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PhD Engineering: High sensitivity THz spectroscopy

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Clerici
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum (0.1 <ν< 10 THz) is extremely important for several applications, since many relevant molecules such as drugs and explosives have fingerprints in this spectral region, while common packaging materials such as paper and ceramic are transparent. THz spectroscopy and imaging are therefore key resources for the security, medical and industrial sectors, as well as for improving our understanding on the nature of light-matter interaction.

Despite the broad interest in THz technology, these applications still struggle to deliver the expected impact due to limitations in the efficiency and sensitivity of the current THz generation and detection techniques. This issue is the origin of the so-called “THz-gap”. THz is indeed at a frequency just above the limit of standard electronics, yet in a regime where optical interactions are not efficient and therefore the development of an effective technology in this spectral region suffers from the limited electronics speed and the reduced optical frequency conversion efficiency.

Within this project the PhD candidate will seek to develop novel techniques for THz radiation generation and detection aimed at improving spectroscopy and imaging capabilities. He/she shall investigate different routes toward improved THz generation and detection mainly relying on optical methods. This includes the development of novel schemes based on photoconductive switching, optical rectification, difference frequency generation and gas ionisation. Both free space configurations, employing high intensity laser pulses (e.g. Ti:Sapphire oscillators and CPA systems), and integrated platforms (e.g. Silicon, AlGaAs, Diamond) will be considered.

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 and from different disciplines. Details of the project will be agreed with the interested candidates to tailor the research on his/her interests.

The research programme will take place in an international and interdisciplinary environment, which will substantially favour collaboration opportunities 1) within the School of Engineering (Prof. Marc Sorel, co-supervisor, Profs. R. Hadfield and. D. Paul), 2) within different Schools (School of Physics and Astronomy), and 3) within other research institutions (Heriot-Watt University, Sussex University, UK; INRS-EMT, Canada).

Applications are sought from highly motivated students graduating with first degree (2:1 or higher) in engineering or physics. Previous research experience is greatly valued.

Funding Notes

The studentship is supported by the School, and it will cover home tuition fees and provide a stipend of approximately £14,254 per annum (rate TBC) for 3.5 years.

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must have ‘settled status’ in the United Kingdom and must have been ‘ordinarily resident’ for the past three years. EU nationals are generally eligible to receive a fees-only award.

It should be noted that other terms may also apply. For full details about eligibility please visit:

Related Subjects

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FTE Category A staff submitted: 84.00

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