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  PhD Studentship in the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies

   School of Mathematical & Physical Sciences

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  Dr A Pasquazi  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Our Research Group

The Emergent Photonics Lab is a fertile research environment at the University of Sussex focused on the "emergent" photonic properties in complex nonlinear optical systems. The lab presently hosts the work of 17 researchers directed by Alessia Pasquazi and Marco Peccianti, the lab founders. The research staff now consists of three Post-Doctoral researchers, seven PhD students and seven undergraduate research students. Research interests are split into two major directions, on integrated nonlinear photonic systems and their application in quantum technologies and in cutting edge Terahertz science. 

The Project

One of the most exciting recent developments in physics has been the application of cutting-edge science to a generation of new quantum technologies, and the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies is one of the world’s leading centres for research in this area.

Miniaturised atomic clocks in a portable format are expected to change the way we access timing, positioning and navigation. They are a fundamental building block for the new generation of quantum sensors and could play a key role in making our society resilient to GPS spoofing and jamming. ( )

As every clock, a portable optical atomic clock is composed of two fundamental components [1]: a reference (an ultraprecise atomic oscillator) and a counter (an optical frequency comb, a special laser developed by the Nobel prizes John Hall and Theodor Hänsch [2]). The Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies is exceptionally well placed in this area, with two groups working on the very different physics necessary to the miniaturisation of those parts: a portable ion trapped calcium reference (Ion Trap Cavity-QED group led by Professor Matthias Keller) and an optical microcomb (EPIC group led by Dr Alessia Pasquazi)

Microcombs are special pulsed lasers based on millimetre size optical resonators. First discovered in 2007[3], they have galvanised the attention of photonic scientists with the promise to realise the full potential of frequency combs in a compact form. To meet the demand of practical atomic clocks, microcombs need, however, to become an efficient, robust and reliable technology.

This theoretical/experimental PhD project will focus on developing an optical clock based on a new type of nonlinear optical wave, called temporal laser cavity soliton, recently discovered in the EPic laboratory at the University of Sussex. ( ) [4] for ultra-efficient microcombs. You will work in the team of Dr Alessia Pasquazi, funded by her recent ERC starting grant ‘Temporal laser cavity solitons microcombs’ (

The successful applicant will join a team within the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies ( During the PhD, the students will receive both academic and transferable skills training through the Doctoral and Industry Training Academy and through our membership of the South East Physics Network (, as well as project-specific skills through project supervision. 

[1] W. F. McGrew, et al., Nature 564, 87–90 (2018)

[2] N. R. Newbury, Nature Photonics  5, 186–188(2011)

[3] P. Del’Haye, Nature 450, 1214-7 (2007)

[4] H.Bao et al., Nature Photonics  13, 384–389(2019)

Geology (18) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

• Fully-paid tuition fees for three and a half years.
• A tax-free bursary for living costs for three and a half years. From October 2021/22 this is expected to be £15609 per year.
• A support grant for three and a half years of £1,650 per year for travel and conferences.
• If you are not a UK national, nor an EU national with UK settled/pre-settled status, you will need to apply for a student study visa before admission
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