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PhD Studentship Nanophotonic-enhanced optical technologies for imaging in biomedicine

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Saturday, November 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

About us
The VISIONLab at the University of Cambridge develops novel imaging approaches for early cancer detection and evaluation of disease prognosis. Our imaging innovations arise primarily from low cost optics and photonics technologies, applied both in cancer models and in patients. We are particularly interested in developing methods to interrogate the cancer metabolism and the tumour microenvironment. Importantly, we place emphasis on biological validation of the imaging biomarkers that we measure, connecting our non-invasive imaging signatures with the molecular processes that generate them.

Project description
Manipulation of light on the nanoscale (nanophotonics) has enabled new classes of optical component that can achieve such a feat, including plasmonic spectral/polarimetric filters and ultrathin metalenses. This multidisciplinary PhD project looks to design and create nanophotonic-enhanced optical imaging technologies to assist in early stage cancer detection. Focused on application in endoscopy, the student will fabricate bespoke nanostructured optical image sensors and tunable illumination systems then validate these novel optical systems. Initial validation will be performed ex vivo, utilizing tissue mimicking phantoms, followed by in vivo imaging in the clinic. The student will have the opportunity to work across multiple research environments and departments. The work will include a mixture of experimental and theoretical aspects, such as electromagnetic simulation and programming, cleanroom fabrication, advanced characterisation techniques and biomedical imaging.

Desirable qualifications and skills
A background in optics/photonics, micro/nanofabrication (cleanroom processing) and experience with programming (MATLAB, Python etc.) would be highly advantageous. The candidate must have (or expect to obtain) a 1st or 2:1 honours degree (Masters pass) in physics, engineering, or related subject. Candidates with previous related industrial experience and a strong interest in the project will also be considered. We strongly value a candidate with the desire to learn, create and innovate.

The successful candidate will have a strong interest in imaging, nanofabrication and experimental work. They should: enjoy working at the interface between different disciplines; be keen to take the initiative with independent creativity and problem solving; and exhibit strong motivation toward the project. In addition, they will require: demonstrably excellent oral and written communication skills; strong team working skills; and a significant critical thinking capability. Examples of any past experience that demonstrates these characteristics should be highlighted in the cover letter that accompanies any application. We expect the candidate will develop into an independent experimental researcher and will present their work in academic journals, at conferences.

Further information

More information about the VISIONLab can be found on our website ( The PhD programme associated with this studentship would start in October 2020. The funds for this post is available for 3.5 years in the first instance. The student must complete the programme in 42 months. This funded PhD project will be based in the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge. Funding is available at standard EPSRC studentship rates.
Funding is restricted to home/EU nationals and eligible to live and work in UK. Overseas but exceptional candidates are encouraged to contact Dr Sarah Bohndiek to discuss funding opportunities.
Requests for more information about the project or questions related to candidate experience or suitability prior to applying should be made by emailing Dr Sarah Bohndiek () with the subject line “Nanophotonic PhD 2020” before the application to the University is complete.

Deadline. November 30, 2019
Please note that if you wish to be considered for other University of Cambridge funding competitions then you must submit your application form by the following deadlines to be considered:

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will be expected to meet the graduate admissions entrance requirements of the University of Cambridge and formally apply for admission at View Website


When submitting an application to the University, please also send your CV and a cover letter as attachments to Dr Sarah Bohndiek at [email protected] Your CV should include the names and contact details of two academic referees who have agreed to act on your behalf. Your cover letter should highlight your relevant abilities and experience, explain why you are suitable for the role, and how you learned of the studentship.

How good is research at University of Cambridge in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 153.30

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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