PhD

We wish to recruit motivated students to join our group from September 2022. Applicants should have, or expect to obtain a 1st Class Honours degree in a relevant numerate discipline, for example Physics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, or Materials Science.

These PhD projects (mostly experimental) offer a rare opportunity to gain a wide spectrum of experience with semiconductor device design, nano-fabrication, nano-optics, laser spectroscopy, cryogenics, electron spin resonance, machine learning and sophisticated electronics. The research is multi-disciplinary, involving condensed-matter physics, quantum optics, materials science, and quantum information processing. We offer a world-class laboratory and a strong network of international collaborators. Please send inquiry emails to Prof. Brian Gerardot (b.d.gerardot@hw.ac.uk), Dr Cristian Bonato (c.bonato@hw.ac.uk), Dr Margherita Mazzera (m.mazzera@hw.ac.uk) or Dr Mauro Brotons-Gisbert (m.brotons_i_gisbert@hw.ac.uk).

Project 1: Novel platforms for integrated quantum devices based on rare earth doped insulating materials

This project aims at the development of new telecom-compatible platforms for integrated quantum devices based on rare earth ion doped materials. This will involve the investigation of the mechanisms affecting the optical and spin coherence properties of new materials and the design of confined structure with the aim of achieving improved performances due to the strong light matter interaction and facilitating the coupling with other integrated quantum technologies as quantum light sources or detectors.
Contact: Dr. Margherita Mazzera, m.mazzera@hw.ac.uk, +44 (0)131 451 8220

Project 2: Strongly correlated states in designer two-dimensional moiré heterostructures

Two-dimensional semiconductors offer unprecedented opportunities to engineer and tune the interactions between particles at the quantum level to give rise to emergent phases and states of matter. This project aims to design, fabricate, and characterize (via quantum transport and quantum optics) highly tunable moiré heterostructures which act as a quantum simulator of the Hubbard model.
Contact: Mauro Brotons-Gisbert (m.brotons_i_gisbert@hw.ac.uk); Brian Gerardot (b.d.gerardot@hw.ac.uk)

Project 3: Controlling spins in silicon carbide devices

A single spin is the smallest possible magnetic field sensor, providing the ultimate limit in spatial resolution and sensitivity. Additionally, spins are excellent systems to store and process fragile quantum information. The goal of this project is to develop spin-based opto-electronic quantum devices based on spins in silicon carbide. As a semiconductor widely used in microelectronics, silicon carbide is a promising platform to integrate spintronic functionalities in quantum devices compatible with the current industrial processing techniques. A strong emphasis of the project will be on taking full advantage of the well-established micro-electronic SiC technology to develop novel spin control and measurement techniques.
Contact: Cristian Bonato (c.bonato@hw.ac.uk)

Project 4: Sequential Bayesian estimation and machine learning for quantum sensing

Recent breakthroughs have demonstrating the capability of quantum sensors for measuring magnetic fields, temperature and electric field at the nanoscale. The deployment of these techniques are, however, limited by long signal acquisition times.
In this project, we will use real-time adaptation of experimental parameters and machine learning to optimise quantum measurements to the ultimate limits. Our long-term goal is to develop AI-powered algorithms to design optimal adaptive control sequences and system identification tools (for example to detect single nuclear spins in nanoscale magnetic resonance).
This work will be carried out in collaboration with the quantum theory group of Dr Erik Gauger and the signal processing group of Dr Yoann Altmann. We can accommodate projects with different levels of mixing between theory/numerical and experiments – however, proficiency in coding is a prerequisite in all cases.
Contact: Cristian Bonato (c.bonato@hw.ac.uk)

Project 5: Quantum sensing of magnetism in 2D materials

Our group has recently been awarded a >£2M grant to establish a Quantum Magnetometry facility that will utilise a single electronic spin to measure magnetic fields with nanoscale spatial resolution at ultra-low temperatures (mK range). This is a quite unique facility worldwide, which will open the way to the investigation of quantum correlated states in 2D heterostructures, exotic magnetic textures, unconventional superconductivity. We are looking for a PhD student to join this project and contribute both to establishing the facility and to use it to carry out exciting science! This work will be carried out in collaboration with Prof Brian Gerardot.

Contact: Cristian Bonato (c.bonato@hw.ac.uk) or Brian Gerardot (b.d.gerardot@hw.ac.uk)

Project 6: Engineering quantum-light emission in 2D semiconductors

Two-dimensional semiconductors, which can be easily combined to create entirely new materials and atomically-thin devices, offer completely unique opportunities to engineer the optical properties of individual particles at the quantum level. This project aims to design, fabricate, and characterise novel nanophotonic devices based on two-dimensional semiconductors with a particular goal of tailoring their quantum light emission properties for quantum technological applications.
Contact: Mauro Brotons-Gisbert (m.brotons_i_gisbert@hw.ac.uk); Brian Gerardot (b.d.gerardot@hw.ac.uk)

Project 7: In-situ tuning electronic interactions in van der Waals heterostructures (Industrial project via CDT in Applied Photonics)

A radical new way to engineer new semiconductor devices with unprecedented properties is to stack individual sheets of atoms on top of each other. In this situation, the precise alignment – at the atomic level – between the atomic sheets controls the electronic interactions between the sheets that determine their electronic and optical behaviour. For instance, the interlayer electronic interactions in moiré materials determine if the heterostructure is an insulator, conductor, semiconductor, or even superconductor. This project, in partnership with Razorbill Instruments,  aims to design, build, and test a novel scientific instrument called a Surface Force Apparatus to provide the ability to fine tune the vertical distance, the relative angle (rotation), and translational position between two atomically thin crystals while the material itself is optically probed. Ultimately, the instrument will be compatible with the cryogenic temperatures and the severe space constraints inside a cryostat. This new device will enable ground-breaking experiments which will provide new understanding in quantum materials and enable novel ways to engineer their physical properties. 

Contact: Brian Gerardot (b.d.gerardot@hw.ac.uk)