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  Prof Niels Kjaergaard, Dr Amita Deb  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project will develop a single-photon source emitting directed photons on demand – the holy grail for quantum communications. A dipole-allowed microwave transition of a single Rydberg atom will be coupled to a similar transition in a separate quantum degenerate ensemble [1] via dipole-dipole interactions, thus converting a single atomic excitation to a collective excitation (spin-wave). This can then be read-out in the forward direction with a control field, when desired. Our target implementation uses K-40 and Rb-87, to generate photons in the 1.5 um. The project will also consider the advantage of using K-40 in a quantum degenerate state, characterized by Pauli Blocking [2]. Successful applicants will provide a motivated application and demonstrate a track record of excellence.

The wider context

The Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies is a national Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE)and a world-class organisation which builds on Aotearoa-New Zealand’s (NZ) internationally acknowledged strength in the fields of quantum optics, photonics, ultracold atomic gases, and precision atomic physics. Photonics, the manipulation of the quantum building blocks of light, and the precision control of matter at the atomic scale through the use of light, underpin technological development in areas such as computing, advanced sensing technologies and medical imaging, and communication.

The Dodd-Walls Centre, hosted by the University of Otago, involves six universities in NZ. Your PhD project while based at one institution will allow you to collaborate with researchers from across the Centre. More information about our Research Centre can be found here:

The Dodd-Walls Centre mission

• To solidify our position as a Research Centre that is recognised as one of the world’s leading organisations in the field of photonic and quantum technologies,

• To train and develop skilled staff and students to the highest international standards,

• To capitalise upon the international investment in quantum and optical sciences for the benefit of New Zealand,

• To support the rapidly growing high-tech industry sector, thus ensuring New Zealand’s economic diversification and providing career pathways for the outstanding people that we train,

• To provide support for New Zealand’s climate action through improved environmental measurement and monitoring, and,

• To ensure that the benefits of advances in science and technology, especially in photonics and quantum technologies, are available to all.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must meet Otago University entry requirements for admission to a PhD. Award of the scholarship is conditional on the university accepting your enrolment. The successful applicant will be guided through the process of formally applying for admission.

This is an interdisciplinary project so applicants from a wide range of academic backgrounds will be considered. Applications should have strong undergraduate knowledge in some of these areas:

  •  Successful applicants will provide a motivated application and demonstrate a track record of excellence.

This project is based in Dunedin, New Zealand and is available for immediate start.

How to apply

To express your interest in this scholarship and PhD research opportunity, please prepare the following items:

  • A brief CV including qualifications, academic achievements, list of publications, work history, and references.
  • A copy of your academic transcript(s).

Please submit your application via email to the main supervisors of this project Niels Kjӕrgaard ([Email Address Removed]) or Amita Deb ([Email Address Removed]) who will guide you through the scholarship application process.

Physics (29)

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will receive a PhD scholarship of NZ$28,500 stipend per annum plus fees. The stipend is for three years. The scholarship is tax-free.
We also provide funding to support research, including for travel to visit collaborators and attend conferences.


[1] Strong zero-field Forster resonances in K-Rb Rydberg systems, J.S. Otto, N. Kjærgaard, & A.B. Deb Physical Review Research 2 033474 (2020)
[2] Observation of Pauli blocking in light scattering from quantum degenerate fermions, Amita B. Deb & Niels Kjærgaard, Science 374, 972 (2021)
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