PhD Opportunities

PhD Opportunities

Possible research topics to be undertaken in the Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering Division of the School of Engineering are given below. If you are interested in any of these projects, you should email the prospective supervisor for discussing your intentions.

The School of Engineering has a limited number of scholarships to offer to excellent candidates, application shall be discussed with the potential supervisor.

Novel Wearable, Flexible Sensor for Skin Hydration Level Measurement (Funded)

Supervisor

Dr Qammer Abbasi

Description

The proposed project is focused on the design and development of a novel wearable, flexible point-of-care system for monitoring the hydration levels in the different layers of the skin, which has the potential to directly impact the measurement of edema and dehydration, as well as provide information about skin hydration that could potentially help in sports performance monitoring and can also be correlated to other diseases including diabetes, skin abnormalities and cardiovascular diseases. The work includes, design, modeling using commercial softwares including Cadence, and experimental verification by collaborating with multidisciplinary teams including medical doctors and biomedical engineers.

The student will be a part of the Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) Group in the University of Glasgow and will have access to James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC).

Personal Specification: An ideal candidate should have experience in electronics and sensor design with an interest in learning new techniques. Knowledge of fabrication, PCB design and characterization are desirable. Applications are sought from highly motivated students graduating with first degree (2:1 or higher) in electronics engineering. Previous research experience is greatly valued.

The studentship is supported by the School, and it will cover home tuition fees and provide a stipend of £14,553 per annum for 3.5 years. To be eligible for this funding, applicants must have 'settled status' in the United Kingdom and must have been 'ordinarily resident' for the past three years.

It should be noted that other terms may also apply.

How to apply

Application for this scholarship is made by using the online system at the following link for admission as a postgraduate research student to the admission team in the Recruitment and International Office.

It should be noted that this application is to gain admission to our PGR programme with the decision on this being based on your academic achievements, and an offer of admission may be sent out before a decision on this Scholarship is made. Candidates applying for this Scholarship will have their applications further vetted as to acceptability to this Scholarship and will most likely have an interview/discussion with the supervisor before any decision is made.

Contact

For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact: Dr Qammer H. Abbasi at qammer.abbasi@glasgow.ac.uk

Closing date - September 2017


High brightness laser diode with 2D optical beam steering (Funded)

Supervisor

Dr Lianping Hou

Description

High power, single-frequency and quasi-single-spatial-mode semiconductor lasers operating at wavelengths around 1.55 µm are essential components for many applications such as Raman pumps for fibre communication systems, spectroscopy, remote sensing, free-space communications, eye-safe laser-based radar (LIDAR), and wavelength conversion in nonlinear materials. Recently, techniques have been developed based on seeding arrays of semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) from a single laser, to generate output beams that can be combined coherently. However, the coherent beam combination (CBC) diodes reported before have had shortcomings, such as overall system size and cost, and require complex optical architectures.

We will use a simple, scalable monolithically integrated approach comprising a tuneable 1.55 µm distributed feedback (DFB) laser, feeding several stages of multi-mode interference couplers (MMIs) and SOAs to deliver a high power beam with a low divergence angle with a clear coherent interference far-field pattern (FFP).

The Brightness of a laser beam is defined as, B=P/(AΩ), where P is the optical output power, A the emitting area and Ω the solid angle into which the power is emitted. It is impossible to increase the Brightness by combining beams from separate sources using passive optical components, but optical amplifiers do increase brightness. At high powers, the light in semiconductor lasers and amplifiers degrades into multi-mode beams, and single mode operation can only be sustained to a few Watts at best. However, if we use a parallel array of amplifiers and feed them from a common source, the light in the amplifiers will be mutually coherent. The individual beams can now be combined into a single beam using passive optical components, made possible because of the mutual coherence of the light in the amplifiers. The Brightness will therefore be increased.

The phase of the light at output of an optical amplifier can be controlled by changing the drive current to the amplifier. We can therefore control the direction of the main beam in the far-field in one dimension. To scan the beam in a second direction, we will tune the wavelength of the laser diode and couple the light out of the array using a diffraction grating. Two-dimensional beam-steering can therefore be achieved where the axis parallel to the waveguides is tuned with wavelength and the axis perpendicular to the waveguides is tuned by phase-tuning the individual channel.

The final innovative and important step is to stabilize of the output power and particularly the phase of the output from the SOA array. This motivates the development of electronic control system to maintain the required relative phase in each amplifier and so stabilize the output laser power into a single lobed beam. The control system is therefore required to change iteratively the set of drive currents to the amplifier stages to maximise output power. The amplifier gain is largely set by a fixed DC bias, with small changes imposed by the control system. The effective controlled gain change is due to a phase modulation of the amplifier gain which results in a periodic variation in total output power for each driven amplifier due to interference control of the mode structure in the combiner. We will implement simple algorithms to give the required control.

The aims of this project:

1) Fibre coupled power of >500 mW at 1550 nm from a DFB laser with ultra-narrow linewidth (<100 kHz) and high beam quality (i.e. beam quality factor M2 close to unity);

2) InP photonic integrated circuit for either 1D or 2D beam steering as an eye-safe laser-based radar;

3) Develop an electronic control system to stabilize the output power and tune the phase of the output SOA arrays.

How to apply

The studentship is supported by the School, and it will cover home tuition fees and provide a stipend of £14,553 per annum for 3.5 years. To be eligible for this funding, applicants must have 'settled status' in the United Kingdom and must have been 'ordinarily resident' for the past three years.

It should be noted that other terms may also apply.

Application for this scholarship is made by using the online system at the following link for admission as a postgraduate research student to the admission team in the Recruitment and International Office.

It should be noted that this application is to gain admission to our PGR programme with the decision on this being based on your academic achievements, and an offer of admission may be sent out before a decision on this Scholarship is made. Candidates applying for this Scholarship will have their applications further vetted as to acceptability to this Scholarship and will most likely have an interview/discussion with the supervisor before any decision is made.

Contact

For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact: Dr Lianping Hou at Lianping.Hou@glasgow.ac.uk.

Closing date - September 2017


Development of integrated photonic circuits for non-linear applications (Funded)

Supervisors

Professor Marc Sorel

Dr Loyd McKnight, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (FCAP)

Description

The UK's recent investments in Quantum Technology envision disruptive new time standards based on an ultrastable optical frequency locked to a clock transition in trapped ions / atoms. Optical standards offer superior fractional stability (Δf/f) to radio-frequency (RF) clocks, and embedding them into servers, navigation systems and networks would revolutionise the telecommunications, finance, defence, geodesy and energy sectors. However, realizing this vision needs a means of transferring such timing stability from optical (PHz) frequencies to the RF/microwave (GHz) domain—a function requiring a laser frequency comb.

This project targets the timely development of an integrable miniature comb platform, leveraging recent progress in GHz femtosecond lasers at Heriot Watt University and integrated nonlinear photonics at Glasgow University. Specifically, the concept we propose unites a 10-GHz Kerr-lens modelocked laser with an ultra-high nonlinearity silicon nitride or AlGaAs supercontinuum chip with an on-board interferometer to enable offset frequency stabilization via self-referencing. The final device will integrate, on the same chip, signal filtering and delay functions with micro-ring resonators, couplers, tuning elements and electronic control.

The project will be developed in close association with QuantIC - the UK Quantum Technology Hub in Quantum Enhanced Imaging - as well as several academic and industrial partners who will contribute resources, expertise and routes for exploitation.

The learning experience: The Optoelectronics Research Group in the School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow has pioneered theoretical and experimental research on photonic integrated circuits for over 40 years. This activity is supported by the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC), one of the finest nanofabrication facilities in Europe with over £32M of nanofabrication tools in a 1350 m2 clean room. The Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (FCAP) provides professional research and development services for industry and is part of the larger Fraunhofer network that is Europe’s largest application orientated research organisation. The student will have access to state-of-the-art optical laboratories and will enjoy unique opportunities to develop industry contacts in an expanding research environment with responsibility at an early stage.

The project is highly multidisciplinary and will present an excellent opportunity for a motivated candidate to learn techniques spanning traditional discipline boundaries and to engage with academic and industrial partners. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work in the FCAP laboratories and gain first-hand experience in industrially relevant research and development projects. This collaborative research studentship is part of the EPSRC-funded grant "Compact visible frequency combs - the missing link in a vision of pervasive quantum timekeeping" - EP/P005446/1.

Personal Specification: We are looking for a motivated and talented student graduating with at least a 2.1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in an engineering or physical science field. A master degree is preferable but not essential and previous research experience is greatly valued.

Funding is available to cover 42-month stipend and tuition fees, travel allowance and research consumables for UK/EU/International applicants. 

How to apply

Application for this scholarship is made by using the online system at the following link for admission as a postgraduate research student to the admission team in the Recruitment and International Office.

It should be noted that this application is to gain admission to our PGR programme with the decision on this being based on your academic achievements, and an offer of admission may be sent out before a decision on this Scholarship is made. Candidates applying for this Scholarship will have their applications further vetted as to acceptability to this Scholarship and will most likely have an interview/discussion with the supervisor before any decision is made.

Contacts

Prospective applicants should contact Prof. Marc Sorel (marc.sorel@glasgow.ac.uk) to discuss their interest in the position. Applications for this studentship must be made via the University website.


Development of next generation superconducting electronic and sensors (Funded)

Supervisor

Dr Alessandro Casaburi

Funding

The studentship is supported by the School, and will cover home tuition fees and provide a stipend of £14,057 per annum for 3.5 years.

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must have ‘settled status’ in the United Kingdom and must have been ‘ordinarily resident’ for the past three years. EU nationals are generally eligible to receive a fees-only award.

It should be noted that other terms may also apply.

Description

Superconducting material based nano devices are a key enabling technology to develop ultrafast electronic and high performance single molecule/single photon detectors for a host of cutting edge scientific applications.

Infrared photon counting detectors based on superconducting nanowires in arrayed configuration will make it possible to develop next generation instrumentation to open entirely new horizons in a wide range of existing/emerging applications of photonics such as advanced imaging, quantum communication and remote sensing.

High efficiency single molecule detection is of great importance in some biomedical/chemical diagnostic techniques like time-of-flight mass-spectrometry (TOF-MS). Among the most relevant applications in which this technique is involved is DNA fragment sizing for genomics, and the identification of proteins and their constituents for proteomics. Moreover, the development of functional proteomics combines functional characterization, like regulation, localization and modification, with the identification of proteins for deeper insight into cellular functions.

Cryogenically compatible ultra-fast electronic readout for superconducting nanowire detectors in an advanced multipixel array is of vital importance for the deployment of the aforementioned technologies.

The goal of the PhD project will be the development of large-area arrays of superconducting single-photon/molecules detectors using an innovative superconducting electronic readout scheme for precision time stamping with spatial, spectral and photon/molecules number information. In such a way these devices will combine the pinnacle of highest detection sensitivity and high temporal resolution, together with imaging and high collection efficiency. Details of the project can be discussed in agreement with the interested candidates to see what part suits.

This project will focus on the device modelling and simulation, advanced nanofabrication (carried out using state-of-the-art electron beam lithography facilities in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre) and preliminary testing using low temperature RF electrical and optical characterization facilities. For the superconducting single molecule detectors, testing under molecule bombardments will be carried out through joint experiments with potential collaborators that are interested in this disruptive technology (AIST – RIIF, Japan).

Applications are sought from highly motivated students graduating with first degree (2:1 or higher) in electrical engineering, physics or materials science. Previous research experience is greatly valued.

How to apply

Application for this scholarship is made by using the online system at the following link for admission as a postgraduate research student to the admission team in the Recruitment and International Office.

It should be noted that this application is to gain admission to our PGR programme with the decision on this being based on your academic achievements, and an offer of admission may be sent out before a decision on this Scholarship is made. Candidates applying for this Scholarship will have their applications further vetted as to acceptability to this Scholarship and will most likely have an interview/discussion with the supervisor before any decision is made.

Contact: alessandro.casaburi@glasgow.ac.uk


High sensitivity THz spectroscopy (Funded)

Supervisor

Dr Matteo Clerici

Funding

The studentship is supported by the School, and it will cover home tuition fees and provide a stipend of £14,057 per annum for 3.5 years.

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must have ‘settled status’ in the United Kingdom and must have been ‘ordinarily resident’ for the past three years. EU nationals are generally eligible to receive a fees-only award.

It should be noted that other terms may also apply.

Description

The terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum (0.1 <ν< 10 THz) is extremely important for several applications, since many relevant molecules such as drugs and explosives have fingerprints in this spectral region, while common packaging materials such as paper and ceramics are transparent. THz spectroscopy and imaging are therefore key resources for the security, medical and industrial sectors, as well as for improving our understanding on the nature of light-matter interaction.

Despite the broad interest in THz technology, these applications still struggle to deliver the expected impact due to limitations in the efficiency and sensitivity of the current THz generation and detection techniques. This issue is the origin of the so-called “THz-gap”. THz is indeed at a frequency just above the limit of standard electronics, yet in a regime where optical interactions are not efficient, and therefore the development of an effective technology in this spectral region suffers from the limited electronics speed and the reduced optical frequency conversion efficiency.

Within this project the PhD candidate will seek to develop novel techniques for THz radiation generation and detection aimed at improving spectroscopy and imaging capabilities. They shall investigate different routes toward improved THz generation and detection, mainly relying on optical methods. This includes the development of novel schemes based on photoconductive switching, optical rectification, difference frequency generation and gas ionisation. Both free space configurations, employing high intensity laser pulses (e.g. Ti:Sapphire oscillators and CPA systems), and integrated platforms (e.g. Silicon, AlGaAs, Diamond) will be considered.

We expect the PhD candidate to develop the expertise required to lead an experimental research project, to train students, to interact with colleagues with different backgrounds and from different disciplines. Details of the project will be agreed with the interested candidates to tailor the research on his / her interests.

The research programme will take place in an international and interdisciplinary environment, which will substantially favour collaboration opportunities 1) within the School of Engineering (Prof. Marc Sorel, co-supervisor, Profs. R. Hadfield and. D. Paul); 2) within different Schools (School of Physics and Astronomy); and 3) within other research institutions (Heriot-Watt University, Sussex University, UK; INRS-EMT, Canada).

Applications are sought from highly motivated students graduating with first degree (2:1 or higher) in engineering or physics. Previous research experience is greatly valued.

How to apply

Application for this scholarship is made by using the online system at the following link for admission as a postgraduate research student to the admission team in the Recruitment and International Office.

It should be noted that this application is to gain admission to our PGR programme with the decision on this being based on your academic achievements, and an offer of admission may be sent out before a decision on this Scholarship is made. Candidates applying for this Scholarship will have their applications further vetted as to acceptability to this Scholarship and will most likely have an interview/discussion with the supervisor before any decision is made.

Contact: For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact: matteo.clerici@glasgow.ac.uk


Flexible Magnetic Sensing Microsystem (Funded)

Supervisor

Dr Hadi Heidari

Funding

The studentship is supported by the School, and will cover home tuition fees and provide a stipend of £14,296 per annum for 3.5 years.

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must have ‘settled status’ in the United Kingdom and must have been ‘ordinarily resident’ for the past three years.

It should be noted that other terms may also apply.

Description

Flexible electronics have recently attracted a lot of attention in the robotics and human-machine interfaces application. Currently, flexible electronic microsystems have been realized mainly through exploring organic semiconductors, amorphous and polycrystalline silicon, and more recently also using single crystal silicon to meet high-performance requirements. High-performance CMOS technology still plays a main role in readout circuit and sensor interfaces for high-speed and low-power consumption applications. However, because of lower sensitivity of the CMOS-based magnetic sensors they need a complex amplification and readout circuit. On the other hand, state-of-the-art flexible magnetic sensors still lack high-performance front-ends and they cannot form the smart microsystems. This project aims to combine, heterogeneously, a high-sensitive non-CMOS flexible magnetic sensor (e.g. Hall Effect and Giant Magneto-Resistance (GMR)) with an analogue front-end circuit in a standard CMOS technology. The analogue front-end circuit consists of different blocks including operational amplifier (op-amp), analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) etc. The sensor interface design will be sent to an external foundry for fabrication, and in-house post processing steps will be carried out to the fabricated chip and interface with the magnetic sensors.

In this PhD project the candidate will be involved in fabrication of the magnetic sensor in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC), full design of the analogue front-end in the Cadence environment (including schematic and layout), post-CMOS processing including thinning down the fabricated chip, PCB design, characterization, test and measurement of the final microsystem prototype.

The ideal candidate will have good analogue circuit design skills and experience in Cadence and Verilog-A. Knowledge of fabrication, PCB design and characterization are desirable.

The student will be a part of the Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) Group in the University of Glasgow. The student will have the opportunity to undertake an internship with leading global industrial and academic partners.

How to apply

Application for this scholarship is made by using the online system at the following link for admission as a postgraduate research student to the admission team in the Recruitment and International Office.

It should be noted that this application is to gain admission to our PGR programme with the decision on this being based on your academic achievements, and an offer of admission may be sent out before a decision on this Scholarship is made. Candidates applying for this Scholarship will have their applications further vetted as to acceptability to this Scholarship and will most likely have an interview/discussion with the supervisor before any decision is made.

For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Hadi Heidari.


From Atom to Device: Multi-scaled Simulations of Molecular-based Electronic Devices (Funded)

Supervisor

Dr Vihar Georgiev

Funding

The studentship is supported by the School, and it will cover home tuition fees and provide a stipend of £14,057 per annum for 3.5 years.

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must have ‘settled status’ in the United Kingdom and must have been ‘ordinarily resident’ for the past three years. EU nationals are generally eligible to receive a fees-only award.

It should be noted that other terms may also apply.

Description

Life in the 21st century relies on transistors, as they are fundamental for the automotive, medical, industrial and consumer markets, as well as for the data processing and telecommunication sectors. Since its creation, the transistor has undergone progressive shrinking in size to facilitate faster and smaller electronic devices. However, reducing the transistor’s size below tens of nanometres is currently the main challenge for the industry. In order to continue its scaling new materials and device architectures are required. Modelling and simulations are the most cost effective and shortest time-to-develop, time-to-design and time-to-innovation approach to evaluate these novel material properties and various devices’ geometries.

The main goal of this project is to perform simulations and develop a multi-physics computational framework for evaluation of novel materials and device architecture in order to create the next generation transistor and electronic devices. During the project’s span the Ph.D. student will aim to establish a link between electronic structure of a specific type of molecules and their electron transport properties. The project will also endeavour to answer the question of how different types of molecules would behave under applied bias and will explore the variability and reliability issues in molecular-based devices, eventually providing design solutions and recommendations to improve the existing technology and fabrication process. The ultimate aim is to perform simulations of realistic molecular-based electronic devices, starting from single atoms and going all the way up to the device level.  

The key component of this work is close collaboration with other research groups in the University of Glasgow. Working collaboratively will give the project the opportunity to establish a direct link and correlation between experimental results and simulation observables. A good track record in successful group collaboration is already established in the School and it can be proved by various papers, including the recent paper in Nature (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v515/n7528/abs/nature13951.html).

The ideal candidate will have good computational skills and background in engineering, physics or chemistry. Knowledge of computational methods such as the Density Functional Theory (DFT) and numerical methods is highly advantageous but not mandatory. Programing skills are not required but will be beneficial. The candidate must be self-motivated, interested in conducting interdisciplinary computational and theoretical research and to have good interpersonal skills.

The student will be part of the Device Modelling Group in the University of Glasgow, which is one of the leading semiconductor device groups worldwide. The group is the world leader in 3D simulations of advanced CMOS devices that include different sources of statistical variability.

How to apply

Application for this scholarship is made by using the online system at the following link for admission as a postgraduate research student to the admission team in the Recruitment and International Office.

It should be noted that this application is to gain admission to our PGR programme with the decision on this being based on your academic achievements, and an offer of admission may be sent out before a decision on this Scholarship is made. Candidates applying for this Scholarship will have their applications further vetted as to acceptability to this Scholarship and will most likely have an interview/discussion with the supervisor before any decision is made

Contact: For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact: Vihar.Georgiev@glasgow.ac.uk


Quantum optics at Terahertz frequencies

Supervisor

Dr Matteo Clerici

Description

In the last few decades, we learned how to harness quantum mechanics to overcome fundamental limits in the sensitivity of optical measurements. These developments have so far been limited to the visible and near infrared electromagnetic spectrum.

This project aims at expanding the domain of quantum optics to the Terahertz part of the spectrum, which is an exciting frontier of photonics. This spectral region is a playground for extreme lightmatter interactions and is rich of molecular fingerprints, relevant to security, quality control, and several other applications.

Extending quantum optics to these wavelengths would have a remarkable impact, providing solutions for instance to the limited detection efficiency that currently hampers spectroscopy and imaging.

Differently from visible radiation, the electric field of THz pulses can be directly sampled in time domain, for instance via electro-optical detection. Recording the oscillating THz electric field allows gathering at once all the information stored in the electromagnetic wave. This includes its spectrum, essential for all the fingerprinting applications.

The sensitivity of this approach is currently limited by the corpuscular nature of the probe field (shot-noise), and this limit cannot be overcome with the classical radiation produced, for instance, by lasers. The goal of this project is to go beyond this limit and increase the sensitivity of THz timedomain spectroscopy above the quantum limit.

To this end, we shall rely on research results developed in the last four decades in the field of quantum metrology. Squeezed vacuum, obtained by the parametric amplification of vacuum fluctuations, is one of the most employed non-classical states of radiation. It is used, for instance, to improve the phase measurements beyond the standard quantum limit for the detection of gravitational waves with optical interferometers.

With this project, we shall build and test interferometers for the measurement of the THz electric fields, and we will improve the detection sensitivity with suitable non-classical states.

The Ph.D. candidate will, therefore, have a training on cutting edge ultrafast photonics techniques, and on the fascinating field of quantum metrology.

Contact: For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact: matteo.clerici@glasgow.ac.uk


Integrated opto-electrochemical CMOS sensors chip for minimally invasive and precision diagnostics

Supervisors

Professor David Cumming

Description

Minimally invasive and point of care diagnostic devices are transforming the healthcare industry, by facilitating the use of home-testing to provide an early indication of potential illness and diseases. The development of low-cost and effective consumable biosensors is at the forefront of the research for user-orientated testing. Complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology which has made modern computing and communications possible, has also made an enormous impact on sensing technology for biomedical applications. The Microsystem MST research group at the University of Glasgow is an internationally recognised, multidisciplinary group that has an outstanding track record on the development of CMOS based Integrated Optical and electrochemical sensor platforms for minimally invasive and precision diagnostic devices. In this post, we are seeking an enthusiastic PhD Student to work on developing our next generation multimodal CMOS integrated sensor platform.

The successful candidate will be working on the design and implantation of an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip. The new implemented chip will incorporate an array of optical and electrochemical sensors along with on-chip integrated electrodes and microLEDs. This ASIC will enable measurements such as lifetime fluorescence, pH, Colorimetric, chemiluminescence and electrochemiluminescenc detection. The fabricated chip will be interfaced with bioassays which are developed by the MST group and it collaborators around the UK.

This challenging and exciting project is suitable for a highly motivated UK student with a first class degree in electronic engineering, physics or a related subject.  Knowledge of the design and verification flow of analogue/mixed-signal flow with some experience on use of Cadence design Tool is an advantage. The successful candidate must be an enthusiastic student with willingness to learn and apply new skills on integrated electronic design and integration. You will have an opportunity to work with state-of-the-art CMOS process provided by world leading foundries such as Austria microsystems and Taiwan semiconductors.

Contact: david.cumming.2@glasgow.ac.uk

 


Multiplexed detection of analytes and screening enzyme assays using multicorder CMOS chip

Supervisors

Professor David Cumming

Description

Multiplexed assaying and screening of enzyme based reactions would facilitate with the prognosis of diseases and drug screening in healthcare, in food safety, to monitor environment and in detecting hazardous materials. Multiple sensors integrated on a chip provide possibility to detect multi-analytes from range of enzyme based reactions because of multiple transduction abilities. For multiplexed sensing and screening it is challenging to integrate multiple micro-reactors on a small area of CMOS chip avoiding mixing of reagents and products. To scale up multiplexing, challenges associated with maintaining a trade-off between increasing density of micro-wells on CMOS chip and to keep generous dimensions for micro-wells to allow easy access for the mixing of reagents and for detectable product formations have to be addressed.  Apart from integrating micro-wells on top of CMOS chip, developing surface immobilization technique is key to achieve multiplexed sensing. Addressing issues such as-selective immobilization of enzymes on micro-well surface or on other surface enhancers in micro-wells such as micro-beads or on paper would help enhance to increase multiplexing.

Development of micro-fabrication protocols for micro-well based micro-fluidics, integrating micro-fluidics with CMOS chip and development of novel procedures towards selective immobilization of addressable pixels on encapsulated surface and to increase shelf life of multicorder chip with immobilised enzymes are expected as a part of this project.

Contact David.Cumming.2@glasgow.ac.uk


Integrated technology for diagnostic capsule devices

Supervisor

Professor David Cumming

Description

The traditional ‘gold standard’ for medical diagnosis of disease in the gastro-intestinal tract is the endoscope.  Recent innovation has introduced the video pill which is particularly effective in the small-intestine, and is also less disagreeable to the patient.  We are now working with partners in medicine and medical engineering to produce multimodal diagnostic and therapeutic devices.  Opportunities within this broad field are in integrated circuit engineering, optics and microwave engineering.  The applications for the technology have the potential to be life-changing for patients afflicted with a broad range of intestinal disease, ranging from irritable bowel disease through to cancer. We are therefore looking for talented students who will enjoy working in a highly interdisciplinary environment and have a real desire to engage with medical practitioners. The project will also provide opportunities to publish your research in leading journals and to attend international conferences in the field.

This challenging and exciting project is suitable for a highly motivated UK student with a first class degree in electronic engineering, physics or a related subject.  Prior research experience is particularly valued.


Contact david.cumming.2@glasgow.ac.uk


Metamaterials and nanophotonics for imaging technology

Supervisors

Professor David Cumming
Professor Iain Thayne

Description

New advances in metamaterials and nanophotonics research are making exciting concepts such as invisibility cloaking become achievable.  We are using these same concepts to invent new imaging and sensing technologies by integrating metamaterials and nanophotonics with semiconductor devices.  In so doing we are opening new possibilities for security, medical and environmental imaging and sensing.  In this project the student will join a team of researchers providing expertise in semiconductor device engineering, CMOS chip design and metamaterial engineering.  You will work on nanophotonics and sensor integration in our excellent cleanrooms and will characterise the devices that you make in the laboratories of the Electronics Design Centre.  The project is multidisciplinary in nature and you will have the opportunity to work with industry and academia. The project will also provide opportunities to publish your research in leading journals and to attend international conferences in the field.

This challenging and exciting project is suitable for a highly motivated UK student with a first class degree in electronic engineering, physics or a related subject.  Prior research experience is particularly valued.

Contact david.cumming.2@glasgow.ac.uk


Bioengineered skin for prosthetics interface

Supervisors

Dr Ravinder Dahiya

Description

Significant effort is being devoted worldwide on prosthetics to compensate or restore the loss of sensory functionalities in amputees. The major challenge that need to be overcome to bring a step change in the field related to the interface and integration of advanced prosthetics with amputee's simpatico-motor activity. There is huge scope for engineering research to overcome this bottleneck and to establish linkage between man and machine. In this regard, electronic skin based monitoring of motor activity, particularly the bioengineering of artificial skin with patient specific IPSC, is a promising direction to bridge the gap between electronics and amputee. As the cell functions are known to be highly influenced by the micro and nanoscale topography and the mechanical and electrical behaviour of the bio platform, the question arises if micro and nanoscale engineering together with the tissue specific flexibility of biomaterials could be employed to regenerate engineered skin by differentiating IPSC. This project will investigate this aspect with a larger goal of developing an effective interface for electronic skin with amputees.

The study will involve fabrication of a bendable chitosan membrane with flexibility equivalent to the natural tissues. This functionalised bendable/conformable surface will be used for adhesion, proliferation and differentiation of IPSC. The Skin tissue specific lineage specification during the differentiation process will be achieved by modulating and optimising the flexibility as well as micro-nanoscale topography of the functionalised chitosan membrane. The engineered skin from a patient specific IPSC will be evaluated for its suitability to bridge the gap between amputee and prosthetics.

Contact Ravinder.Dahiya@glasgow.ac.uk 


Energy autonomous electronic skin (I)

Supervisors

Dr Ravinder Dahiya

Description

The flexible electronics in applications such as wearable electronics and robotics require portability of electronic systems and for this purpose energy autonomy of skin is important. Recently we have developed transparent skin based on Graphene (patent pending) and demonstrated energy autonomy of skin by integrating the same on commercial planar solar cells. The light-based energy harvesting devices such as photovoltaics are promising as they lead to sufficient energy for wearable devices. A challenge for current photovoltaics research, for their use in flexible and wearable systems, is posed by the fact they currently they are based on rigid substrates. This project aims to develop a flexible photovoltaic cell based on Si nanostructures and to combine with flexible and transparent touch sensitive layer, resulting in a fully energy autonomous electronic skin.

The aim of this PhD project is to fabricate high-performance photovoltaic cells on flexible substrates by transferring high crystal quality Si nanostructures such as NWs from donor to receiver substrates using different transfer approaches, including mechanically and electrically assisted assembling techniques. The project involves the synthesis of the nanowires. Synthesized nanostructures will be transferred to specific circuit layout designed during the project to build functional photovoltaic structures. Once flexible photovoltaic cells are fabricated, they will be characterized under different bending conditions. The photovoltaic prototype will be tested with a flexible tactile sensitive layer. The structure and composition of the flexible photovoltaic cell will be optimized to generate enough energy to drive a sensitive tactile layer.

Contact Ravinder.Dahiya@glasgow.ac.uk


Energy autonomous electronic skin (II)

Supervisors

Dr Ravinder Dahiya

Description

The flexible electronics in applications such as wearable electronics and robotics require portability of electronic systems and for this purpose energy autonomy is important. For this purpose, thermoelectric, photovoltaics, piezoelectric mechanisms have been explored so far. Another interesting direction is to engineer the structure of substrates and exploit the same to harvest energy. This new area, called triboelectric energy generation, is very attractive level of energy generation is high enough for wearable electronics and allow us to get more from the substrates (so far substrates are largely passive). This project aims to develop a flexible triboelectric generator with larger goal of developing an energy autonomous electronic skin.

The aim of this PhD project is to engineer flexible substrates, define various microscale patterns and use the same to harvest energy. Once flexible energy generator is fabricated, they will be characterized under different bending conditions. The prototype will be tested with a flexible tactile sensitive layer. The structure and composition will be optimized to generate enough energy to drive a sensitive tactile layer.

Contact Ravinder.Dahiya@glasgow.ac.uk


Integrating high efficiency energy conversion materials on flexible substrates

Supervisors

Dr Ravinder Dahiya

Description

Future electronics will be bendable and conformable. Recent technological advances have enabled flexible electronic systems, mainly through exploring organic semiconductors, amorphous and polycrystalline silicon, and more recently also using single crystal silicon to meet high-performance requirements. With mobility in the range of 10–5 to 500 cm2/Vs, these materials have been used to develop devices in thin-film formats on flexible substrates for applications like displays and electronic skin. However, applications with demanding high-frequency and ultra-low power consumption requirements, such as wireless communications in body-area sensor networks require electronics based on materials with much higher mobility. Compound semiconductors with lattice constant around 6.1 A (eg InAs, GaInSb) - the so called "6.1 semiconductors", with mobility greater than 10,000 cm2/Vs are the materials of choice for above applications. This project will investigate the suitability of various compound semiconductor devices as routes to high-frequency (1-10 GHz), low power (<1 mW) flexible electronics. The first activity of the project will be to demonstrate that the high mobility of 6.1 semiconductors can be retained when the materials are transferred to flexible substrates. Next, passive components such as transmission lines realised on 6.1 semiconductors transferred to flexible substrates will be explored at GHz frequencies. Subsequently, transistors and ultimately simple monolithic microwave integrated circuits such as low noise amplifiers, oscillators, switches and mixers, building blocks of ultra-low power radio systems, will be realised. The relative fragility of single crystalline compound semiconductors creates a number of fabrication challenges that must be overcome in order to realise high-speed, flexible transistors and integrated circuits.

The student will receive full training in advanced nanofabrication techniques including dry etch, metal and dielectric deposition, and techniques for printable electronics. In addition, training in high frequency test and measurement, and circuit design will be provided. Working alongside post-doctoral researchers, the student will integrate various process modules to demonstrate high performance devices.

As much of the work of the Glasgow team active in this area is strongly collaborative with leading global industrial and academic partners, the student will have the opportunity to showcase their talents to potential future employers.

Contact Ravinder.Dahiya@glasgow.ac.uk


Development of Flexible Giant MagnetoResistance (GMR) Sensor

Supervisors

Dr Ravinder Dahiya

Description

Over the last decade, advances in the field of flexible electronics have reinvigorated the global electronics industry. The new features such as flexibility, conformability and disposability etc. of this new generation electronics have been made possible with fabrication of electronics directly on non-conventional substrates such as paper and plastic etc. The possibility of having electronics on paper and plastic also opens opportunities for innovative use of electronics in challenging areas such as counterfeit currency.

Magnetic transducers are widely used in modern industry and electronics to sense the magnetic field strength to measure current, position, motion, direction, and other physical parameters. Recent progresses of Giant Magnetic Resistance (GMR) has opened a new opportunity as it allows controlling an electronic device in non-contact mode by means of localized magnetic fields. The GMR sensors are particularly interesting as the resistance of their ferromagnetic layers can be altered by external magnetic field, which can be used to trigger the electronic circuits. The integration of GMR components onto a flexible device requires overcoming several practical challenges. These include relatively lower GMR response compared to rigid counterparts, performance instability due to elastic mismatch when deformed, induced strain effects due to substrate roughness, and higher anisotropy and switching fields of magnetic free layer causing interference with other coupled components etc.

This proposed project will realize GMR sensor on paper surpassing these difficulties and provide a breakthrough towards novel applications such as preventing currency counterfeits. The major goals of the project are (1) synthesize and characterize controlled composition of nanoparticles for example FeCo and Cu (due to FeCo also possesses highest saturation magnetization of 240 emu/g (Ms of Co is 161 emu/g). The excellent soft magnetic property (lower anisotropy), high permeability, high Curie-temperature (>900oC) and magneto-elastic properties) (2) develop GMR by printing multiple alternate layers of the nanoparticles on paper (3) integrate the paper-GMR sensor with other electronic components on flexible substrates and (4) demonstrating the efficacy of proposed system in different applications including the detection of counterfeit currency.

The project will involve designing the synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles and fabrication of GMR sensors using chemical synthesis and printing methods. The synthesis and fabrication part for the ferromagnetic and non-magnetic layers will be done at James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC) at the University of Glasgow. In order to complete the validation, measurement characterization, a magnetic test setup with related flexible PCB will be implemented.

Contact Ravinder.Dahiya@glasgow.ac.uk


Multi-sensors Integrated with Smart Bandage for Wound Monitoring

Supervisors

Dr Ravinder Dahiya

Description

Wound management is a challenging task as the nature of wound, healing process, and the response to diagnostic practices vary with patient. In terms of measurements, the requirement of measuring simultaneously biological analytes and physical parameters at wound site is complicated by the need for the high selectivity and low cross sensitivity for each analyte. The parameters such as pH, glucose, moisture and temperature etc. indicate the wound healing at different stages. The analytical measurement tools for these indicators of wound healing suffer due to the lack of suitable sensors and portability. In this regard, the smart dressing of wounds with 'Smart bandage', having electrochemical biosensors and physical sensors, and the readout electronics will be an interesting development.

This project will develop 'Smart Bandage' to monitor chronic wounds. The proposed smart bandage will have a multi-sensor patch made with metal oxide or Carbon based materials that show antimicrobial and healing effects. The smart bandage will have electronics integrated on a flexible biocompatible substrate for a wireless monitoring application to transmit early warnings for the variations in parameters such as pH, glucose, pressure, moisture and temperature from the wound side. The antimicrobial effects of the sensor materials will also be synergistically studied for their role in the acceleration of healing process.
This project targets to combine the new micro/nanofabrication technology of printable electronics with electrochemical and physical sensors to design a new generation of sensors for medical textiles.

The major goals of this project are (1) to investigate new materials for electrochemical biosensor and physical sensors application (2) develop multi-sensors for wound analysis and (3) develop wearable 'Smart Bandage with multi sensors and flexible electronics for wireless applications. The material synthesis, fabrication and characterization part for the materials and sensors will be done at James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC) at the University of Glasgow.

The final prototype of the wound monitoring sensors is expected to perform a good sensing functionality with high performance, low cost, flexible and wearable with low power consumption.

Contact Ravinder.Dahiya@glasgow.ac.uk


Wearable device for cardiac care

Supervisors

Dr Ravinder Dahiya

Description

With increasing incidence of cardiac diseases, cardiac care, including regular blood pressure (BP) monitoring, is an important area attracting significant attention from Healthcare Systems. This project will develop new non-invasive wearable device for cardiac monitoring through careful analysis of abnormalities in ventricular outflow of the heart. The device will measure the heartbeat, BP and arterial stiffness and analyses the pumping mechanisms of different ventricles of the heart. The device will be fabricated on flexible substrate and is conformable in the form of smart wrist band.

The device will be made from well aligned PVDF coated ultrathin Au nanowires (NW) based nanocomposites. The pressure sensor will work on the principle of electron tunnelling between neighbouring partially coated Au NWs under the application of periodic force in perpendicular direction. The tunnelling current will be based on variation in the PVDF coat thickness on the NW under applied pressure. Suitable electronic circuitry will be designed on flexible chips to electronically filter the desired frequency bandwidth to obtain an output PPW.

The project aims to blend nanotechnology, micro-fabrication of new printable electronics to produce highly sensitive and low cost pressure sensors for clinical applications. The project incorporates novel ways to synthesize Au NW through microwave based synthesis method and transfer printing techniques for device assembly. This doctoral project will help to understand the microwave assisted anisotropic growth kinematics of Au NW and would also investigate on the patterning and deposition of ultrathin Au NW with high aspect ratio.

The Au NW synthesis will be performed at the BEST group laboratory while the fabrication part of the project will be carried out at the JWNC. The mechanical characterization of the device will be performed in BEST laboratory and the validation will be done in consultation of medical experts.

Contact Ravinder.Dahiya@glasgow.ac.uk


Modelling and Simulations of Single Electron Devices for Portable Metrology Standard

Supervisors

Dr Vihar Georgiev
Professor Douglas Paul

Description

Single electron transistors (SETs) use the Coulomb blockade to control the flow of electrons one at a time. While the low gain restricts the use of such devices in circuits, SETs are extremely sensitive charge detectors (electrometers). Therefore SETs can be used to probe small molecules or electron transport in small transistors. Further applications include a new current standard, the non-invasive detection of quantum states for read out in quantum computation and the detection and imaging of objects through walls for security applications.

This project will be based on developing a methodology and performing computational simulations of different types of SETs based on silicon technology and small molecules. The project aims to establish a link between how quantum mechanical effects in these devices control the flow of electrons in SETs. This work is based on close collaboration with the group of Prof Douglas Paul, the leading expert in the field. The vision is to simulate various architectures and types of devices in order to evaluate and to predict the critical design parameters for the fabrication process.

The ideal candidate will have good computational skills and a background in engineering, physics or chemistry. Knowledge of computational methods, such as Density Functional Theory (DFT) and numerical methods, is highly advantageous but not mandatory. Programing skills are not required but will be beneficial. Also, the candidate must be self-motivated, interested in conducting interdisciplinary computational and theoretical research and to have good interpersonal skills.

The student will be part of the Device Modelling Group in the University of Glasgow, which is perhaps the largest specialised semiconductor device group in academia worldwide. The group is the world leader in 3D simulations of advanced CMOS devices that include different sources of statistical variability. The group is listed among the five leading Electronic Materials and Devices Centres according to EPSRC funding in the ICT Programme Landscape (2008) documents.

Contact: Vihar.Georgiev@glasgow.ac.uk


Mid infrared single photon detection with superconducting detectors

Supervisors

Professor Robert Hadfield

Description

The ability to detect single quanta of light - photons - underpins a host of emerging 21st century technologies in communications, remote sensing and medicine. Detection of single photons at mid infrared wavelengths is particularly challenging - off-the-shelf semiconductor devices do not exist. In this PhD project you will investigate and optimise superconducting single photon detectors for the mid infrared range. Using the state-of-the-art facilities of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre you will fabricate ultranarrow nanowires based on superconducting materials. You will characterize these devices using the advanced low temperature and infrared test facilities of the Quantum Sensors group. You will tailor these advices for applications such as mid infrared single photon LIDAR and remote sensing of greenhouse gases, and carry out exploratory projects with industry partners through the QUANTIC quantum technology hub.

This project is suitable for a talented and motivated student with a strong background in engineering, physics or materials science.

http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/engineering/research/divisions/ene/researchthemes/opto/quantumsensors/
http://www.jwnc.gla.ac.uk/
https://quantic.ac.uk/

Contact: Robert.hadfield@glasgow.ac.uk


On-chip detectors for mid infrared integrated photonics

Supervisors

Professor Robert Hadfield

Description

Over the past decades integrated photonics has revolutionized the applications of optics, shrinking high quality optical components to microchip scale. The move from near to mid infrared platforms is opening up new frontiers in on-chip spectroscopy and information processing. In this project you will develop novel on-chip superconducting detectors integrated with mid infrared waveguide circuits. These advanced devices, with sensitivity down to the single photon level, have the potential open up new horizons in astronomy and optical quantum computing.  You will design and fabricate devices, using advanced simulation tools and the state-of-the-art facilities of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre. You will characterize these detectors and circuits using the advanced facilities of the Quantum Sensors Group.

This project is suitable for a talented and motivated student with a strong background in engineering, physics or materials science.

http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/engineering/research/divisions/ene/researchthemes/opto/quantumsensors/
http://www.jwnc.gla.ac.uk/

Contact: Robert.hadfield@glasgow.ac.uk


Adaptable Energy Harvesting Wireless Power Management for Internet of Things

Supervisor

Dr Hadi Heidari

Description

The Internet of Things (IoT) is now a seemingly-omnipresent term. It is envisaged that there will be 25 billions of permanently connected things by 2020, and some years later 10 trillion connected sensors. Many of these “things” will be battery operated and will require several years of battery life. The possibilities of such a connected world with billions of wirelesses communicating devices needs an energy harvesting electronics design. It is based on collecting very small amounts of energy from the ambient sources. The harvested energy is used in order to feed low power circuits such as wireless sensors network (WSN).

Current power management systems typically reduce performance of the communication network or result in small power savings. However, as some components in the system may be unused or clocked at higher frequencies than needed, some power savings can be achieved by dynamic management of flexible hardware.

This project targets to design an on-chip power management unit for sensor nodes in a WSN. In this regards DC-DC converters are critical building blocks in energy harvesting systems which are applied to provide the energy for the IoT. They are required to meet very strict specifications and consume as less power as possible. Therefore, the communication network is most power efficient when the circuit building blocks operate just below the saturation point. For any given traffic load the network can be operated in this region by adjusting frequency and voltage. In this regards, their power conversion efficiency and stability of the functionality in the varying environment become the major considerations in this project, the target of which is to design a DC-DC converter for energy harvesting applications.

This project will design, fabricate and test a boost DC-DC converter. This will cover research from transistor-level implementation to the layout design and validation in a communication network for IoT application. The building blocks’ circuitry of a boost DC-DC converter will be implemented in a standard CMOS technology. The final prototype is expected to work in an adaptive environment with high performance, autonomous low voltage and ultra- low power consumption.

For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Hadi Heidari.


Miniaturizing Electronics for Microultrasound Applications

Supervisor

Dr Hadi Heidari

Description

Ultrasound is a powerful tool for non-invasive monitoring of the body and sonography has a decades-long track record in medical imaging. Features such as blood flow, tissue elasticity and anatomy can be quickly computed based on the time-of-flight of ultrasonic echoes. However, many current ultrasonic systems are expensive, bulky, highly complex, and power-hungry. A typical ultrasound system consists of transmitter (TX) and receiver (RX) building blocks. On the TX side, a combination of a beamforming chip, a high-voltage (HV) pulser, and HV supplies are used to drive a transducer array. On the RX side, a dedicated front-end circuit is used with HV isolation switches to prevent any TX feedthrough, preamplifiers, variable gain amplifiers (VGAs) and analogue to digital converters (ADCs) to amplify and digitize the data for digital processing of the received echoes.

Conventional ultrasonic front-end electronics employ discrete chipsets which include components which are too bulky (e.g. AD8331 preamplifier with VGA is 8.6 mm x 6 mm) to be placed in a compact ultrasound capsule (30 mm x 10 mm) with many channels (>100). The alternative is a custom application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designed for ultrasonic front-end functions, requiring less area and suitable for spatially-constrained microultrasound capsules, needles and other form factors. This project will focus on the design, fabrication and characterization of a low-power successive approximation register analog-to-digital convertor (SAR ADC) to integrate it in the block diagram of an ultrasound system built around custom ASICs. In the project, a high resolution (10 - 12 bit) and ultralow power (µW - nW range) ADC will be designed in HV 0.18 µm CMOS AMS technology and will be fabricated in an external foundry through Europractice. The final prototype of the proposed device is expected to work in an adaptive environment with high performance, low voltage and ultra-low power consumption.

For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Hadi Heidari.


Wearable Magnetic Sensors on Bendable Ultra-Thin Si Chips

Supervisor

Dr Hadi Heidari

Description

Future electronics are bendable, conformable and stretchable enable new applications such as electronic textiles, robotic skin, implantable electronics, flexible displays. Current solution of CMOS Sensors such as capacitive, magnetic, image etc. made from conventional silicon wafers suffer from lack of bendability and associated inability to withstand physical stress such as bending. In this regards, Sensors on Ultra-thin silicon chips on flexible polymeric foils is a promising candidate. This will be accomplished through post-processing steps such as wafer thinning, dicing, and transferring the thinned chips to flexible polymeric foils.

This project targets to combine the new nanofabrication technology of printable electronics with conventional magnetic CMOS sensors (e.g. Hall Sensor and Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR)) to design a new generation of magnetic sensors and memories.

The aim is to fabricate a wearable magnetic sensor based on giant magnetoresistance (GMR) that can be utilized for flexible electronics applications. The project will involve designing the basic physical layout of the sensor and simulate the design with the Finite Element Method (FEM) using COMSOL Multiphysics. The fabrication part for the ferromagnetic and non-magnetic layers will be done at James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC) at the University of Glasgow. The fabricated magnetic sensors are transferred to a flexible ultra-thin chip. In order to complete the validation, measurement characterization, a magnetic test setup with related PCB will be implemented.

The final prototype of the magnetic sensors is expected to perform a good sensing functionality with high performance, lightweight, flexible and wearable with low power consumption. This sensor can be used for soft robotics and smart skin with focus on healthcare monitoring.

For an informal discussion or for further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Hadi Heidari.


High power, narrow linewidth and low noise single-mode 1550 nm DFB laser

Supervisor

Dr Lianping Hou

Description

High power, narrow linewidth and low noise single mode InP-based diode lasers operating in the 1550 nm wavelength range have important telecommunication applications as transmitters and as WDM pump sources for C- and L-band Raman amplifiers. They are also desirable for spectroscopy, remote sensing, free-space communications, eye-safe laser-based radar, and night vision.

For a DFB laser, in order to decease the linewidth Δν, it is desirable to reduce internal loss (α0), spontaneous emission factor (nsp), and linewidth enhancement factor (α), and increasing laser cavity length (L) and total output power(P0), while maintaining the optimum κL (κ, index coupling coefficient) because larger values of κL cause mode instability owing to spatial hole burning (SHB). Simultaneously, high power devices often experience a linewidth rebroadening due to SHB, which can limit the maximum output power.

Most of the high power DFB lasers available are based on the conventional distributed feedback (DFB) fabrication technology, in which fairly complicated etch and regrowth steps are deployed to complete the epitaxy of the laser structure after grating definition. However, those based on the laterally-coupled gratings proposed here offer several advantages, including a simple regrowth-free fabrication process that enables the use of Al-containing epitaxial structures. Until now, all the reported laterally-coupled 1.55 μm DFB lasers have shown operation with a relatively low output power (<100 mW), and there have been few narrow linewidth (<200 kHz) devices reported.

In this project, we will investigate the factors that limit the output power and stability of single longitudinal modes in laterally-coupled AlGaInAs/InP DFB lasers. We will use the AlGaInAs/InP material system because of its better performance at high operating temperatures than that of InGaAsP/InP. We will design a wafer structure to decrease the internal losses and increase the saturation energy. The waveguide will be designed to decrease the vertical divergence angle and so increase the coupling coefficient into a single mode fiber. We will also optimize the value ultimately to realise high power narrow linewidth single-mode 1550 nm DFB lasers.

The aims of this project:

  1. Fibre coupled power of >100 mW at 1550 nm from an AlGaInAs/InP DFB laser with ultra-narrow linewidth (<100 kHz) and single transverse mode at a temperature of 70oC.
  2. Monolithically integrated eight-channel AlGaInAs/InP DFB laser array feeding a multiplexer followed by a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) delivering an output power as high as 100 mW at a temperature of 70oC.

Contact: Lianping.Hou@glasgow.ac.uk


Low noise optically controlled THz phased array antenna system

Supervisor

Dr Lianping Hou

Description

Terahertz (100 GHz to 10 THz) radiation has applications in many fields such as spectroscopy, security, and imaging and has gained intense interest in recent years. For the realization of these applications, powerful THz emitters are essential. Different types of emitters have been studied, but they all have limitations in tenability, or require a cryogenic environment, or are very expensive. Although THz wave generation technology research has made remarkable progress, at present we still lack sources with low cost, high efficiency, compact size, room temperature operation, high power, which inevitably seriously limits the applications of THz technology in daily life and scientific research.

Uni-Travelling-Carrier (UTC) Photodiodes, which can be integrated with thin film THz antennas, is another kind of THz emitter, which has the advantage of room temperature working, continuous wave operation and compact size. However, their output power is limited due to the available frequency bandwidth. To further increase the maximum output power, an array of THz antennas can be used. The power of several mutually coherent emitters can be combined, and the output THz peak intensity can be increased by N2 instead of N, where N is the number of the antennas. In this project, a low noise optically controlled THz phased array antenna system will be studied. A novel chip, which monolithically integrates a thin film THz antenna array, photodiode array, semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) array and optical beamformer, will be fabricated. The integration of the SOA helps to avoid deterioration of the quality of the THz emission resulting from non-uniform pump of array elements, and can enhance the pump power effectively at the same time. The integration of the photodiode array, the SOA array and the beamformer will be realized by the asymmetric twin waveguide (ATG) technique. For the low loss passive waveguide fabrication, we can use our quantum well intermixing (QWI) technique. The pump laser source and can be a 1.55 µm SG-DBR MLL with 640 GHz and 1.28 THz modulation frequencies which have been recently developed by my group. Due to the coherence of the THz MLLs, the phase noise of the THz emission will be greatly reduced.

Compared with conventional THz emitters, there are several advantages of the THz TW-UTC-PD integrated antenna arrays. These can be summarized as:

  1. Miniature
  2. High peak intensities 
  3. High spatial resolution
  4. THz beam steering

Contact: Lianping.Hou@glasgow.ac.uk


Communications with a twist

Supervisor

Dr Martin Lavery

Description

The devices we use on a daily basis place huge strain on the communication networks we rely on for almost every component of our digitally connected lives. Network connected appliances, from coffee machines to lightbulbs are becoming commonplace and not purely something from our favourite Sci-fi TV show. All of this connected technology is moving us towards the Internet of Things. This new internet landscape will require fundamental structural changes in the network tools used to link homes and businesses, and potential redesigns of the network architecture. Bridging the gap between fundamental physics and engineering will allow for development of novel proof of concept systems to address these challenges.

As a member of the Structured Photonics Research Group, you will be exploring the development of next generation technology focused on delivering multiplicative capacity boosts to the last mile portion of our communications networks. These last-mile links are those that connect our homes to the larger network, and are the most challenging area of the network to upgrade due to the larger number of branched connections. An optical property known as Orbital Angular Momentum will be used as a method to multiplex data carrying signals over the communications link offering a large boost to the achievable data rates. The project will involve both fundamental studies of the behaviour of this optical property, along with the development of technology allowing this property to be implemented into potential commercially available devices. Beyond these devices use within communications, there will be a focus on implementing this technology into other areas such as sensing, imaging and medical devices.

This project is in Partnership with Intel, Corning Inc, the Max-Planck Institute Erlangen and the City College of New York. During the length of the PhD travel will be expected to support the activities being carried out by the project partners.

Contact: martin.lavery@glasgow.ac.uk


High brightness laser diode with 2D optical beam steering

Supervisor

Prof John Marsh

Description

High power, single-frequency and quasi-single-spatial-mode semiconductor lasers operating at wavelengths around 1.55 µm are essential components for many applications such as Raman pumps for fibre communication systems, spectroscopy, remote sensing, free-space communications, eye-safe laser-based radar (LIDAR), and wavelength conversion in nonlinear materials. Recently techniques have been developed based on seeding arrays of semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) from a single laser, to generate output beams that can be combined coherently. However, the coherent beam combination (CBC) diodes reported before have had shortcomings, such as overall system size and cost, and require complex optical architectures.

We will use a simple, scalable monolithically integrated approach comprising a tuneable 1.55 µm distributed feedback (DFB) laser feeding several stages of multi-mode interference couplers (MMIs) and semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) to deliver a high power beam with a low divergence angle with a clear coherent interference far-field pattern (FFP).

The Brightness of a laser beam is defined as: 

B=P/(AΩ)

where P is the optical output power, A the emitting area and Ω the solid angle into which the power is emitted. It is impossible to increase the Brightness by combining beams from separate sources using passive optical components, but optical amplifiers do increase brightness. At high powers, the light in semiconductor lasers and amplifiers degrades into multi-mode beams, and single mode operation can only be sustained to a few Watts at best. However, if we use a parallel array of amplifiers and feed them from a common source, the light in the amplifiers will be mutually coherent. The individual beams can now be combined into a single beam using passive optical components, made possible because of the mutual coherence of the light in the amplifiers. The Brightness will therefore be increased.

The phase of the light at output of an optical amplifier can be controlled by changing the drive current to the amplifier. We can therefore control the direction of the main beam in the far-field in one dimension. To scan the beam in a second direction, we will tune the wavelength of the laser diode and couple the light out of the array using a diffraction grating. Two-dimensional beam-steering can therefore be achieved where the axis parallel to the waveguides is tuned with wavelength and the axis perpendicular to the waveguides is tuned by phase-tuning the individual channel.

The final innovative and important step is to stabilize of the output power and particularly the phase of the output from the SOA array. This motivates the development of electronic control system to maintain the required relative phase in each amplifier and so stabilize the output laser power into a single lobed beam. The control system is therefore required to change iteratively the set of drive currents to the amplifier stages to maximise output power. The amplifier gain is largely set by a fixed DC bias, with small changes imposed by the control system. The effective controlled gain change is due to a phase modulation of the amplifier gain which results in a periodic variation in total output power for each driven amplifier due to interference control of the mode structure in the combiner. We will implement simple algorithms to give the required control.

The aims of this project:

  1. Fibre coupled power of >500 mW at 1550 nm from a DFB laser with ultra-narrow linewidth (<100 kHz) and high beam quality (i.e. beam quality factor M2 close to unity)
  2. InP photonic integrated circuit for either 1D or 2D beam steering as a eye-safe laser based radar
  3. Develop electronic control system to stabilize the output power and tune the phase of the output SOA arrays

Contact: John.Marsh@glasgow.ac.uk


Development of nano-scale diamond electronic devices for future space technologies

Supervisor

Dr David Moran

Description

Diamond is a fantastic material system for use in many cutting edge applications, including future generation high performance electronic components. The unique properties of diamond deem it ideal for the development of robust electronic systems for operation in extreme and hazardous environments such as for future satellite technologies, extra-terrestrial planetary exploration and long-haul space missions.

The student on this PhD project will work with high quality diamond material to develop stable electronic devices to meet the performance requirements of these space-based applications. This will involve working in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre to create and test the diamond devices. The student will gain experience in Nanotechnology and a range of nanofabrication and testing techniques as part of this process to reduce the devices to as small a size as possible to improve their operation and performance. Further information on the diamond nano-device work undertaken within the JWNC is described in the following media coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-18273712

Students applying for this project should ideally possess a degree or equivalent in Electronic Engineering, Physics or Chemistry and have some background understanding in solid state physics and/or semiconductor devices.

For further details contact Dr David Moran (David.Moran@glasgow.ac.uk).


New doping processes for diamond for electronic, sensing and quantum applications

Supervisors

Dr David Moran

Description

Diamond possesses a range of amazing properties that make it an exciting new material system for use in a range of electronic, sensing and quantum applications. Some of these properties include high electron charge mobility to make extremely fast switching devices, the ability to tolerate very high voltages, extremely high thermal conductivity, radiation hardness, biocompatibility for bioelectronic devices, a range of quantum point defects for quantum computing and single photon applications and superconductivity at cryogenic temperatures.

This PhD project is joint between the Schools of Engineering and Chemistry and will focus on developing new processes to dope diamond to unlock its electronic potential as a high-performance semiconductor. This will involve hands on processing of diamond material in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre combined with the use of various spectroscopy and analytical techniques to characterize the electrical, chemical and physical properties of the diamond.

This project is ideally suited to students with a background in chemistry or physics, though would also be appropriate for electrical engineering students with a good knowledge in the area of semiconductors.

For further details contact Dr David Moran (David.Moran@glasgow.ac.uk).


Diamond nano-mechanical resonant systems for sensing and material analysis

Supervisor

Dr David Moran

Description

The various extreme properties of diamond (such as its extremely high Young’s modulus) make it an ideal material for the production of many types of mechanical systems. Nano-scale diamond based resonant systems in particular should be able to achieve higher operating frequencies than other materials and can operate in extreme environments, e.g. at very high temperatures. This makes diamond of great interest for a range of sensing applications including ultra-fine mass measurement and the characterisation of the very high frequency materials’ mechanical properties.

The student on this PhD project will work on the development, design and fabrication of advanced nano and micro-scale devices using high quality diamond material. This will involve working with the Nano-electronic Diamond Devices and Systems group (http://nedds.co.uk/) and in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre to create and test the diamond devices. The student will gain experience in Nanotechnology and a range of nanofabrication and testing techniques as part of this process and benefit from a variety of highly supportive research environments existing at the University of Glasgow. The multidisciplinary nature of the research project will also provide the student with the opportunity to build up an outstanding academic curriculum vitae with significant experience in the fields of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics.

For further details contact Dr David Moran (David.Moran@glasgow.ac.uk)


Microfabricated ion traps with integrated optical control for atomic clocks and quantum computers

Supervisor

Professor Douglas Paul

Description

Microfabricated devices for the confinement and exquisite control of atomic particles are set to feature as essential core components in a range of quantum-enabled instrumentation. Applications of these devices are in atomic clocks and sensors, for use in precision positioning, navigation and timing. Furthermore, these chip-scale devices will be used for research in high-precision quantum metrology and have been proposed as a building block for quantum simulators and quantum computers. The aim of this project is to develop next-generation devices with enhanced performance characteristics, well-suited to these applications.

The UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has developed novel chip-scale ion traps which are made using advanced microfabrication techniques, with the facilities at Glasgow's James Watt Nanofabrication Centre (JWNC). The microtrap device is a MEMS structure which, under the application of a radiofrequency high voltage, creates a linear array of segmented trapping potentials for storing strings of atomic ions. Irradiation by laser light cools the ions and controls their behaviour. Uniquely, the device combines a 3D structure with a parallel fabrication process, to exhibit a set of operating characteristics that is highly desirable for applications in atomic quantum technology.

At present all ion traps have bulk optical components for the laser cooling and optical control of the ions. This project has the aim to develop integrated optical components for laser cooling and the control of the quantum states of the ions in the taps. This will require the development of integrated on-chip laser delivery into the traps and providing high Q optical cavities to allow control of the quantum properties of single and multiple interacting ions in the traps.

Research and development in the microfabrication process will be conducted in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre. Testing and application of devices will be performed in partnership with NPL in Teddington, London thus providing a secondment opportunity.

Contact Douglas.Paul@glasgow.ac.uk


Near and Mid-Infrared Single Photon Detectors for Rangefinding

Supervisor

Professor Douglas Paul

Description

Time correlated single photon detection enables a photon to be sent and the time it takes to return to be recorded. From this measurement and knowing the speed of light, the distance the photon has travelled can be calculated which is a technique known as rangefinding. There are many applications of rangefinding which include 3D imaging and seeing around corners but also it is a key technology for the navigation of autonomous vehicles so they do not bump into objects around them. Rangefinders are also important for road vehicles and one major application in the automotive industry is for sensors to determine if a car might crash so that the driver can be warned or preventative measures can be undertaken. The technology could also be used in digital and mobile phone cameras for autofocusing.

This project aims to develop the key device required for rangefinding at the important eye-safe wavelengths of 1.55 µm but also investigate longer wavelengths where the technology could be used for direct gas identification and imaging. The project will involve designing Ge and GeSn materials on a silicon substrate as the absorber layers for single photon detectors before fabricating a range of different single photon detectors and then testing them. At present all room temperature commercially available single photon detectors at this wavelength rely on expensive InGaAs technology which is too expensive for consumer markets and has US export controls. This project is aiming to develop much cheaper technology on a silicon platform that could be mass produced in silicon foundries.

The student should have an undergraduate degree in Physics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering or an equivalent degree. They will design devices and be working in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre to build the devices before testing the devices.

Contact Douglas.Paul@glasgow.ac.uk


A Single Chip Atomic Clock

Supervisor

Professor Douglas Paul

Description

Atomic clocks are the most accurate timing system yet developed. They are used as timing standards essential for the internet and communications but also are essential for navigation and part of the key technology in satellites for GPS navigation. There are many other potential applications for financial trading and GPS-free personal navigation if a cheap, practical, miniature atomic clock can be realised. The US National Institute for Standards and Technology developed a chip scale atomic clock in the 2000s which has an accuracy of nanoseconds using a heated rubidium vapour in a miniature gas cell whose accuracy is limited by the velocity of the atoms in the gas through Doppler broadening.

This project has the aim of producing a single chip cold atom atomic clock where lasers are used to Doppler cool atoms to milliKelvin temperatures to enable a chip scale atomic clock with a sub-picosecond accuracy. The project will integrate diode lasers with integrated waveguides, a Micromechanical Mechanical Electrical Microsystem (MEMS) gas cell, photodetectors and high Q resonators to deliver an atomic clock.

The student should have an undergraduate degree in Physics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering or an equivalent degree. They will design devices and be working in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre to build the devices before testing the devices. The work will be collaborative with the companies M Squared Lasers, Kelvin Nanotechnology and Optocap as part of an InnovateUK Quantum Technology project.

Contact Douglas.Paul@glasgow.ac.uk 


Non-linear plasmonics for security and healthcare sensors

Supervisor

Professor Douglas Paul

Description

Plasmons are the quantum quasi-particle formed from the oscillations of electrons in a metal with respect to the fixed positive ions. When plasmons interact with light they form polaritons and the combined plasmon-polaritons can be used to amplify the absorption fingerprints of molecules leading to sensors that can identify different molecules. This identification of molecules has many applications for gas detectors, environmental monitoring (e.g. measuring carbon dioxide and pollutants), security detectors (e.g. detection of explosives or bioweapons) and healthcare detectors (e.g. early stage oncology detection). The molecular absorption fingerprint lines from most of the interesting molecules for the above applications lie in the mid-infrared so cheap and practical sources of radiation and detectors are not readily available despite the enormous potential.

Work at Glasgow has already demonstrated mid-infrared detection and identification of explosives using heavily doped n-Ge plasmonic antennas on a silicon substrate. The technology has the potential to be mass produced cheaply in silicon foundries and operates best in the mid-infrared. This project has the aim of integrating detectors and non-linear mixing elements to develop complete sensors that just require a mid-infrared source such as a quantum cascade laser or a cheap blackbody heater. Heterostructures of Ge/SiGe to form Ge quantum wells will be used for intersubband detection of the mid-infrared radiation and by coupling the light to the anti-crossings in the quantum wells, non-linear interactions will be generated that will tune the detection wavelength thereby allowing tunable detection of many different molecular bonds at different wavelengths.

The student should have an undergraduate degree in Physics, Electronic and Electrical Engineering or an equivalent subject. They will design devices and be working in the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre to build the devices before testing the devices.

Contact Douglas.Paul@glasgow.ac.uk 


Atomic layer deposition and etching for GaN power and RF electronics

Supervisor

Prof Iain Thayne

Description

This project, in partnership with Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology Ltd is associated with exploring the role of plasma based atomic layer etching and deposition in the realisation of high efficiency GaN power and RF electronic devices. The project will be part of an EPSRC funded Programme Grant led by the University of Bristol in the area of integrated GaN-diamond electronics.

Extensive use will be made of the plasma processing capabilities of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at the University of Glasgow.

Atomic layer etching is an emerging approach to the controlled and uniform removal of semiconductor materials with sub-nanometric precision. It is a vital enabling technology for future generations of energy efficient electronic devices. Glasgow University have been pioneering the use of this technique in GaN power electronics devices in the last 18 months. Atomic layer deposition is a well known technique for the controlled deposition of dielectrics and metals, where again, Glasgow has been playing a leading role in recent times. The student will gain training in all relevant aspects of nanofabrication relevant to the project, with emphasis on plasma processing techniques. The successful candidate will be embedded in a strong research team, and encouraged to work collaboratively with partners in the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff and Birmingham as well as with Oxford instruments Plasma Technology Ltd engineers and scientists.

Contact: Iain.Thayne@glasgow.ac.uk


Compact Terahertz Camera

Supervisor

Dr Edward Wasige

Description

Research into terahertz (THz) radiation has burgeoned in the last decade. The interest has been stimulated by the unique properties of THz rays; they can penetrate materials such as plastics, paper and many organic compounds, including human tissue without the hazards or potential dangers associated with ionising radiation such as x-rays. Furthermore, THz may be used to identify specific materials via their characteristic spectra, including explosives, hazardous chemicals, drugs and DNA, as molecular rotations and vibrations occur in this wavelength range. Accordingly THz imaging has found applications in areas such as security, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, automotive, materials science and non-destructive testing.

This project aims at developing a novel, low cost, energy-efficient and compact THz camera. This will be pursued through the exploitation of Resonant Tunnelling Diode (RTD) devices which represent the fastest pure solid-state electronic devices operating at room temperature with reported working frequencies exceeding 1 THz. The project aims at realising RTD oscillator sources at 300 GHz and 600 GHz with output powers to over 1 mW and to demonstrate the use of these in single pixel imaging systems.

Contact Edward.Wasige@glasgow.ac.uk


High Efficiency Sources for Short Range Radar Systems

Supervisor

Dr Edward Wasige

Description

Short range radar systems as used today in anti-collision avoidance systems in vehicles or in non-destructive testing applications predominantly use Gunn diodes. These diodes are robust devices even though their efficiency is low, usually under a few percent, and therefore require significant heat sinking. As a consequence, these systems can only run from heavy duty large batteries or off the mains.  The diodes are also not amenable to planar circuit implementation and so the sources in implemented in 'bulky' waveguide technology.

This PhD project aims at developing a novel, low cost, energy-efficient and compact millimetre-wave sources, capable of enabling the next generation radar systems. This will be pursued through the exploitation of resonant tunnelling diode (RTD) technology. The project aims at increasing the RTD oscillator output power to over 10 mW at frequencies in the W-band (75-110 GHz) through device and improved circuit design and implementation, and in collaboration with an industrial partner demonstrate their use in a basic radar system.

Contact: Edward.Wasige@glasgow.ac.uk


Very High Temperature Electronics

Supervisor

Dr Edward Wasige

Description

Wide bandgap semiconductor devices based on silicon carbide (SiC), gallium nitride (GaN) or diamond are capable of uncooled operation beyond 300°C and their recent emergence is opening up new applications in electronics and sensors in several industrial sectors. These include electric or hybrid vehicles in which the reduction in cooling requirements will make the secondary cooling for the inverter redundant, aerospace engine electronics which can be located closer to the engines reducing the cabling/weight, and in underground operations such as drilling for gas or oil where ambient temperature reach 300°C at 12 km below the earth's surface. Significant effort has already been committed to the development of these semiconductor technologies for power switching applications at room temperature for a low carbon economy.

This PhD project aims to establish basic device and packaging technologies for gallium nitride (GaN) power electronics for 300°C ambient temperature operation.

Contact: Edward.Wasige@glasgow.ac.uk