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Funded PhD Studentship: DTC PHYS 53 - Femtosecond diffractive imaging using structured light: high-intensity ultrafast laser systems to image a range of nanoscale objects

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, April 30, 2017
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Swansea University is a UK top 30 institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014), and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.

Swansea Science DTC is a community committed to undertaking world-class research that has a positive impact globally and we have a fully-funded PhD scholarship for 2017/2018 entry.

Our state-of-the-art facilities include: a low-energy positron beam with dedicated instrumentation for the study of positronium, a number of continuous-wave and pulsed laser systems, and scanning tunnelling, near-field optical and Raman microscopes. High-performance computing resources are available via clusters and dedicated supercomputers.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), over 80% of our Physics’ research outputs were judged to be worldleading or internationally excellent. Research is equally split between experimental and theoretical physics, and is funded via the UK Research Councils (STFC and EPSRC), the Royal Society, the Leverhulme Trust and the European Union.

In experimental physics, we lead the ALPHA collaboration, based at CERN, whose goal is to create, trap and manipulate anti-hydrogen. Results of the ALPHA collaboration are regularly published in Nature and featured on the BBC, CNN and other media. In 2011 the American Physical Society awarded the John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research to this group. In the Atomic, Molecular and Quantum Physics Group, we also carry out research on ultra-cold atoms, optomechanical systems, ultra-fast lasers, nanotechnology, quantum control with applications in medical imaging, as well as theoretical quantum computation and simulation.

Research in the Theoretical Particle Physics group is focused on all aspects of particle physics, from collider physics phenomenology and the Higgs boson to string theory, black holes and theoretical cosmology. The Lattice QCD group studies the strong interaction under extreme conditions and physics beyond the Standard Model, for which it has ample access to high-performance computing resources in the UK and in Europe.


Coherent pulses of extreme ultraviolet radiation with durations as short as a few femtoseconds will be generated using high-intensity ultrafast laser systems. The spatial structure of the laser pulses will be precisely controlled using an adaptive optics system recently developed by project partners at Oxford University, resulting in extreme ultraviolet radiation tailored for tabletop diffractive imaging experiments. This system will then be used to image a range of nanoscale objects, including biological material and ion-etched nanostructures, with the project allowing travel to external facilities in the UK and abroad.

Funding Notes

This is a fully-funded scholarship, open to UK/EU candidates which include an annual stipend of £14,553 plus full UK/EU tuition fees.

Applications from overseas candidates are welcome, but candidates would be required to pay the difference between the UK/EU tuition fees and the overseas tuition fees.


Candidates must have a First, Upper Second Class Honours (or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline.

Informal enquiries before the deadline are welcome by emailing the project supervisor.

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