The University of Southampton

Boost your career with a PhD in high power visible lasers  

Why do a PhD at the Optoelectronics Research Centre?

  • Be part of a world leading research institute: The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton is one of the world’s leading research institutes in laser science and photonics.
  • Boost your career: A PhD here has enabled graduates to make successful careers in academia, in national scientific laboratories, and as scientists or business leaders in industry.
  • Make new and unique discoveries: ORC researchers have made pioneering advances in high power fibre lasers and solid-state lasers that currently have widespread use in industrial applications.

 What it’s like to do a PhD at the ORC

 All PhD projects:

  • FundingFor UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £23,600 tax-free per annum for up to 4 years.
  • Entry Requirements. Applicants should have a first class or a good upper-second class degree (or the equivalent) in physics, engineering or a related discipline.
  • Closing date: Applications are accepted throughout the year. The start date will typically be late September, but other dates are possible.
  • Further information can be obtained from Professor Andy Clarkson at the Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton (email: wac@orc.soton.ac.uk).
  • Apply online here.

 

Power scaling strategies for continuous-wave and short pulse fibre lasers operating in the two-micron wavelength band

Supervisors: Prof Andy Clarkson and Dr Jacob Mackenzie

Two-micron fibre laser technology has the potential to yield a wealth of new applications in areas such as industrial laser processing, medicine, defence and optical communications.  Moreover, significant power scaling advantages can be gained by moving from traditional ytterbium-doped fibre lasers operating in the one-micron band to the two-micron band. The main focus of this project will be to create a world leading power-scalable two-micron fibre laser platform based on thulium and holmium-doped fibres for operation in continuous-wave and pulsed regimes. The research programme will study the physics of thulium and holmium doped fibre gain media to formulate new strategies for scaling laser output power whilst simultaneously achieving high efficiency and good beam quality. Thulium and holmium doped glasses offer access to a wide range of wavelengths in the two-micron band, so an important aspect of the programme will be to develop lasers with flexibility in operating wavelength driven by the needs of emerging applications in areas such as medicine and materials processing. Laser architectures that are compatible with coherent beam combination to allow scaling beyond the fundamental limits of a single fibre will be a main theme. Finally, the project will consider a range of novel applications made possible by the improved laser performance. 

A fully funded PhD place on this project is available for UK applicants supported by an EPSRC CASE Studentship. The project will involve close collaboration with one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high power fibre for applications in defence and security (Leonardo based in the UK).  The studentship comes with an enhanced stipend (including an additional industrial bursary) of £23,000 (tax-free) with fees paid and very generous funding to support travel to international conferences. Applicants should have a first class or a good upper-second class degree (or the equivalent) in physics, engineering or a related discipline.

 

Next generation of high power fibre lasers in the visible and ultraviolet wavelength bands

Supervisors: Prof Andy Clarkson and Dr Jacob Mackenzie

Scaling laser power in the visible and ultraviolet (UV) bands remains as one of the most significant challenges facing laser scientists, motivated by the needs of a growing number of applications in areas such laser processing of materials, medicine, sensing and defence. Traditional methods for accessing this wavelength regime are not compatible with operation at high power levels and so a different approach is needed. This project will investigate a new strategy for generating kilowatt-class laser power in the visible band and >100 W in the UV band by combining the power-scaling advantages of cladding-pumped fibre lasers in the near-infrared band with novel nonlinear frequency conversion schemes. The approach offers the prospect of unprecedented wavelength coverage across the entire visible and UV wavelength bands at very high power levels and with high overall efficiency. The project will involve a detailed study into the physics of frequency-converted fibre lasers operated at very high power levels to establish a power scaling strategy and to determine the fundamental limits. The overall ambition of the project will be a new generation of visible and UV lasers boasting levels of performance well beyond the current state-of-the-art for use in industrial laser processing.

A fully funded PhD place on this project is available for UK applicants supported by an EPSRC CASE Studentship. The project will involve close collaboration with one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high power visible solid-state lasers (Laser Quantum (part of Novanta) based in the UK). The studentship comes with an enhanced stipend (including an additional industrial bursary) of £23,000 (tax-free) with fees paid, and very generous funding to support travel to international conferences. Applicants should have a first class or a good upper-second class degree (or the equivalent) in physics, engineering or a related discipline.

 

Your PhD experience in high power visible lasers

  • Attend a training programme in the first year in parallel with carrying out your research project. This will ensure a smooth transition to the more open-ended research that takes place in the following years under the guidance of your project supervisors.
  • Present your work on a global stage at international conferences and write papers in leading academic journals as your research progresses.
  • Emerge from the PhD with unique skills at the forefront of future laser and photonics research.

 Why Southampton? 

  • Be surrounded with mind-blowing research, from optical fibres that power the internet to developing a vaccine against COVID-19. Get hands-on research experience and learn alongside the academics who are changing the world.  
  • Use amazing facilities including a £120m Cleanroom Complex with the most advanced set of capabilities of any UK university.
  • Study in a vibrant city, ranked the third best place to live and work in the UK, and just over an hour from London by train.  
  • Join a community of enthusiastic and supportive academics and students. 

 

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