The University of Southampton

PhD projects

Cryogenic lasers for manufacturing

Supervisor: Dr Jacob Mackenzie

Co-Supervisor: Professor Andy Clarkson

The goal of this research is to demonstrate a novel approach for energy- and power-scaling solid-state lasers through the combination of enhanced spectroscopic and reduced thermal loading characteristics via cryogenic-cooling of the gain media. These key characteristics dramatically improve the efficiency of the system and the potential for subsequent frequency upconversion into the wavelength regimes not accessible by typical routes. Exploiting the cryogenically-cooled laser architecture new operating regimes at wavelengths will be explored, with the potential for orders-of-magnitude better performance than conventional diode-pumped room-temperature solid-state lasers.

Cryogenically-cooled lasers will be a platform-architecture of the future, and which is currently being developed in large-scale-facilities institutes for pulses of 10’s-100’s of Joules at high average powers. The main ambition of our research programme is to develop small-scale “turn-key” state-of-the-art solid-state lasers in the visible and UV wavelength bands with continuous-wave and high-energy pulsed modes of operation, leading to new laser parameters targeting precision manufacturing of highly valuable items.

Advanced functional crystal film engineering

Supervisor: Dr Jacob Mackenzie

Co-supervisor: Professor Rob Eason

Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) is an exciting route for manufacturing high optical-quality, fully crystalline waveguides and thick-film structures. This novel method can be used to fabricate advanced active materials for optical gain engines in laser or amplifier systems. PLD is an established technique for the deposition of a range of materials, and in which we are the world leaders for growing single crystal structures for active photonic applications.

This project, Advanced functional crystal film engineering, is specifically aimed at developing new composite crystal structures and devices with advanced functionality with respect to simple dielectric stacks. It involves growth, characterisation and end application of these PLD-grown advanced materials, and would suit someone who is very hands-on experimentally. There is also a significant opportunity to do modelling associated with waveguide theory, lasing and amplifier performance, whilst all the while working alongside experienced postdoctoral fellows on an EPSRC manufacturing grant.

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