Studentships

Semiconductor Single‑Photon Detection

Supervisor: Professor Gerald S. Buller

We are offering a four year fully funded PhD position in semiconductor single-photon detector design and characterisation for quantum circuitry applications. This vacancy is open to suitably qualified individuals, regardless of nationality.

Single‑photon detectors are the key components behind many of the new and emerging photonic technologies. Single‑photon detection at visible and low‑end near infrared wavelengths (in the range 400 to 1060 nm) based on silicon (Si) is a relatively mature technology with several efficient devices commercially available but single‑photon detectors for longer wavelengths are still largely experimental. This relative lack of maturity is of increased relevance when undertaking quantum information experiments in optical fibre as the majority of installed optical fibre is single‑mode at wavelengths around 1300 nm and 1550 nm. This spectral range also permits compatibility with Si‑based photonic quantum circuitry, where major research breakthroughs are occurring. Additionally, such detectors would be capable of detecting photons with wavelengths that lie in certain atmospheric transmission windows, as well as infrared gas absorption features, notably those of greenhouse gas. Furthermore, they offer improved eye‑safety in remote sensing applications, such as low‑light imaging and depth profiling applications. Therefore there is now a drive to develop efficient detectors for use at these wavelengths. Our group is at the forefront of developing new experimental approaches to semiconductor based single‑photon detection. This PhD will involve collaborative research with other major UK universities, including leading groups in the field.

Our group has five laboratories (four recently refurbished) with a total floor area of more than 105 m2. The research group has ownership of world‑leading state‑of‑the‑art equipment with a total value in excess of £2 million. The research group also has shared access to the expert mechanical and electrical design and assembly facilities and staff with Heriot‑Watt University's School of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Strong links have been forged with other researchers both within Heriot‑Watt University, at other national and international institutions and in the commercial sector. With four research associates and eight postgraduate students, the equipment and expertise immediately available to the research group allows the rapid development of world‑leading experimental systems and test‑beds.

We are now looking for a talented individual to join us and work on a new ground‑breaking project with the potential of publications in several high impact journals. A suitable applicant will have a 1st class undergraduate degree or equivalent in a physics course or related subject and be strongly motivated with the drive required to pursue three or more years of intensive practical and theoretical work. The project will require both individual and group work and a successful candidate must be capable of operating effectively in both environments. A knowledge and understanding of Silvaco Atlas semiconductor modelling software would be highly advantageous but is not essential. A relevant undergraduate project would assist in selection of a candidate.

To apply

Contact:
Professor Gerald S. Buller

email: G.S.Buller[anti-spam](at)[remove]hw.ac.uk

Enclose a CV, a brief summary of why you feel you are applicable and details of two professional references. A copy of an undergraduate experimental project report in a relevant area would enhance an application.

Applications are welcomed year‑round and there will be interviews at regular intervals throughout the year.