PhD in Physics and Astronomy: Nanowire-based single-photon detectors

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    Cardiff University
    United Kingdom
    Natural sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)


Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD in plasmonically-enhanced nanowire photodetectors in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University.

Recent technological developments have created an increasing need for energy-efficient, high data rate links along with high resolution imaging and video solutions for terrestrial navigation and self-driving cars.

The critical component in these systems is the optical receiver which dictates the quality of the link. Newly demonstrated 3D plasmonics antennae coupling to nanowire arrays have the potential to revolutionize existing systems as an ultra-low noise and high-sensitivity alternative to current state of the art technology.

You will join the Sêr Cymru research group, led by Professor Diana Huffaker and make use of the Institute for Compound Semiconductors’ facilities. The role will be to conduct research and development associated developing single-photon avalanche photodetectors based in compound semiconductor nanostructures and metamaterials. The activity will span optical and electrical device design, fabrication and characterization of single-pixel photodetectors.

In collaboration with expert colleagues and mentors, you will have the opportunity mature the project to quantum imaging demonstration. The high quality scientific challenges and close interaction with international and industrial partners will give the graduate student excellent networking opportunities and appreciation of the transferable skills along with a platform for high-quality publications and conference presentations.

We encourage informal enquiries about the project, which can be made to Professor Diana Huffaker.

What is funded

Full UK/EU/Overseas tuition fees


3.5 years


You should have a good Master’s degree or a First degree with 1st Class or Upper Second Class (or equivalent) in Physics or Engineering and a strong interest in experiments in both laboratory environments as well as at national and international facilities.

A general understanding of semiconductor device physics and photonics as well as an enthusiasm for experimental work are essential.

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS).

Open to all students of any nationality without restrictions (UK/EU and International)