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  Stackable Nanophotonic Metamaterials for Imaging (ENG 1478)

   Faculty of Engineering

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  Dr Mitchell Kenney  Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham is seeking an enthusiastic, self-motivated student who enjoys working as part of a team to undertake a PhD in the Optics and Photonics Research Group (OPG), supervised by Dr. Mitchell Kenney alongside collaborators in OPG


 The advent of the smart-phone has undoubtedly revolutionised portable imaging systems, but the need for smarter imaging capability grows with increased healthcare end-user and accessibility demands. Optical systems are usually large and convoluted, consisting of multiple components; components that still rely on centuries-old moulding technology of glass (refractive optics), which are bulky and have limited functionality. Efforts towards replacing optical components using thin optics (graded-index lenses, diffraction gratings) achieved many successes, but still lack functionality and require multiple fabrication steps.

Metasurfaces – the 2D form of metamaterials – are artificial materials that use digitally-arranged nanometre-sized optical structures for intelligent manipulation of light. They require only simplistic (microelectronics-compatible) fabrication processes, and have the potential to replace previous optical components, with enhanced functionalities capable of gathering extra optical information. 

The proposed project is to utilise the increased functionality and microfabrication approach of metasurfaces [1,2] to develop complementary and stackable centimetre-scale devices termed “Metasurface Toolkits” (MSTs), which builds on Dr Kenney's previous cutting-edge research on large-area meta-lenses [3]. These MSTs will revolutionise complex imaging and sensing techniques and systems in a compact and affordable way. These systems are applicable to all sectors which require compact imaging specifications, including fibre-optic endoscopy and front-end photonic technology for optical-communications. 

The student will gain experience and skills in a range of nanofabrication, computational modelling, metamaterial design, and optical setup construction. They will make use of commercial simulation software to test electromagnetic designs, algorithmic coding to design metamaterials, fabrication techniques to produce these, and then determine their imaging performance in bespoke optical systems in the visible light range. 

Applicants should have, or be expected to gain, a high (1st or 2:1) honours degree in Physics or Electrical and Electronic Engineering and be a UK or home student. 

The applications process is carried out through the following link, where information about this project and Dr Kenney should be listed as a supervisor after making an account:

Engineering (12) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

The studentship covers tuition fees and stipend for 3 years.


[1] L. Huang, S. Zhang, T. Zentgraf, "Metasurface holography: from fundamentals to applications," Nanophotonics 7, 1169 (2018).
[2] X. Zou, G. Zheng, Q. Yuan, W. Zang, R. Chen, T. Li, L. Li, S. Wang, Z. Wang, S. Zhu, "Imaging Based on Metalenses," PhotoniX 1 (2020).
[3] M. Kenney, J. Grant, D. Hao, K. Docherty, G. Mills, G. Jeffrey, D. Macleod, D. Henry, P. MacKay, M. Sorel, R. Lamb, and D. Cumming, "Large area metasurface lenses in the NIR region," in Modeling Aspects in Optical Metrology VII, SPIE (June 2019).
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