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Postgraduate research project

Manufacture of atom and ion traps via ultra-precision diamond machining

Competition funded View fees and funding
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

We are looking for a PhD student to join our interdisciplinary team of students, postdocs, and senior researchers developing systems for quantum technologies.

Quantum Technologies present new challenges for manufacturing engineering. Southampton has been developing ultra-precision machining systems as a route to the scalable manufacture of atom and ion trap quantum systems. These components are the kernel of quantum sensing and quantum computing systems. The project will work with leaders in the field (academia and industry) to create vacuum systems with integrated photonics and electrical functionality. We will also develop the machines and processes to enable the growth of the quantum technology industry.

In this project, you will design, fabricate, and test atom and ion trap systems and will collaborate with experimentalists to demonstrate quantum sensing and computing. If you are interested in a PhD involving computer modelling and have the required skills, the project can also be adjusted for this. Potential areas of research include:

  1. The development of atom and ion trap cells using ultra-precision machining. Using diamond tools and our extensive suite of systems, you will create miniature vacuum cells from materials such as silicon and titanium. These will contain optical windows, integrated mirrors and electrical and vacuum feed throughs.   
  2. The fabrication of integrated optical waveguides and large area Bragg gratings: Investigate the incorporation of tilted Bragg gratings to couple light out of integrated waveguides and form beams of well-defined shape and polarisation for interaction with trapped atoms or ions. The light can be used to laser cool the particles and/or for optical manipulation of their internal quantum states.
  3. Development of freeform micro-optics: Develop innovative freeform micro-optic lenses, mirrors, and resonators for enhanced beam shaping, enabling the creation of more compact and more efficient quantum photonic systems.

If you have an interest in quantum technologies, mechanical engineering, photonic and micro-fabrication, you would be highly suitable for this project. You will benefit from our world-leading expertise in these fields and enjoy working in a highly supportive environment in our group in Southampton and collaboration with partner groups around the country within the UK National Quantum Technology Programme.

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