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.


Open Positions

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 – jonathan.pritchard@strath.ac.uk

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 – stefan.kuhr@strath.ac.uk

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 https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/physics/research/postgraduate/.– Contact: Dr Sonja Franke-Arnold, University of Glasgow – sonja.franke-arnold@glasgow.ac.uk

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 (http://desoeq.phys.strath.ac.uk) and the EU Quantum Technologies Flagship Quantum Simulation project PASQuanS (https://pasquans.eu/). — Contact: Prof. Andrew Daley,  University of Strathclyde – andrew.daley@strath.ac.uk

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 – e.riis@strath.ac.uk

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 – aidan.arnold@strath.ac.uk

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 – lucia.caspani@strath.ac.uk

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 (Joerg.Goette@glasgow.ac.uk) or Prof. Steve Barnett (Stephen.Barnett@glasgow.ac.uk)

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

PhD in Experimental Quantum Networking

The Edinburgh Mostly Quantum Lab (EMQL) offers a PhD position in photonic quantum networking with photonic telecom cluster states. The focus will be on experimental demonstrations in a range of multi-party quantum communication scenarios, including conference key distribution, all-optical repeaters, quantum network coding, and more. Our work is primarily experimental but a theory component is optional. The PhD project will be carried out under the umbrella of the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Communications, an EPSRC funded £20M consortium of university and industry partners. There will be ample opportunities for travel, collaboration with partners within and beyond the hub, as well as outreach activities.

The EMQL was established at Heriot-Watt in 2015, and has now grown to an enthusiastic group of 3 postdocs and 6 PhD students. Our labs are part of the HWU quantum technology facilities, a shared state-of-the-art space that combines photonic quantum technology research with a range of physical architectures such as solid-state photonics, downconversion, integrated photonics, and fabrication. Our research spans all areas of photonic quantum information processing, from foundations to communications, computing and metrology, and there is freedom to explore areas beyond quantum networking.

All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng or equivalent degree by Autumn 2020.  Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype).  DTP’s are only open to UK/EU applicants. DTP Studentships are only available for students who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC

All applications must be received by 8th February 2019.  All successful candidates must commence studies by 1st December 2019 at the very latest.

Apply Online here.

When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:

(a) in ‘Study Option’

You will need to select ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Postgraduate Research’.  ‘Programme’ presents you with a drop-down menu.  Choose Bio-Engineering & Bio-Science PhD, Chemistry PhD, Physics PhD, Chemical Engineering PhD, Mechanical Engineering PhD or Electrical PhD as appropriate and select October 2019 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)

(b) in ‘Research Project Information’

You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project.  Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the supervisor’s name.

This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.

Please note that once you have submitted your application, it will not be considered until you have uploaded your CV and transcripts.

Funding Notes

The annual stipend will be approx. £14,777 and full fees will be paid, for 3.5 years.

Application enquiries:

Enquiries should be directed to A. Fedrizzi, www.mostlyquantum.org, +44 131 451 3649.

PhD in Experimental Quantum Networking (Heriot-Watt University)

Atomic clocks

Laser cooling of atoms has revolutionised measurement science. The primary frequency and time standard is now based on ultra-cold caesium atoms in an atomic fountain – i.e. weakly interacting atoms freely falling in gravity. The increase in accuracy afforded by this technology, however, comes at a cost in terms of size, complexity and power consumption. In stark contrast to this are the chip-scale atomic clocks (CSAC), which are compact and have low power consumption, but much inferior accuracy. With the present project we seek to integrate the technique for cold atom production based on micro-fabricated optical elements with established techniques for driving the atomic clock transition in order to achieve a compact setup with good long-term stability.

Contact: Dr Paul Griffin, University of Strathclyde – paul.griffin@strath.ac.uk

Atomic clocks (University of Strathclyde)

Atom interferometry

If an atomic vapour (of bosons) is sufficiently cold and dense a phase transition occurs and all of the atoms coalesce into the same (lowest energy) quantum state. Such a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), in which all of the atoms share the same wavefunction and behave in essentially the same way, is thus the atomic analogue of a laser – an atom laser. This opens the possibility of replicating many of the traditional interferometry experiments from optics with atomic waves. Contrary to photons, though, atoms are sensitive to their environment, and so this provides the basis for new generations of devices for measuring quantities such as gravity, acceleration and rotation. As the de Broglie wavelength of the atoms now define the sensitivity this represents a potentially vast increase in measurement sensitivity.

Contact: Dr Paul Griffin, University of Strathclyde – paul.griffin@strath.ac.uk

Atom interferometry (University of Strathclyde)

Magnetometers in the field

The ongoing development of sensing modalities and capabilities of atomic magnetometers operating in earth field will enable enhanced abilities in remote sensing. The present project seeks to develop the measurement capabilities of miniaturised optically pumped atomic magnetometers, that will ultimately be capable of field deployment. This project involves the development and integration of the individual components required to realise reliable and autonomous measurement devises with applications ranging from geophysical surveying, to cardiology, to high throughput industrial inspection.

Contact: Dr Paul Griffin, University of Strathclyde – paul.griffin@strath.ac.uk

Magnetometers in the field (University of Strathclyde)

Twisted Quantum Heterostructures

Two-dimensional moiré spin and exciton lattices will be engineered and investigated for applications in quantum simulators and quantum photonics.

Two-dimensional semiconductors, which can be easily combined to create entirely new materials, offer completely unique opportunities to design the electronic and optical properties of individual particles at the quantum level and engineer strong interactions between the particles. This project aims to design, fabricate, and characterise novel quantum devices based on the two-dimensional semiconductor platform with a particular goal of engineering and coherently controlling single spins and excitons in moiré superlattices to control their quantum interactions.

Contact: Prof. Brian D Gerardot, Heriot-Watt University – B.D.Gerardot@hw.ac.uk

Twisted Quantum Heterostructures (Heriot-Watt University)

A Scalable and Coherent Semiconductor Spin-Photon Interface

Scalability is an outstanding challenge in semiconductor quantum technologies. This project aims to address this by realizing small nodes of coherent spin-photon interfaces.

Coherent spin-photon interfaces underpin many applications in quantum information science. Self-assembled quantum dots offer a promising platform to realize this: single spins can easily be manipulated and entangled with indistinguishable single photons. Unfortunately, the random nature of self-assembly creates challenges for scalability. This project aims to tackle this challenge using both on-chip and off-chip strategies to realize small-scale nodes of coherent spin-photon interfaces.

A Scalable and Coherent Semiconductor Spin-Photon Interface (Heriot-Watt University)

Optimising protocols for quantum-enhanced magnetometry

Spin-based sensors are a promising platform for nanoscale magnetic resonance imaging. This project is concerned with unlocking their full potential through the exploration and development of quantum control approaches based on Hamiltonian- and machine learning approaches.

This project will build on recent experimental and theoretical work showing, respectively, that spin sensors can detect the tiny magnetic field of isolated proximal nuclear spins and that their precision is boosted by quantum effects beyond what is possible classically. This constitutes an exciting new frontier in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), a phenomenon that has found numerous applications across science and medicine, most notably MRI scanning. To go further, this project will explore the performance of sensors utilising not a single but small clusters of interacting electron spins under active quantum control. Developing optimised control approaches and sensing protocols will be tackled through a number of techniques including e.g. genetic algorithms, Bayesian approaches, machine learning, and “Hamiltonian learning”. During this project, you will also learn about simulating the dynamics of complex open quantum systems, quantum metrology as a leading quantum technology, and how measurement precision can be captured using quantifiers of information gain.

This project will be conducted in the Quantum Theory Team at Heriot-Watt. The group was established in 2015 and has grown to include three postdocs and 5 PhD students working across a range of topics spanning quantum information, -metrology and -energy. See http://qtt.eps.hw.ac.uk for more information. The project will benefit from active collaboration with local experimentalist Dr Cristian Bonato, allowing ideas to be tested in the laboratory.

All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng or equivalent degree by Autumn 2020.  Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype). DTP’s are only open to UK/EU applicants. DTP Studentships are only available for students who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC.

All applications must be received by 8th February 2019.  All successful candidates must commence studies by 1st December 2019 at the very latest.

Apply Online here.

When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:

(a) in ‘Study Option’

You will need to select ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Postgraduate Research’.  ‘Programme’ presents you with a drop-down menu.  Choose Bio-Engineering & Bio-Science PhD, Chemistry PhD, Physics PhD, Chemical Engineering PhD, Mechanical Engineering PhD or Electrical PhD as appropriate and select October 2019 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)

(b) in ‘Research Project Information’

You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project.  Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the supervisor’s name.

This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.

Please note that once you have submitted your application, it will not be considered until you have uploaded your CV and transcripts.

Funding Notes

The annual stipend will be approx. £14,777 and full fees will be paid, for 3.5 years.

Application enquiries:

Enquiries should be directed to Erik Gauger: e.gauger@hw.ac.uk.

Optimising protocols for quantum-enhanced magnetometry (Heriot-Watt University)

Theoretical quantum communication and quantum information science

A PhD studentship is available for work on quantum communications, as part of The EPSRC Quantum Communications Hub based at Heriot-Watt’s campus in Edinburgh. The Quantum Communications Hub is a partnership universities and companies (www.quantumcommshub.net) which have formed a collaboration with the overall aim of developing a range of new secure quantum communications technologies.

The student will work in Heriot-Watt’s quantum information theory group, led by Professor Erika Andersson. The exact topic is to be determined in discussions with suitable candidates, but could encompass work on quantum measurements or topics in quantum communication. Our current work includes devising practical schemes for quantum oblivious transfer, and finding optimal quantum state elimination measurements. Previously, the group has introduced practical ways of realising quantum signatures, including measurement-device-independent quantum signatures. Experiments related to our work on quantum communication have been performed at Heriot-Watt and elsewhere, and there are excellent opportunities to work together with experimentalists.

Interest in quantum information, excellent mathematical and theoretical skills, as well as interest and knowledge of quantum mechanics are essential for the role. An excellent Masters degree in physics or a related mathematical or computer science discipline (for UK applicants, 1st class) is also essential.

Inquiries should be addressed to Prof. Erika Andersson: E.Andersson@hw.ac.uk.

Theoretical quantum communication and quantum information science (Heriot-Watt University)

Experimental realization of many-body coupling schemes with superconducting quantum hardware

Superconducting quantum circuits are one of the forerunners in the worldwide race to create commercially sustainable quantum processors able to solve real-world problems. Small (3-20 qubits) processors can solve problems such as finding the spectra of small molecules such as H2 and LiH or the binding energy of small nuclei such as deuterium. State-of-the-art circuits have ~50 qubits and are reaching a computational complexity at the limit of today’s high-performance data centres.

Superconducting circuits are an ideal choice as they can be easily integrated and scaled up to large numbers and offer -in principal- a variety of coupling schemes (longitudinal, orthogonal to one or more qubits). While two-qubit coupling schemes have been chosen for the first generation of processors, many-body interactions enable the execution of multi-qubit gates in a single step and will thus greatly reduce the circuit depth of near-term quantum computations.

The student will design a new generation of integrated circuit networks where the couplings between qubits and/or resonators are not implemented conventionally, i.e. via capacitances and inductances, but realised by non-linear circuit elements. In this way, we will experimentally demonstrate a highly versatile platform of many-body coupled qubits, and address some of today’s most significant challenges in scaling quantum technology.

Contact: Prof. Martin Weides, University of Glasgow – martin.weides@glasgow.ac.uk

Experimental realization of many-body coupling schemes with superconducting quantum hardware (University of Glasgow)


Closed Positions

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)


Interested in applying? Email: physics-igsqt@strath.ac.uk