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About the Project

A fully tunable and efficient source of THz radiation is required for a large number of security and medical applications. This project will involve the design, fabrication and characterisation of such a source, based on the non-linear optical process of difference frequency generation in an integrated semiconductor laser structure.
The PhD will push the boundaries of quantum dot active region design for lasing and non-linear optics, optical coupling design to maximise tunability and introduce new concepts and fabrication strategies for compound semiconductors coupled to Si, which is practically dispersionless in the THz.
The project will be underpinned by a good understanding of optical and semiconductor
physics and will lead to the further understanding of the physics of light-matter
interactions, ultrafast laser physics and characterisation techniques. This is an opportunity to exploit and develop desirable skills in experimental physics and in semiconductor device fabrication. The project background, and the materials and device development which form the core of the programme also has strong relevance to a number of other highly topical areas.

The student will integrate with the EPSRC funded Future Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing Hub (CS Hub) research team and the Astronomy Instrumentation Group (AIG), comprising post-doctoral research associates, technicians and senior staff at Cardiff University, as well as making use of Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) facilities.

The project will follow a flexible timeline with completion feasible within 4 years (including 0.5 year contingency with the first year including a literature study and the development of suitable experimental and computational skills. The remainder of the PhD will include device development, device demonstrations and assessment and completion of the thesis. The student will integrate with the CS Hub research team comprising post-doctoral research associates, technicians and senior staff at Cardiff University, and utilise Institute for Compound Semiconductors (ICS) facilities.
Candidates should have a strong background and interest in Optics/Photonics and Semiconductor Physics

Start date: January 2021. 4 years Full Time.

How to Apply:

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages ( including:

• an upload of your CV
• a personal statement/covering letter
• two references
• Current academic transcripts

Applicants should select Doctor of Philosophy, with a start date of January 2021

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select the ’self -funding’ option.

Candidates should hold a good bachelor’s degree (first or upper second-class honours degree) or a MSc degree in Physics or a related subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent).

Funding Notes

Self-Funded PhD Students Only

This PhD position is opening for self-funded student only, which means the candidate with own funding to cover the living cost and tuition fees will be considered.


(1) P. Finch, P. Blood, P.M. Smowton, A. Sobiesierski, R.M. Gwilliam, I. O'Driscoll. “Femtosecond pulse generation in passively mode locked InAs quantum dot lasers”, Applied Physics Letters, 103(13), 131109, DOI: 10.1063/1.4822433 (2013)
(2) S. Shutts, P.M. Smowton, A.B. Krysa. “Dual-wavelength InP quantum dot lasers”, Applied Physics Letters, 104, 241106; (2014)
(3) Chen, W. Li, J. Wu, Q. Jiang, M. Tang, S. Shutts, S.N. Elliott, A. Sobiesierski, A. Seeds, I. Ross, P.M. Smowton, H. Liu, “Electrically pumped continuous-wave III–V quantum dot lasers on silicon.” Nature Photonics 10, pp. 307-311. (2016) (10.1038/nphoton.2016.21)

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