The Novel Glass Group plays a central role in a broad spectrum of ORC activities, providing the next generation of optoelectronic materials, with a particular strength in chalcogenide glasses. Unlike traditional glasses made from silica and oxides, these unusual materials are formed from sulphur. Believe it or not, these glasses already find use as the active layer in rewritable DVDs, high efficiency solar cells, next generation FLASH memory, as well as more traditional infrared optics.
Our group’s mission is to explore all aspects of new types of glass for application in cutting edge optoelectronic devices. It is an active group collaborating with many other ORC research groups as well as university and industry worldwide. This strength is reflected in the hundreds of publications, large number of patents, state of the art glass making facilities and the career paths which our students follow after a post graduate degree with us.
All PhD Projects:
Supervisory Team: Ioannis Zeimpekis, Kevin Huang
The project aims to create a revolutionary semiconductor platform using 2D materials to unlock the ultimate limit in miniaturisation of semiconductors. You will benefit from state-of-the-art custom large area 2D equipment not available anywhere else. With access to both a silicon and a silicon nitride platform you will be able to combine 2D semiconductors and contribute to the latest generation of photonics and electronics.
Moore’s Law is currently being challenged with Nvidia CEO recently claiming it is dead. The scaling of transistors cannot continue due to physical limitations of silicon. 2D semiconductors offer the solution as they can be scaled to the molecular level and create excellent devices such as transistors, light emitters, and photodetectors. In this project you will work on the creation of a truly 2D platform with both p-type and n-type materials on the same layer to enable the next generation of electronics and photonics.
If you like learning and applying novel concepts using the latest technology, you will certainly enjoy working with us. During your PhD studies you will have the opportunity to learn how to design, fabricate and characterise materials and devices for integrated electronics and photonics at the cutting edge of research. The project includes a development plan, but you will be free to innovate in both material and device design domains. In addition to field specific skills, the Zepler Institute’s training and mentoring programme will provide training in report writing, project management, time management, presentation skills, and safety, all of which are applicable to future academic or industrial employability.
We are looking for a passionate candidate excited about the latest developments in technology. You will work in a multidisciplinary team under a motivating and supportive environment. You are expected to have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in physics, chemistry, engineering, electronics or a related discipline. A basic level of understanding semiconductor physics, photonics and material science are essential, and we will support you to expand in all these subjects. Experience with experimental work in either electronics, physics, optics or photonics, and computer modelling, programming languages are desirable, and you will have a chance to develop those further during the project.
The University of Southampton is committed into sustaining an inclusive environment for all students and staff. We hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award and work continuously to improve equality in the workplace and encourage a work-life balance. The Zepler Institute is exclusively a research School: as home to over 200 researchers working in all areas of photonics it offers a unique, interdisciplinary, friendly and supportive environment in which to pursue a PhD.
Supervisory Team: Ioannis Zeimpekis, Kevin MacDonald
Modern society depends massively on the generation, processing and transmission of vast amounts of data: it is predicted that by 2025, 175 zettabytes (175 trillion gigabytes) of data will be generated around the globe. Processing such huge amounts of data demands ever increasing computational power, memory and communication bandwidth - demands that cannot be sustainably met by conventional digital electronic technologies. Indeed, CMOS-based von Neumann architectures are now approaching a widely accepted ‘efficiency-wall’ – a fundamental limit on the number of operations per unit energy, while the number of operations required continues to grow at unprecedented rates.
A new approach is needed. In this project we aim to exploit the clear advantages offered by photonic computation to develop a novel, highly efficient non-von Neumann co-processor. Working in collaboration with the Universities of Exeter and Oxford (and supported by at £1.1M grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), we will utilise phase-change photonic “in-memory computing” concepts to deliver massively parallel computation at high speed and low energy, while retaining the ability to integrate with existing electronic computing infrastructure.
If you enjoy developing new technologies and applying novel concepts using the latest nanofabrication and materials/device characterization tools, you will enjoy working with us. Our cleanroom and laboratory facilities are unique in the UK and will provide you with the opportunity to develop advanced skills in the design, characterisation, optimization, and experimental application of novel materials and devices. You will develop skills relevant to academia and industry. Alongside these project-specific skills, the Zepler Institute’s training and mentoring programme will provide training in report writing, project management, time management, presentation skills, and safety, all of which are applicable to future academic or industrial employability.
Supervisory Team: Ioannis Zeimpekis, Fred Gardes
In collaboration with a large EU consortium, we work to create a reprogrammable neuromorphic photonic platform for a variety of applications from telecommunications to biosensing. While working with us, you will benefit from state-of-the-art cleanrooms with access to both a silicon and a silicon nitride integrated photonics platform. You will employ the latest generation of phase change materials to create highly efficient in-memory photonic functionality with novel materials that allow the upscaling of the technology.
The current increase in data generation is expected to start reaching unsustainable rates by 2025. This has a strong impact on the environment, with current implementations reaching the limit of efficiency and therefore new solutions are sought after. In addition, specific applications such as image recognition and lidar are more efficiently processed in the light domain. Integrated photonics have the inherent ability to modulate and carry a much larger data density when compared to electronic solutions. In addition, reprogrammable integrated photonics provide the ability to implement the photonic equivalent of a memristor enabling neuromorphic based computation. Our work is to build the most efficient building components for such a system by employing the latest generation of advanced materials.
If you enjoy developing new technologies and applying novel concepts using the latest technologies, you will enjoy working with us. Our facilities are unique in the UK and will provide you with the opportunity to develop advanced skills in the design, characterisation, optimization, and experimental application of novel materials and devices. You will have the opportunity to optimise the processes and materials you will use which effectively means you will be the first in the world to use the compositions you develop. In addition to field specific skills, the Zepler Institute’s training and mentoring programme will provide training in report writing, project management, time management, presentation skills, and safety, all of which are applicable to future academic or industrial employability.
Supervisory Team: Ioannis Zeimpekis, Stephen Beeby, Katrina Morgan
Wearable technologies are revolutionising our daily lives, integrating everyday objects into our clothes, accessories and even our bodies. But how can we power these without using rigid batteries that require overnight charging?
The answer is renewable energy sources such as ourselves. Using our body’s heat, thermoelectric generators can provide uninterrupted renewable energy for wearable devices.
In our highly multi-disciplinary team, the goal is to develop cutting-edge wearable systems, using thermoelectric generators to power wearable technology such as health monitors and fitness sensors.
Working in a cleanroom environment, new materials will be developed and optimised, using state-of-the-art fabrication and characterisation equipment, and turned into cutting-edge thermoelectric energy harvesters. Our goal is to implement these generators into commercially usable system that powers internet-of-thing devices, designed with the end-user in mind. This will be achieved through working closely with academic and industrial collaborators.
This PhD project direction is mouldable, guided by an experienced supervisory team, whilst offering a high level of technical and professional skill development. Chances to collaborate with companies and researchers are plenty, with many opportunities for international travel, attending conferences and publishing high impact work.
We are looking for a passionate candidate excited about the latest developments in technology. You will work in a multidisciplinary team under a motivating and supportive environment. You are expected to have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in physics, chemistry, engineering, electronics or a related discipline. A basic level of understanding semiconductor physics and material science are essential, and we will support you to expand in all these subjects. Experience with experimental work in either electronics, physics, and computer modelling, programming languages are desirable, and you will have a chance to develop those further during the project.
Supervisor: Kevin Huang
Two dimensional (2D) van der Waals (vdW) materials, such as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) are emerging as revolutionary components in nanophotonics. Recently, defects and strains in these vdW materials have attracted considerable interest as they can be engineered to realize quantum light emission, such as single-photon emitters, a crucial element for the development of quantum information technologies.
Here we propose a revolutionary approach based on wafer-scale 2D monolayers grown by Van der Waals Epitaxy. Unlike the current 2D flakes (typically few tenths of micrometers) prepared by various chemical vapour deposition or exfoliation processes, our wafer-scale 2D monolayers are compatible with the current CMOS process, hence it would be much easier to control the defects and strains at ideal locations over a large-scale fabrication process. This innovative strategy will open up a full control of the light-matter interaction without compromising the possibility of locating and manipulating defects/strains in the 2D vdW materials.
In addition, waveguides and resonators/photonic crystals can be further integrated on the surface of vdW materials by nanofabrication process to enhance and control of light emission in order to move towards room-temperature operation of multipurpose scalable quantum devices.
Working in a cleanroom environment, new vdW materials will be developed and optimised, using state-of-the-art fabrication and characterisation equipment in collaboration with academic and industrial partners in the UK.
The successful candidate will work with a multidisciplinary team to gain a wide variety of technical and professional skills and will have the opportunity to collaborate and publish high impact work.