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Terahertz microscopy of two-dimensional materials

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  • Full or part time
    Dr P Dean
    Dr J Freeman
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The terahertz frequency range sits between the microwave and mid-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, but has long resisted exploitation owing to difficulties in fabricating convenient sources and detectors; terahertz radiation is too high in frequency to be generated by the electronic techniques used in mobile telephones, but too low in frequency to be produced by the optical techniques exploited in, for example, CD player lasers.

However, the last twenty years have witnessed a remarkable growth in the field owing to the development of innovative sources, detectors, and imaging systems—and in particular, the quantum cascade laser, which is a compact semiconductor source of high-power terahertz waves. These developments have enabled a wide range of imaging and spectroscopy studies in which the selective absorption or transmission of terahertz radiation has provided unique and fundamental information about the physical and chemical properties of materials in this relatively unexplored region of the spectrum. Recent commercial application of terahertz instrumentation is now finding application in the pharmaceutical and automotive industries, and in high-resolution fault isolation in semiconductor devices and 3D imaging of integrated circuits, inter alia.
New imaging approaches developed at the University of Leeds, in conjunction with technological advances in quantum cascade laser technology, have recently enabled these high power terahertz lasers to be used for microscopic imaging for the first time.  This opens up enormous potential for investigating a range of fascinating systems including nanoparticles, nanocrystals, and mesoscopic systems with nanoscale resolution.

This PhD project will build on these recent technological advancements to explore physical phenomena in a range of condensed matter systems at terahertz frequencies and with nanometer resolution.  Systems to investigate include two-dimensional materials (crystalline materials consisting of a single layer of atoms) such as graphene and topological insulators; micro-scale resonators supporting surface plasmon waves; and quantum dots.

This studentship will involve training in fabrication techniques for the processing of samples in the School’s class 100 nanotechnology cleanroom, as well as the use of experimental techniques in laser physics, optics and electronics to study these samples using terahertz microscopy.  It is suitable for a motivated student with a good degree in physics, electronic/electrical engineering, or a related discipline. The successful candidate will work as part of an experienced and vibrant research team in the field of THz science and technology.

Funding Notes

UK/EU – Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council Studentships paying academic fees of £4,600 for Session 2020/21, together with a maintenance grant of £15,285 for Session 2020/21 paid at standard Research Council rates for 3.5 years. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course. Funding is awarded on a competitive basis.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Metallurgy and Materials?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 20.00

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