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PhD in Engineering: Quantum biology on a chip: investigating the optical properties of single biomolecules within nanofabricated photonic devices

   College of Science and Engineering

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  Dr Luca Sapienza  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The progress in fundamental science and technology has allowed researchers to explore intriguing, but often elusive, quantum effects in atoms, ions and semiconductor nanostructures. Cryogenic temperatures and complex trapping techniques are often required to be able to access these fragile quantum states. Surprisingly, despite the requirement of relatively high temperatures and condensed-phase operation, there is a growing body of evidence that some biological molecules could host superpositions of quantum states for the time-scale of picoseconds. 

To move our understanding of quantum effects in biomolecules forward, we need experimental proofs that will give unambiguous evidence of quantum dynamics. The importance and potential benefits of this research span fundamental physics and biology, with possible technological applications in enhanced energy harvesting and quantum information technologies. 

This project therefore aims at integrating cutting-edge quantum technology to the investigation of quantum effects in biomolecules. We will use platform technologies such as microfabricated single-photon emitters, photonic waveguides and optical cavities. Leveraging the combined technologies will enable us to probe quantum states in single complex biological systems, going beyond current spectroscopic techniques.  

The student will gain expertise in optical spectroscopy, quantum optics, nanofabrication and biochemistry. She/He will have access to the state-of-the-art £120M nanofabrication facilities at the University of Glasgow and will carry out an interdisciplinary research project at the interface between quantum physics and biology.

For more information, see:


Self-motivated students with a degree in Physics, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry

The position is fully funded for European students and the project is expected to start latest in October 2022.

Funding Notes

Funding is available to cover tuition fees for UK/EU (settled status) applicants for 3 years.
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