This PhD project is focussed on exploring a new regime of nonlinear optics driven by intense laser pulses in the vacuum ultraviolet (100 nm to 200 nm). The vast majority of ultrafast nonlinear optics experiments performed so far make use of infrared or visible optical pulses, where high power laser systems operate. This PhD project, in contrast, will make use of one of the world’s brightest sources of vacuum ultraviolet laser pulses, developed in house. Over the past 5 years this source has been designed, constructed and characterised. The next step is to apply this source to explore novel strong-field phenomena in gases and plasmas when pumped in the ultraviolet, for the first time.
You will be deeply involved with the design, construction and operation of this light source and the application experiments. This project will be primarily experimental with a significant numerical modelling component. You will learn skills experience ranging from tuning and operating high-power laser systems, CAD design, construction and operation of vacuum systems and instrumentation, through to fundamental studies of the nonlinear dynamics of guided waves, and the interaction of intense laser pulses with gases and plasmas.
This project is very well funded from the European Research Council, and will make use of state-of-the-art laser systems and equipment.
You will be hosted within Prof. John Travers group at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh: the laboratory of ultrafast physics and optics (LUPO). The broad goals of the group are to use nonlinear optics to create new light sources with tailored, and extreme, spectral and temporal properties. Examples include: the generation of high energy single-cycle pulses in both the ultraviolet (especially the vacuum region), and the mid-infrared; new techniques for broadband white-light supercontinuum generation; the production of ultrafast electric field waveforms called optical attosecond pulses (pulses shorter than one million billionth of a second in the visible and ultraviolet); and the design and construction of high-energy few-cycle ultrafast fibre lasers.
We use these light sources for both fundamental science (such as the physics of nonlinear optics, ultrafast light-gas interactions, new ways of driving strong-field physics, advanced spectroscopy), and for applications in healthcare, advanced manufacturing and the semiconductor industry.
Please see https://lupo-lab.com and contact Prof. John Travers ([Email Address Removed]) for further details.
How to Apply
1. Important Information before you Apply
When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:
(a) in ‘Study Option’
You will need to select ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Postgraduate Research’. ‘Programme’ presents you with a drop-down menu. Choose Chemistry PhD, Physics PhD, Chemical Engineering PhD, Mechanical Engineering PhD, Bio-science & Bio-Engineering PhD or Electrical PhD as appropriate and select September 2022 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)
(b) in ‘Research Project Information’
You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project. Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the potential supervisor’s name.
This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.
Please note that once you have submitted your application, it will not be considered until you have uploaded your CV and transcripts.