Current Students

Steven Anderson

My name is Steven and I am part of the Advanced lasers group in the Institute of Photonics. My research work is primarily experimentally based and focuses on the generation of squeezed light states from nonlinear-based laser resonators.


Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Hastie

Muhammad Junaid Arshad

I joined Heriot-Watt as PhD student from Lahore, Pakistan. Currently, I’m working on an adaptive quantum magnetometer with spins in diamond.


Supervisor: Dr. Cristian Bonato

Joao Barbosa

I am a PhD student in the Quantum Circuits group at the University of Glasgow (joined February 2020). My project is concerned with one of the main challenges for scalable quantum technology: how to manipulate a large number of quantum circuits (namely qubits). Using superconducting Rapid Single Flux Quantum (RSFQ) digital electronics to perform control and readout functions, the goal is to design and integrate this technology with quantum chips and demonstrate a scalable architecture for a future generation of digital superconducting quantum processors.


Supervisor: Prof. Martin Weides

Alan Bregazzi

I am currently working towards a PhD in the EQOP group at the University of Strathclyde, with a project aim of making a compact atomic clock with good long term-stability by interrogating cold atomic samples cooled using diffractive optics. I was awarded a BSc (Hons) from the University of Strathclyde in 2019.



Supervisor: Prof. Erling Riis

Ieva Cepaite

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person obsessed with the notion of information and the fundamental abstract structures of the universe is inevitably in want of a theoretical PhD. In my research, I combine Quantum Physics and theoretical Computer Science in an attempt to develop advances in Quantum algorithms as well as adapting them to run efficiently and effectively on different ‘Quantum Hardware’ based on the native Physics of each device. I am currently focused on variational methods to solve classical problems – in particular, solving different partial differential equations (PDEs) and on how to implement them on ion trap and/or Rydberg atom systems in the near term.I like music (to a frightening extent), hillwalking, debating, dancing and being wrong in a way that changes my perspective on something in the coolest way.


Supervisor: Prof. Andrew Daley 

Grant Henderson

I am based in the FOAM and CNQO groups at the University of Strathclyde, with my PhD investigating the coupled interactions of ultracold atoms and structured light. Before starting my PhD, I achieved a First-Class Honours degree in Physics (also from Strathclyde), with my bachelor’s research focused on modelling the dynamics of solitons produced within collisionally inhomogeneous Bose-Einstein condensates.

Outside of my PhD I enjoy playing Euphonium in the Strathclyde University Concert Band, exploring the glens and munros of Scotland and following Partick Thistle up and down the country (for better or worse!).


Supervisor: Dr. Alison Yao

Laura Huddleston

In October 2019, I joined the Single‑Photon Group at Heriot‑Watt University. My research focuses on designing and characterising Ge-on-Si single-photon avalanche detectors for use in quantum communications systems. Before starting my PhD, I earned my bachelor’s degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology in electrical engineering and my MSc in Photonics and Optoelectronic Devices in a joint program between the University of St Andrews and Heriot-Watt University.

During my free time, I enjoy a nice cupa tea while cooking, reading, and exploring castles.


Supervisor: Prof. Gerald Buller

Brendan Keliehor

At the University of Strathclyde I am part of the atomic clocks group of the Experimental Quantum Optics and Photonics department. My PhD research aims to assemble a compact Rubidium 2-photon atomic clock, utilising the relatively mature technology of commercial telecoms lasers at 1556nm, and recent advances in frequency combs. The likes of which may be implemented on satellites and in communications.
Time is something we all assume we can define until we are asked to describe what it is. Frequency, existing in both space and time, is a far less elusive entity to grasp and allow us to keep track of time. I am fascinated by how frequencies permeate the structure of matter around us and events in time. Therefore, I am excited to have the opportunity to learn how to make very precise frequency measurements and enable atomic clocks to make these measurements in a wider range of environments.


Supervisor: Prof. Erling Riis

Allam McWilliam

In the summer of 2019 I graduated from the University of Strathclyde. My final masters year was carried out as part of the Erasmus programme at the University of Muenster, Germany where I worked as part of the applied physics department investigating light propagation in photonic lattices fabricated through the direct laser writing technique. In October 2019 I began a PhD in atomic physics at Strathclyde in the EQOP department as part of the atomic magnetometry group where we aim to use atomic vapour cells to produce sensors capable of providing sensitive magnetic field measurements.


Supervisor: Prof. Erling Riis

Richard Murchie

Doing a PhD at Strathclyde on quantum illumination for practical LIDAR. A hiker, wild-camper, and prehistory enthusiast. Best found on the Pirnmill hills of Arran.


Supervisor: Prof. John Jeffers

Laura O’Donnell

I am currently doing a PhD within the optics group at the University of Glasgow. My project mainly focuses on optimising the detection of back-scattered light by shaping the wavefront of the incident light. The aim is to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of sensing and imaging technologies such as LIDAR, gas detection and laser microphones. Previously, during my undergrad at the University of St Andrews I worked on a laser speckle-based wavemeter and during my masters at the Georgia Institute of Technology I worked on trapping Ba-133 ions for quantum information applications.

In my free time I enjoy travelling, collecting vinyl records, and drinking both good coffee and beer.


Supervisor: Prof. Miles Padgett

Anthony Pike

Having previously worked on an atom interferometer during my final year as an undergraduate at Liverpool, I joined the EQOP group at Strathclyde in October 2019 to begin my PhD on interferometry for rotation sensing using Bose-Einstein Condensates. Atom interferometry is a fascinating and growing area of research which has many applications and my hope is to continue with such research beyond my PhD.


Supervisor: Dr. Paul Griffin

Abubakr Qaasim

Currently based at the NPL in London, my research is mainly focussed on probing the quantum states of Silicon Carbide using various techniques involving nanoelectronics. Before starting this PhD project, I was working in the semiconductor industry as a process engineer. The company mainly produced PVD systems and I would help with optimising and improving the machines to produce the highest quality thin films by analysing how changes to the hardware and process changed the characteristics of the film using a broad range of tools including Scanning Electron Microscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy, X-ray diffraction and various optical techniques. Before starting that job I studied Physics at the University of Southampton and obtained a First Class Honors Degree.


Supervisor: Dr. Alessandro Rossi

Hamish Scott

I am a PhD student as part of Heriot Watt’s Quantum Theory Team, currently working on Hong-Ou-Mandel metrology and quantum imaging. I previously obtained my master’s degree in maths and theoretical physics at St Andrews, with a project working on quantum communication and cryptography.


Supervisor: Dr. Erik Gauger

Valentino Seferai

I started my PhD in February 2019 at the University of Glasgow. My research area is on fabricating superconducting quantum circuits which is done inhouse in the James Watt Nanofabrication Center (JWNC) and testing them in our labs at room and mili-Kelvin temperatures.  My main task is on fabricating high yield, unifrom and reproducible Josephson junctions which is a key component in quantum information processing applications. I got my bachelors degree in Physics from the University of Patras and my masters degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Glasgow.

Taylor Shields

Currently based in the Ultrafast Nonlinear Optics (UNO) group at University of Glasgow. My work focusses on the generation and detection of photon pairs operating within the spectral region 2- to 2.5um which have the potential to revolutionise emerging applications in communications, sensing, and metrology.

My main areas of interest revolve around non classical states of light and quantum communications.


Supervisor: Dr. Matteo Clerici

Lara Stroh

I am currently pursuing a PhD in quantum communication at Heriot-Watt University. My background is in mathematics, having graduated from the University of Stirling in 2018 with a BSc with Honours in Mathematics and its Applications and from the Royal Holloway University of London in 2019 with an MSc with Distinction in Mathematics of Cryptography and Communications. My master’s degree and the quantum communication module I participated in for that degree set the course for my path to theoretical quantum physics.

In my spare time, I enjoy either travelling and learning about the history and culture of the places I visit or spending my time outdoors, especially fly fishing on rivers.


Supervisor: Prof. Erika Andersson

Alfonso Tello Castillo

Always interested in science, I am coming from a more engineering background rather than physics. I graduated from my Telecommunications Bachelor’s Degree in 2017, after studying one year in Czech Republic as Erasmus. After that, I finished a Telecommunication Master’s Degree in 2019. I combined my academic experience with some professional experience as well, being an intern during 6 months at an IT company and doing some research for other 6 months at one of the departments of my faculty. Last October 2019, I started a PhD on Satellite QKD, which has an industrial approach that matches my personal background.

About myself, during my spare time I like playing almost any kind of sport, although I am more into football and tennis. I also enjoy reading novels, cooking, and brewing beer when I have some time (that’s not really often).


Supervisor: Dr. Ross Donaldson

Jinwen Wang

I am currently a visiting PhD student within the Optics group at the University of Glasgow. My research is mainly focused on the interactions of atoms with structured light. I am now supported by the China Scholarship Council and will continue my PhD study in the Xi’an Jiaotong University (China) after the visiting.

In my free time I enjoy playing basketball, watching NBA, and cooking.


Supervisor: Prof. Sonja Franke-Arnold

Nils Wessling

I am a German national and came with the Erasmus program to Scotland during my undergraduate. The strong physics community in Scotland encouraged me to come back and perform my PhD in the Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde. For my bachelor thesis, I provided a optical feedback loop for aligning an interferometer unit for the european XFEL in Hamburg. During my masters, I investigated the light-matter interaction in 2D semiconductor materials with specialisation on charged excitons at the University of Münster.

Now I work on the integration of diamond nanophotonics into integrated optics with heterogenous printing approaches.


Supervisor: Dr. Michael Strain