or about to complete) their undergraduate degree in physics or engineering (preferably with first class honours or equivalent) and we expect the PhD candidate to develop the expertise required to lead an experimental research project, to train students, to interact with colleagues with different backgrounds (physics and engineering) and from different disciplines (i.e., electromagnetism, material science). Details of the project will be agreed with the interested candidates to tailor the research on his/her interest.

The School of Physics and Astronomy is an Institute of Physics Juno Champion since 2014 and holder of the Athena SWAN Silver Award. Both initiatives recognise the School’s commitment to promote diversity and equality, and to encourage better practice for all members of the community, whilst also working towards developing an equitable working culture in which all students and staff can achieve their full potential. We welcome applications from all qualified applicants, and encourage applications from traditionally under-represented groups in physics and astronomy including, but not limited to, women and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic.

The research programme will take place in the an interdisciplinary environment of the Nanoscale group (, and Metamaterials and Nanophotonics group (, which will substantially favour collaboration opportunities within University of Birmingham and afield.

You can apply here: (physics programme) clearly stating the title of the project and the name of the supervisor (Dr. Miguel Navarro-Cía)

Materials Science (24) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Applications are sought from highly motivated UK students graduating with first degree (2:1 or higher) in physics or engineering (and preferably a Master degree). Funding is awarded by the School on a competitive basis, depending on the strength of the applicant. The funding will cover tuition fees and provide a stipend for 3.5 years.

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