Postgraduate research project

A compact quantum inertial sensor using atom interferometry

Fully funded (UK and international)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

The University of Southampton is expanding its PhD research in the area of Quantum Technology Engineering. In addition to the research project outlined below you will receive substantial training in scientific, technical, and commercial skills.

Quantum inertial sensors, based upon atom interferometry, promise advantages in bias and scale factor stability, but have so far required large, delicate equipment that is difficult to test outside the laboratory. 

The sensor head’s vacuum and optical components in particular have so far been fragile and bulky, with developments mainly limited to scaling down conventional parts with no reduction in component count.

In this project, you’ll assemble a quantum inertial sensor aimed at navigation applications. The sensor head will use a new, compact and robust vacuum system to achieve a small, simple and mechanically stable design, with laser and optical systems from an existing atom interferometry system. 

You’ll explore further miniaturization using a novel planar-fabricated atom chip that combines the atom source, vacuum maintenance and optical routing in a sealed-off, postage stamp sized package; and you’ll be able to characterize the sensor using the facilities of Southampton’s Institute for Sound & Vibration Research and undertake practical trials at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton

The project will help you to develop skills and expertise in

  • quantum technologies, 
  • atomic and laser physics, 
  • microfabrication, 
  • photonics, 
  • imaging, 
  • control and instrumentation.

This project is in association with Thales R&T UK and Aquark Technologies Ltd.