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Quantum Information Processing with Complex Scattering Media

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 08, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Control over the scattering process inside multi-mode fibers will be used for designing quantum logic gates and multi-port beam splitters for generating and manipulating high-dimensional quantum states of light.

When a beam of light impinges on a layer of paint or a sugar cube, it undergoes millions of reflections and transformations. In recent years, advances in technology for shaping the wavefront of light, combined with fast computational algorithms have resulted in unprecedented control over how classical light propagates through such disordered media, with remarkable feats such as imaging through an opaque material [1]. On the other hand, the rapidly advancing field of quantum photonics relies on the careful manipulation of delicate quantum states of light using optical elements such as beam splitters and mirrors, which often run into problems of scalability and stability [2]. Complex scattering media offer the potential to overcome these problems by serving as miniature “quantum optics laboratories" for generating, manipulating, and transporting large, complex quantum states of light.

In this project, you will realise such miniature quantum laboratories by studying the evolution of high-dimensional quantum states of light through the simplest multiple-scattering medium: a multi-mode fibre (MMF). You will develop techniques for controlling the propagation of spatial-mode entanglement through MMFs, and apply them for developing high-capacity quantum communication systems and high-dimensional quantum logic gates for photonic qudits. In addition, you will explore the use of scattering media as multi-mode, linear optical networks for generating and manipulating high-dimensional, multi-photon entanglement.

You will be based in the Beyond Binary Quantum Information (BBQ) Lab at Heriot-Watt University. Led by Dr. Mehul Malik, the BBQ Lab consists of a small, vibrant team of researchers working at the forefront of the quantum technological revolution. You will conduct your research in the brand new photonics laboratory facilities of the BBQ Lab, which is funded by generous grants from the UK EPSRC and the European Commission (QuantERA). The BBQ Lab has significant links to leadings group in the EU/North America, and benefits from substantial resources available through Heriot-Watt’s membership in the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

During this project, you will develop significant expertise in theoretical and experimental quantum information science, with specific skills in programming, experimental quantum photonics, and entanglement theory. Throughout the project, you will have the opportunity to develop your communication skills through international/UK collaborative projects, publication of peer-reviewed papers, and attendance at international conferences. A willingness and ability to travel globally would be an advantage.

The ideal candidate should have a good understanding of quantum physics and photonics, as well as enthusiasm for experimental work. This research project would ideally suit a candidate with a background in one of the following disciplines: Physics, Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, Natural Sciences, although we are open to any enthusiastic applicant with a science-related background. A top class degree/high grades in your field of study are essential.


All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng or equivalent degree by Autumn 2019. Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype). DTP’s are only open to UK/EU applicants. DTP Studentships are only available for students who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC.
JWS Scholarships are also open to exceptional overseas candidates.

Closing Date

All applications must be received by 8th February 2019. All successful candidates must commence studies by 1st December 2019 at the very latest.

How to Apply

Apply Online:
When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:

(a) in ‘Study Option’
You will need to select ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Postgraduate Research’. ‘Programme’ presents you with a drop-down menu. Choose Bio-Engineering & Bio-Science PhD, Chemistry PhD, Physics PhD, Chemical Engineering PhD, Mechanical Engineering PhD or Electrical PhD as appropriate and select October 2019 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)
(b) in ‘Research Project Information’
You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project. Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the supervisor’s name.

This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.

Please note that once you have submitted your application, it will not be considered until you have uploaded your CV and transcripts.

Funding Notes

The annual stipend will be approx. £14,777 and full fees will be paid, for 3.5 years.


[1] Mosk et al, Nature Photonics 6, 283-292 (2012), article link
[2] Malik et al, Nature Photonics 10, 248-252 (2016), arXiv link

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