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Vibrational Control of Spin-Orbit Coupling

About This PhD Project

Project Description

The ability to optically control the spin of a molecular excited state would have important applications in fields ranging from biomedical imaging to spintronics and quantum computing. To date it has not been possible to optically control spin in molecular systems. However, the demonstration of vibronically-induced spin-orbit coupling opens up this exciting possibility.

The aim of this project is to demonstrate and develop design rules for optical spin control in a range of molecular semiconductors using vibronically-induced spin-orbit coupling.

To this end, you will begin by characterising the process of vibronic spin-orbit coupling in a range of molecules using sub-picosecond transient electronic and vibrational spectroscopy at Sheffield’s recently opened ‘Lord Porter Laser Facility’. To complement the experiments, you will also perform calculations using cutting-edge theoretical methods. Having characterized the process, you will explore the possibility of using vibrational excitation to switch on or off intersystem crossing. The final goal is that of creating samples with optically-controlled triplet formation that will be tested for use as quantum memory or for biomedical imaging.

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 to learn more.

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