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Quantum Technologies: THz imaging using Rydberg Atoms.

Project Description

Terahertz (THz) technologies, generally defined as operating in the 0.1-10 THz range, bridge the gap between electronic and photonic devices. Because THz radiation passes readily through materials such as plastics, paper and cloth it can be employed in non-destructive testing. Because terahertz waves are non-ionising they is considered safe for security and biomedical applications. There is significant demand for high speed THz imaging across a range of applications but, despite ongoing efforts, fast full-field imaging remains an unfulfilled goal using conventional technologies.

Recently in Durham we have demonstrated a THz imaging system based upon efficient THz-to-optical conversion in atomic vapour, where full-field images can be collected at ultra-high speeds using conventional optical camera technology [1-3]. These Atom-based THz detectors have already been demonstrated to be faster and more sensitive than other room temperature THz sensors by orders of magnitude. This Ph.D. project will develop this technique further and apply it to fields as diverse as biomedical imaging and production-line quality control. This project is co-sponsored by industry partners (M Squared lasers).

The successful applicant will join a team within the Quantum, Light and Matter group at Durham ( During the Ph. D. the student will receive training in general skills through the QLM graduate course ( as well as project-specific skills E.g. use of frequency-stabilised lasers, image acquisition and analysis, computer control of equipment in the laboratory.

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) at least an upper second class integrated masters or a first class bachelor’s degree in Physics or a related subject.

Essential Background: A strong background in physics including experience of: quantum mechanics, atomic structure and optics.

Please submit applications electronically via the Durham University website:

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Kevin Weatherill ([email protected]). General enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Admissions Team ().

Funding Notes

This project is co-funded by the EPSRC Doctoral Training grant and M squared Lasers. Full fees and stipend for home students only.


“Ultra-high-speed Terahertz Imaging Using Atomic Vapour”
L. Downes, A. MacKellar, D. Whiting, C. Bourgenot, C. S. Adams and K. J. Weatherill
arXiv:1903.01308 (2019)

“Terahertz-driven phase transition applied as a room-temperature terahertz detector”
C. G. Wade, M. Marcuzzi, E. Levi, J. M. Kondo, I. Lesanovsky, C. S. Adams and K. J. Weatherill
Nature Communications, 9, 3567 (2018)

“Real-time near-field terahertz imaging with atomic optical fluorescence”
C. G. Wade, N. Sibalic, N. R. De Melo, J. M. Kondo, C. S. Adams and K. J. Weatherill
Nature Photonics, 11, 40

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