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  , ,  Monday, June 24, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project will develop quantum light sources operating at room temperature by using nanophotonics to deliver a practical quantum technology. A class of materials called the group-III-Nitrides promises to overcome the temperature-imposed limitations of current quantum light sources. For example, Gallium Nitride (GaN) is a crystal which can emit quantum light at room temperature across a very wide range of wavelengths, either directly from ‘colour centres’[AB1]  in the crystal or by non-linear optical processes . This studentship will increase device efficiency and introduce electrical control of the emission to provide a scalable, robust route to innovate new quantum technologies. This project therefore addresses UK government priorities for advanced materials and manufacturing, representing a crucial step forward in the implementation of quantum light sources in real-life devices.

An exciting new research field has emerged to study nanostructures - with dimensions as small as 0.0000001m - capable of controlling single particles of light: photons. Information can be encoded on single photons and transmitted at the speed of light with guaranteed security, safeguarding our personal and financial data, and with important additional applications in imaging and medical sensing [see reviews]. Currently, most reported quantum light sources can only operate at the very low temperatures that are only achieved with expensive and inconvenient cryogenic coolants which is highly inconvenient for all real-world applications.

Fluorescent quantum emitters in materials such as diamond, silicon carbide and hBN have shown themselves to be highly sensitive sensors of temperature, and magnetic and electric fields in their local environment. These interactions cause changes in the quantum emitters’ transition energies, which can be monitored as an optical signal.

We are seeking a PhD student to build on our recent success working on these novel quantum devices, to pave the way for new disruptive quantum technologies. You will gain expertise in device fabrication, design and characterisation – with opportunity to determine your own research direction under the guidance of experienced supervisors and world-class collaborators. You will gain a wealth of transferrable experimental and analytical skills applicable throughout the emerging quantum technologies sector. Opportunities for public engagement will enable you to discuss your research with a wider audience, providing a framework for understanding how your research can benefit society.

We encourage applications from backgrounds that are under-represented in technology and STEMM. For more information please contact Prof Bennett at .

Research Environment. You can learn more about our group via We run well equipped labs with state-of-the-art characterisation equipment, located in the new Translational Research Hub building at Cardiff University. Devices will be fabricated in the Institute for Compound Semiconductors cleanroom which is at the heart of £300m campus upgrade. The group is fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusivity and regularly delivers outreach projects designed to widen participation in our research area.

Support of the candidate. The Q-lab group will provide an exceptional level of training and support to the candidate on a day-to-day basis in a friendly and open working environment. You will have a desk in an interdisciplinary research office with other Post-docs/PhD students. To enable integration within the research culture of the university you will attend regular group meetings and seminars. You will also part of the interdisciplinary Quantum Materials (QUMAT) cohort of students, with peer support through QUMAT training, meetings and shared resources.

About Cardiff. Cardiff is a lively and modern capital city, gaining popularity with tourists interested in its history and in Welsh culture. Cardiff has the most green space per person in a major UK city, including Bute Park at the heart of the city and 5 castles within its surroundings. The city's core population stands at roughly 345,000, with 860,000 living in the larger urban area. Cardiff University was ranked 5th amongst UK universities in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) based on quality, and is a member of the Russell Group, a group of 24 UK research intensive universities.

How to apply:

Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics and Astronomy with a start date of 1st October 2024. 

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages ( including: 

• your academic CV 

• Your degree certificates and transcripts to date including certified translations if these are not in English 

• a personal statement/covering letter 

• two references (applicants are recommended to have a third academic referee, if the two academic referees are within the same department/school). Your references can be emailed by the referee to   

Please note: We are do not contact referees directly for references for each applicant due to the volume of applications we receive.     

Candidates should hold or expect to gain a first-class degree or a good 2.1 (or their equivalent) in Engineering, Physics or a related subject. Desirable skills are knowledge of Quantum Physics, Optics, Semiconductors, Technology, Physics, Engineering.

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. IELTS 6.5 Overall with 5.5 minimum in sub-scores) (

In the "Research Proposal" section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided.

In the funding section, please select that you will not be self-funding and write that the source of funding will be EPSRC. 

Once the deadline for applications has passed, we will review your application and advise you within a few weeks if you have been shortlisted for an interview. Closing date 24th June 2024. We may however close this opportunity earlier if a suitable candidate is identified.

Eligibility :

This studentships are available to home and international students. International students will not be charged the fee difference between the UK and international rate. Applicants should satisfy the UKRI eligibility requirements.

For more information, or if there are any questions re application process, please contact Physics and Astronomy PGR Student Support team at

Computer Science (8) Engineering (12) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This EPSRC fully-funded scholarship is for 3.5 years and covers the full cost of tuition fees, a UKRI standard stipend (£19,237 for 2024/25), and additional funding for training, research and conference expenses. The scholarships are open to UK/home and international candidates.


1. Applications of single photons to quantum communication and computing, Christophe Couteau et al, Nature Reviews Physics volume 5, pages 326–338 (2023)
2. “Room Temperature Quantum Emitter in Aluminium Nitride” S. G. Bishop et al, ACS Photonics, 10.1021/acsphotonics.0c00528 (2020).
3. “Enhanced light collection from a gallium nitride color center using an index-matched solid immersion lens” S.G. Bishop et al, Appl. Phys. Lett. 120, 114001 (2022).

How good is research at Cardiff University in Physics?

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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