PhD Positions in Quantum Optics and Quantum Technologies

We have a number of interesting projects available in Quantum Technologies, ranging from fundamental science to applications.

Scalable Qubit Arrays for Quantum Computation and Optimisation

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 that could in future be scaled up to accelerate drug design or optimised materials for aerospace and manufacturing. Whilst large-scale applications will require thousands of qubits, in the near-term small (100 qubit) quantum processors will reach a regime in which the quantum hardware is able to solve problems not accessible even on the largest available conventional supercomputers.

This project will develop a new platform for quantum computing based on scalable arrays of neutral atoms that is able to overcome the challenges to scaling of competing technologies. We will develop new hardware to cool and trap arrays of over 100 qubits that will be used to perform both analogue and digital quantum simulation by exploiting the strong long-range interactions of highly excited Rydberg atoms. Together with the quantum software team lead by Prof. Andrew Daley, we will design new analogue and digital algorithms tailored for the neutral-atom platform to target industrially-relevant computation and optimisation problems.
Contact: Dr Jonathan Pritchard, University of Strathclyde –

Scalable Qubit Arrays for Quantum Computation and Optimisation (University of Strathclyde)

Quantum Simulation in optical lattices with single-atom access

Ultracold atoms in optical lattices at temperatures close to absolute zero give the unique opportunity to study quantum many-body phenomena in the laboratory under controlled conditions. We use a quantum-gas microscope to image atoms trapped in an optical lattice atom by atom, lattice site by lattice site. Contact: Prof Stefan Kuhr, University of Strathclyde –

Quantum Simulation in optical lattices with single-atom access (University of Strathclyde)

Atomic spin-polarisations in vector light fields – building a portable magnetometer

The Optics Group at the University of Glasgow in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics offers a 3.5 year PhD studentship, starting from 1st October 2019.  In this project you will develop and investigate inertial sensing with cold atoms, enhanced by vector vortex illumination.  The studentship benefits from the combine expertise offered by the Optics Group – a diverse and exciting research environment with focus on structured light, quantum and computational imaging, metamaterials and atom trapping, and Fraunhofer CAP – not-for-profit company specialising in application-oriented research with strong links to the photonics industry. In this PhD project you will build a “Portable one-shot magnetometer.” The unprecedented precision and reproducibility of atomic quantum states makes them ideal inertial sensors.  This project will use the precession of atomic spin polarisation to measure the magnitude and alignment of an external magnetic field.  Unlike conventional atomic magnetometers which require the time-dependent detection of this precession, we will illuminate an atomic vapour with vector vortex light to obtain a spatially varying signal from which we can determine the magnetic field. The project combines exploration of fundamental vectorial light-matter interaction, state-of-the-art light shaping and the development of a compact quantum technological instrument.  You will join a friendly and enthusiastic team working.

Applicants should have a first class Honours/Bachelor’s or an upper second class Master’s degree in Physics or Engineering. We will interview candidates as soon as they apply, aiming to start the project in autumn 2019, so please apply soon! Please apply online via our Physics and Astronomy Graduate School– Contact: Dr Sonja Franke-Arnold, University of Glasgow –

Atomic spin-polarisations in vector light fields - building a portable magnetometer (University of Glasgow)

Theory of quantum simulation with atoms and ions

The last few years have seen substantial progress in the development of quantum simulation with cold atom platforms (including atoms in optical lattices, and Rydberg arrays), and trapped ions. In this project, we will (1) explore fundamental aspects of out-of-equilibrium dynamics in these systems, (2) investigate means to use measurements of these dynamics to benchmark regimes where quantum advantage over classical computations can be demonstrated, and (3) investigate potential applications of these devices towards computational problems of interest beyond quantum physics. This project will involve the application and further development of analytical and numerical methods, including recently developed matrix product operator methods and time-dependent density matrix renormalisation group techniques.   These theoretical studies are directly related to ongoing experiments, including work being performed in the photonics groups at the University of Strathclyde, relevant to the EPSRC programme grant on Designing out-of-equilibrium many-body quantum systems ( and the EU Quantum Technologies Flagship Quantum Simulation project PASQuanS ( — Contact: Prof. Andrew Daley,  University of Strathclyde –

Theory of quantum simulation with atoms and ions (University of Strathclyde)

Ultra-precise atomic magnetometry

This PhD project on measurement of magnetic fields has begun at the University of Strathclyde, which will push the attainable sensitive below the femtoTesla level (ten orders of magnitude below the Earth’s magnetic field.) Using compact, room temperature, atomic samples the new lab will compete directly with superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) based systems that require prohibitively expensive cryogenic environments. The outcomes of the project will be immediately applied to measurement of real-world systems, including bio-magnetic fields such as those produced by the neuronal electrical activity of the human brain. — Contact: Prof Erling Riis, University of Strathclyde –

Ultraprecise atomic magnetometry (University of Strathclyde)

Atom-interferometry for inertial sensing of rotation

The possibility of using interference of coherent matter-waves offer tantalising levels of potential accuracy for measurement devices. A particular application of interest is that of rotation sensing with applications in quantum-based, autonomous navigation devices. The student will join an research programmes in BEC interferometry at Strathclyde in the development of a Bose-Einstein condensate atom interferometer device. A key aim is the demonstration of an integrated optics and BEC interferometry. This project would ultimately inform the translation of chip-based BEC technology into a practical navigation tool. — Contact: Dr Aidan Arnold, University of Strathclyde –

Atom-interferometry for inertial sensing of rotation (University of Strathclyde)

Quantum-enhanced multiphoton fluorescence microscopy

The generation and manipulation of quantum states of light will be used to overcome some of the main limitations of multiphoton fluorescence microscopy, such has the extremely low cross sections and the need of intense ultrashort lasers. The student will study and set up the appropriate quantum light source for enhancing multiphoton fluorescence microscopy of biological samples. The project will encompass a combination of nonlinear and quantum optics, as well as imaging. The PhD student will work on the design and realisation of optical systems, nonlinear frequency conversion, the generation and characterisation of quantum states (e.g. entangled photons), software coding and microscopy. They will have access to state-of-the-art optical laboratories, laser sources and photon detectors. The studentship is co-funded by Fraunhofer UK, giving access to their prototyping facilities and promoting collaborative work with technology users. – Contact: Dr Lucia Caspani, University of Strathclyde –

Quantum-enhanced multiphoton fluorescence microscopy (University of Strathclyde)

Quantum theory of chiral light matter interactions

We are looking for a motivated student interested in working on the quantum mechanics of light matter interaction, in particular chiral matter.

Matter can be chiral, that is showing a lack of symmetry in its structure. Molecules in particular can exist in two forms which are mirror images of one another, and yet differ fundamentally in their chemical or biological function. The natural handedness of circularly polarised light can be used for probing and trapping molecules in a manner that distinguishes the mirror image forms. Even atoms, which are naturally not chiral, can be rendered susceptible to the handedness of light, making light a widely applicable tool when studying the effects of handedness in matter. On a more fundamental level, chirality is related to parity violation and hence the weak force. This is an interdisciplinary field of research which has seen much interest in recent years from chemists, biologists as well as theoretical and experimental physicists.

This project will explore signatures of chirality in light matter interaction by tailoring the structure of the light field. It is possible to create chiral optical lattices where neighbouring lattice sites interact differently with chiral matter. This promises to be an ideal tool to study chiral effects in many body physics and thermodynamics. The successful student will therefore have the opportunity to work on a range of topics on in quantum mechanics related to chiral light-matter interactions.

Contact: Dr. Jörg Götte ( or Prof. Steve Barnett (

Quantum theory of chiral light matter interactions (University of Glasgow)

Satellite Quantum Key Distribution and Communication [Position Closed]

Secure quantum communication over long distances may be enabled by the development of satellite platforms for the distribution of quantum states and entanglement from space. The Chinese satellite Micius has demonstrated the technical feasibility of satellite quantum communication and there are many international efforts to achieve similar capability. Quantum Key Distribution is the prime application but such space systems may be able to support new and novel protocols even more challenging to perform with terrestrial fibre networks.

This project will look at providing the theoretical underpinnings to support the ongoing development of space quantum communication technologies and their applications. It will investigate the development, analysis, and optimisation of space-based quantum communication and key distribution protocols.

The candidate should have a background in quantum information theory or related subjects and possess strong analytic and numerical skills. Computational modelling experience is advantageous. The candidate will work closely with experimentalists and engineers hence should have the ability to effectively work and communicate across disciplines.

The student will join the Computational Nonlinear and Quantum Optics group within the Optics Division of the Department of Physics at Strathclyde. The project will interface with ongoing efforts towards launch of a satellite quantum communication in-orbit demonstration mission.

Funding Notes

Scholarships (fees and stipend) available on a competitive basis for UK/EU students, please contact supervisor, Dr Daniel Oi, for details.

Satellite Quantum Key Distribution and Communication (University of Strathclyde)



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