The isolation of single-atomic layer graphene has led to a surge of interest in a large family of layered crystals with strong in-plane bonds and weak van der Waals interlayer coupling. Properties of such quantum materials in a few-atomic-layer form are strongly influenced by the quantum confinement of the electronic excitations due to the extreme crystal thinness. Heterostructures made by stacking different atomically thin 2D crystals provide a platform for creating new artificial materials with potential for discoveries and applications. In this PhD project you will work on advancing fabrication technology to explore the potential of van der Waals heterostructures in a distinct branch of photonics called polaritonics, where we focus on studies of the strong light-matter interaction in 2D materials embedded in microcavities and coupled to various photonic structures. New states of the matter, exciton-polaritons emerge in these structures, which provide a particularly rich phenomenology in atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), as we have shown in our recent papers in Nature Photonic (https://www.nature.com/articles/nphoton.2017.125) and Nature Communications (https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms9579, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07249-z). Further unexplored strong-coupling phenomena will be studied in this project opening unprecedented possibilities to explore new physics and device applications.
You will join an energetic team of 4 PhD students and 3 postdocs. You will work on novel device fabrication in the modern clean room, and will carry out a large number of optical experiments in the state-of-the-art laboratories of the Sheffield group. You will further collaborate with leading groups around the world on physics and technology of 2D materials and nano-photonics. We work closely with the leading groups in many related research fields, including 2D materials (National Graphene Institute, Manchester), nano-photonics and materials (Imperial College London), and optical spectroscopy (Technical University Dortmund) and many others, and visits to their experimental facilities will be possible and encouraged. See further details at http://ldsd.group.shef.ac.uk/research/2d-materials/
Science Graduate School: As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School – a community of postgraduate researchers working across biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and psychology. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/sgs to learn more.