The University of Southampton

Coherent Optical Signals

This group is led by Professor Radan Slavik and it is part of the Advanced Fibre Technologies & Applications Group led by Professor David J Richardson.

Group webpage

All PhD Projects: 

  • Entry Requirements: A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent) in physics or a related discipline. 
  • Funding: Full tuition plus, for UK students, an enhanced stipend of £20,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. Limited funding for international applicants may be available. Overseas students who have secured or are seeking external funding are also welcome to apply.
  • How to apply: Applications should be made online
  • Closing date: Applications are accepted throughout the year and several start dates throughout the year are possible. Applications for the typical Sept./Oct. 2023 start should be received no later than 31 August 2023.


Ultra-stable Hollow core fibre photonics

Supervisory team: Professor Radan SlavikProf Francesco Poletti, Dr Eric Numkam Fokoua

We are looking for candidates with an interest in fibre optics and a degree or masters’ degree in physics or electronics to join us in researching the applications of brand new hollow core optical fibres developed at the University of Southampton. The successful candidate will have significant interaction with the fibre design and manufacturing teams, as well as with potential ‘end user’ groups, including the National Physical Laboratory in London and several companies in the fields of fibre optic sensing and optical communications, for example. 

Here in the Optoelectronics Research Centre, at the University of Southampton, radically different, new-generation optical fibres are being designed and manufactured. The unique properties of these ‘hollow core’ optical fibres means they surpass the traditional glass-core fibres used today in virtually every aspect. However, their performance can be further improved (‘tailored to a specific application’) via their design. The core of the project lies in research work with such ‘tailored’ hollow core fibres.

A signal propagating through an optical fibre is generally considered to be immune to the external environment and associated disturbances. However, this is only true in terms of the signal intensity (power) – the time signal needs to propagate through the fibre depends on environmental changes like temperature variations. Hollow core fibres perform significantly better in this particular property than today fibres. With further design and engineering, we have reduced it even further, which is critical in many fibre systems such as:

  • Interferometry (widely used in any field of optics, including quantum technologies),
  • Ultra-precise time/frequency transfer, for instance, to support improvement of the already most-precisely defined units like second and meter,
  • Next-generation data networks, such as 6G. 

Low sensitivity to external environment is only one of numerous examples, where hollow core fibres excel. This property will, however, be in the centre of the successful candidate PhD research work.


Physics and applications of optical combs and pulsed lasers

Supervisory Team: Prof. Radan Slavik, Prof. David J. Richardson

Using recent developments in laser and frequency conversion it has become possible to produce laser sources providing a comb of spectral lines with spectral frequencies accurate to parts in a thousand, million, million. Such combs have revolutionised the accuracy with which time, frequency and distance can be measured and are opening a host of new device and application opportunities. 

The ORC has a state of the art comb laser system and is investigating uses across a range of application sectors including high frequency waveform synthesis, optical sensing, and metrology. We are offering a PhD position in the area of comb technology, which will involve working on the various ongoing projects that we are running. The project would suit applicants with an interest in ultrafast lasers/nonlinear optics and/or ultrahigh precision measurements. 


Opto-mechanical properties of emerging hollow core optical fibres

Supervisory TeamProf. Radan Slavik, Dr. Eric Numkam Fokoua, Prof. Francesco Poletti

At the Optoelectronics Research Centre, we are leading the world in developing a new generation of optical fibres that promise a revolution in applications ranging from optical communications to ultraprecise optical sensors.  Our hollow-core optical fibres harness some truly intriguing physics to guide light in an air-filled core region over tens of kilometres distance and are now rivalling and outperforming standard optical fibres in many aspects. However, their transformative potential in many areas remain largely unexplored.  This project’s objectives are to study the response (or the lack thereof) of hollow-core fibres to external stimuli such as vibrations and sound waves and establish in which fields of science and engineering this can address shortcoming of existing optical fibres. 

Applications are welcome from candidates with a background in mathematics, physics and engineering. We are looking for enthusiastic applicants that are keen to join a vibrant environment and looking to make a difference. You will be working within a group of world-renowned scientists at the forefront of research into an exciting technology and have access to state-of-the art fibre manufacture facilities and top-class optical laboratories.


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