Industrial PhD opportunities

PhD studentships (3½ years) are available for postgraduate work in an industrial environment. You will be working at a partner company’s premises under the supervision of company staff. In parallel, you will be following the required courses of the International Graduate School for Quantum Technologies and will have a University supervisor.  

UK/France PhD position on “Quantum sensing of 2D magnetism”

Industrial partner: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)

We have an exciting opportunity for a PhD student (UK and French nationals only) to join a collaborative project between Heriot-Watt University and Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. As part of the project, the student will spend 9 months in the group of Prof Jean Francois Roch in Paris.
The goal of the PhD project is to probe, for the first time, non-trivial magnetic ground states and excitations in novel quantum materials based on twisted bilayer structures. These structures, consisting of two atomic mono-layers with tuned relative angle between the crystal lattices, enable a tunable modulation of the interlayer coupling that enables engineering the magnetic behaviour. Magnetic maps of the heterostructure will be obtained at Heriot-Watt University by scanning quantum diamond magnetometry, a quantum sensing technique that can detect magnetic fields with nanoscale spatial resolution (<50nm) by exploiting single electronic spins associated to optically-active point defects in diamond. At ENS Paris-Saclay, the heterostructure will be integrated in a diamond anvil cell so as to tune the electronic interactions using pressure as a dual control parameter. The magnetic response will be detected using wide-field quantum diamond magnetometry based on electronic spins engineered in the diamond anvil in contact with the stack of layers.
The scientific output of this project will inform the design of novel spintronic devices based on quantum correlated effects in novel designer heterostructures.
By working on this project, the student will acquire skills in scanning probe microscopy, materials science, quantum technology, spin control, photonics, fast electronics, coding. It is a great opportunity to apply a well-established quantum technique to search for novel physics, combining state-of-the-art experimental work with deep questions in fundamental condensed matter physics. For more information, please visit our website ( and get in touch with Dr Cristian Bonato ( or Prof Brian Gerardot (

Quantum sensing of 2D magnetism (Heriot-Watt)

Vapour cells for spectroscopy

Industrial partner: Emerson (Cascade Technologies), Stirling

Vapour cells are used in spectroscopic instruments and gas analysers for validation or calibration and for stabilisation. Cascade Technologies has an interest in all of these methods and is particularly interested in developing inexpensive vapour cells for gases with spectral features in the NIR and MIR wavelength regions. The Experimental Quantum Optics & Photonics Group at Strathclyde University have built up expertise in a process known as anodic bonding which has great potential for inexpensive, scalable manufacturing of spectroscopic vapour cells. The student will develop an understanding of state of the art manufacturing and assembly methods for anodic bonding, and will undertake research into extending current methods into those areas most relevant to the company’s needs. The student will be part of a multidiscipline team working on the development of some of the most advanced gas analysers in the world.

For more details please contact Prof. Erling Riis:

Further information:

Vapour cells for spectroscopy (University of Strathclyde)

Engineering technologies for scalable quantum computing

Industrial partner: M Squared lasers, Glasgow

Quantum computation offers a revolutionary approach to information processing, providing a route to efficiently solve classically hard problems such as factorisation and optimisation as well as unlocking new applications in material science and quantum chemistry. This project will advance critical hardware components for atomic quantum computing platforms at the interface of academia and industry, focusing on the development of advanced low-noise laser systems for high-fidelity state preparation, qubit control and readout alongside engineering routes to enable future scaling from 100s to 1000s of qubits.

The M Squared Lasers flagship product SolsTiS, a solid-state laser that is class-leading in multiple sectors but significantly, has been adopted as the photonics backbone of choice for many quantum technologies covering frontier research to commercially deployed quantum computers. This source is one of the most crucial underpinning technologies enabling the scaling of the atomic quantum computer hardware to the point where it will be able to solve problems not accessible even on the largest available conventional supercomputers.

For more details please contact Dr. Jonathan Pritchard: 

Further information:  

Engineering technologies for scalable quantum computing (University of Strathclyde)

Quantum Devices based on silicon carbide transistors

Industrial partner: National Physical Laboratory, Teddington

Unbreakable cryptography, teleportation of information and ultra-fast computing will soon cease to be figments of science fiction literature. These are now considered imminent realities enabled by the upbringing of quantum technologies [1]. Devices that exploit the laws of quantum physics are developing quickly and many materials are presently under scrutiny to build the future quantum hardware [2-3]. This project will investigate quantum effects in silicon carbide (SiC), a wide-bandgap compound semiconductor made of silicon and carbon. The aim of the studentship will be the development of device and testing technologies to electrically probe quantum defects in the semiconductor crystal [4-5]. A central aspect will be the prototyping of novel single-charge and single-spin electronics useful for quantum computing and quantum sensing. This project also aims at enabling large integration and scalability of SiC quantum devices, unlocking their commercial viability. The research activities will balance device design and modelling, hands-on cleanroom fabrication, as well as electrical measurements at cryogenic temperatures. The student will be involved in making and characterising devices that span from metal-oxide-semiconductor nano-capacitors to LEDs and field-effect transistors. This is an exciting opportunity to develop technical skills of relevance to both the academic job market and the nascent quantum technology industry. This iCASE studentship will provide the student with industrial exposure through hands-on activities at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and other corporate partners, such as Hitachi and British Telecom. [1] The European Quantum Flagship [2] T.D. Ladd et al. Nature 464, 45 (2010) [3] D.D. Awschalom et al. Science 339, 1174 (2013) [4] A. Lohrmann et al. Rep. Prog. Phys. 80, 034502 (2017) [5] M. Atature et al. Nature Reviews Materials 3, 38 (2018)
Responsibilities include:
• Design and fabricate quantum devices in a cleanroom environment.
• Perform low-temperature experiments and device characterisation.
• Analyse and model experimental data with appropriate software (e.g. Matlab, Python etc.).
• Prepare manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals.
• Travel domestically across collaborating institutions to carry out part of the project’s activities.
This project is part of a long-standing collaboration between the Quantum Technology Department at NPL (London) and the Physics Department at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow). The student is expected to carry out most of the research activities at NPL (~90%) where he/she will join the Quantum Electrical Metrology Group. The successful candidate will be also part of a cohort of highly selected students at the Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science, a multi-disciplinary national centre for research training and skills development in metrology and its applications. Extended stays at Strathclyde (~10%) will be encouraged throughout the project’s lifespan. Funding for travel expenses between Glasgow and London is readily available.
This is a fully funded 4-year EPSRC iCASE studentship. Stipend top-up above the UKRI minimum. Additional funds will be available for travel costs and training.
How to apply:
For informal inquiries and/or applications, please contact directly Dr Alessandro Rossi (
Application documents need to include a CV, University transcripts, and 1-page statement of interest.

Quantum Devices based on silicon carbide transistors (University of Strathclyde)

SI-Traceable Thermometry

Industrial partner: National Physical Laboratory, Teddington

You will be part of a new research area for the UK, namely making absolute and traceable measurements of temperature using optical measurements of the Doppler broadening of an atomic transition. The aim is to scale to practical (~mm sized) sensors using miniature optical cells filled with appropriate atomic/molecular species.

— Contact: Aidan Arnold Griffin Erling Riis, University of Strathclyde –

SI-Traceable Thermometry (University of Strathclyde)

Optical Frequency Metrology

Industrial partner: National Physical Laboratory, Teddington

The project aims develop the scientific base and expertise necessary to establish new remote optical frequency metrology capability, e.g. linking Scotland to the national frequency standards at NPL. Initially you will work on NPL’s research programme towards a future redefinition of the SI second, participating in clock comparisons campaigns involving state-of-the-art optical atomic clocks.

— Contact: Aidan Arnold Griffin Erling Riis, University of Strathclyde –

Optical Frequency Metrology (University of Strathclyde)

Quantum Information with Trapped Ions

Industrial partner: National Physical Laboratory, Teddington

Microfabricated ion traps will be essential components in a range of quantum-enabled devices during the coming years such as atomic clocks and sensors, for use in precision positioning, navigation and timing. The studentship will focus on coherent control and quantum entanglement of ions in chip-scale microtraps.

— Contact: Aidan Arnold Griffin Erling Riis, University of Strathclyde –

Quantum Information with Trapped Ions (University of Strathclyde)

Compact Laser Systems for Quantum Technology

Industrial partner: Alter Technology, Livingstone

As part of Alter UK’s Photonics Design Centre based on the Strathclyde Campus projects are available to develop lasers with integrated frequency and amplitude control. Focus will be on technical assessment of requirements and integration of internal atomic reference in order to realise robust, miniaturised devices for use in e.g. quantum- enabled position, navigation and timing systems.

Contact: Aidan Arnold Griffin Erling Riis, University of Strathclyde –

Compact Laser Systems for Quantum Technology (University of Strathclyde)

Development of compact remote gas detection devices using chip-scale deep ultra-violet light-emitting diodes and single photon detectors

Industrial partner: Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd

The detection of hazardous (toxic / explosive) or environmentally damaging substances and gases is an extremely important endeavour. Stand-off methodologies – where the composition of the atmosphere can be measured over substantial range – have become a very important technology in fields as diverse as manufacturing, homeland security and the nuclear industry.

Raman spectroscopy is a very potent tool for molecular identification. In this technique, the spectral analysis of the light scattered by the substance or gas of interest gives great insight into its molecular composition. The weakness of this scatter, however, makes Raman measurements at range extremely challenging. In this project, we will take advantage of two recent advances in opto-electronic instrumentation and quantum technologies which has the potential to confer enormous improvement in generated Raman signal and its detection; hence enabling operation at considerably greater range.

Using short-wave excitation provokes exponentially stronger Raman scatter, and so we will explore and exploit the availability of deep ultra-violet light sources based upon laser and – in particular – LED technology. The recent availability of LED light sources is particularly interesting in the context of realising compact, lower cost and man-portable systems for front-line deployment. With recent advances in nitride-semiconductors, there is now an excellent opportunity to translate this ultra-compact technology into the deep UV wavelengths.

The second innovation exploits state of the art, UV-optimised single-photon avalanche detectors (SPADs). These exquisitely sensitive detectors – down to the single photon level – will maximise the detection potential of the valuable Raman scatter once produced.

The project will require the development of experimental systems based upon these technologies, along with optical design for wavelength-selective instrumentation, electronics for single-photon counting and embedded computer control. Once the physical principles have been validated in the laboratory, there is a strong desire to then refine the technology into concept demonstrators for evaluation and deployment in a range of exciting and timely front-line applications. Whilst the student will focus mainly on the application of deep-UV LEDs and single-photon detectors to remote Raman sensing, they will also collaborate with students and researchers working on other aspects of the technology, such as data communications, analogue and digital electronic interfacing of the devices.

The project will be undertaken jointly between the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (FCAP) and the Institute of Photonics (IOP); both based at the University of Strathclyde – the Times Higher Education UK University of the Year 2012/13 and 2019/20, and UK Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2013/14. The IOP and FCAP are both located in the £100M Technology and Innovation Centre on Strathclyde’s Glasgow city centre campus.

CDT Essential Criteria

  • First of upper-Second class degree in Physics
  • Understanding of optical and semiconductor physics
  • An ability to review relevant pre-existing literature
  • Desire to undertake an experimental project which encompasses optics; lasers; interfacing to instrumentation; mechanical and electronic design and fabrication (the appropriate knowledge will be supplied); system integration; analysis of results;
  • Strong desire to develop and interface to digital electronics subsystems
  • A strong desire to interact with external end-users of the developed technology

EngD (39 months), UK students only

Contact: Dr Johannes Herrnsdorf, 

Development of compact remote gas detection devices using chip-scale deep ultra-violet light-emitting diodes and single photon detectors (University of Strathclyde)

Experimental Quantum Communications

Industrial partner: Fraunhofer CAP

This project will conduct experimental development of quantum entanglement sources suitable for space quantum communications.

Funded studentship for 3.5 Years. The PhD will be conducted jointly at the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (Fh-CAP) and the Computational Nonlinear and Quantum Optics (CNQO) group in Optics Division, Department of Physics, University of Strathclyde. Strathclyde is the only institution to be a member of all 4 Quantum Technology Hubs in both phases of the UK National Quantum Technology Programme. Uniquely placed in the UK R&D landscape, Fh-CAP enjoy an excellent reputation for developing state-of-the-art optical instrumentation optimised to meet the needs of industrial end users.

Terrestrial QKD has already begun to be commercialised and deployed on optical fibre networks. These point-to-point links currently have limited range due to the exponential reduction in signal due to absorption in glass. The development of quantum memories and repeaters to overcome these limits is still at a relatively early stage thus free-space transmission using satellites is an attractive alternative for spanning the Earth. It can also be used to service mobile or remote end-points.

Pioneering demonstrations by the QUESS mission and the Micius satellite have spurred intense international activity to develop and deploy satellite QKD. The UK has several satellite QKD missions in development. This includes one by the Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Communications, of which Strathclyde is a partner, to launch and operate a CubeSat to demonstrate a UK QKD payload and distribute encryption keys to optical ground stations.

A long-term goal is the development of the Quantum Internet that will require the large-scale and long-range distribution of quantum entanglement, including from space platforms. High rate, robust, and compact sources of entangled photon pairs are thus required for deployment on satellites. The main challenges are the constraints on size, weight (mass), and power (SWaP), as well as the environmental conditions of vacuum, temperature fluctuations, and radiation that a payload experiences in space.

Aims of this project are to investigate the design and characterisation of entanglement sources to achieve high pair production rate in a compact and rugged form factor, optimised for small satellite deployment and for space-based distribution to both terrestrial and space networking nodes.

The PhD student will work in the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics alongside researchers, engineers, and other students. They will also work in multidisciplinary teams within project consortia spanning academia and industry.



Finite key effects in satellite quantum key distribution. npj Quantum Inf 8, 18 (2022).
Advances in space quantum communications. IET Quantum Communication 2, 182 (2021)

Experimental Quantum Communications (University of Strathclyde)