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Experimental PhD project in quantum digital signatures and quantum amplifiers

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  • Full or part time
    Prof G Buller
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The Quantum Communications Hub is a partnership of eight universities and numerous private sector companies (www.quantumcommshub.net) that have formed a collaboration with overall aim of developing a range of new, secure, quantum communications technologies. A PhD studentship, supported by EPSRC funding through Heriot-Watt University, is available to work on advanced quantum communications as part of The Quantum Communications Hub , while being based at Heriot-Watt’s campus in Edinburgh.

The student will work on Heriot-Watt’s quantum communications experimental group, led by Professor Gerald Buller (www.single-photon.com). The PhD will involve experiments on quantum digital signatures, a new quantum communications protocol pioneered by Heriot-Watt in recent years. The group has conducted quantum digital signature experiments over significant lengths of optical fibre in both laboratory and installed settings and is now examining the possibility of applications using satellite communication systems. Consequently, some knowledge of free-space and/or optical fibre photonics would be beneficial.

There are also opportunities to conduct additional work in related areas, such as coherent state amplifiers and 100 GHz optical code scrambling seeded using quantum encryption keys. The student will be involved in a wide range of research activities associated with The Quantum Communications Hub and gain invaluable experience and training in the fast-growing area of highly secure communications. The work will be primarily experimental, including operation of both the data-handling and quantum-optical aspects of major trials and demonstrations.

The student will join an existing team, who have excellent links with other major Universities in the field, such as Bristol and Strathclyde, as well as the other Hub partners, such as Toshiba and The National Physical Laboratory, and major international research institutions, such as the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). A willingness and ability to travel globally would be an advantage.

Initial expertise in quantum information is not essential for the role, although an interest in it would be beneficial. A general understanding of photonics is more important, coupled with an enthusiasm for experimental work. Some software-writing skills would be beneficial – C/C++, MatLab, LabVIEW and/or Python are preferred but adaptable candidates with aptitude in other languages will also have an advantage. A good degree in physics or a related engineering discipline is essential.

Funding Notes

Eligibility: UK and EU students. View Website

Funding: 3.5 years tuition fees plus stipend (£14,553 for 2017/18) for UK resident students. Students from EU countries other than the UK are generally eligible for a fees-only award. Academic entry requirements: at least a class 2:1 MSc or MPhys degree in Physics or Electronic Engineering.


This PhD project, funded by EPSRC, is available up to an October 2017 start. Please contact Professor Gerald Buller for more information ([email protected])

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