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Postgraduate research project

Materials and devices for photonic co-processors

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

Materials and devices for photonic co-processors: Design and application of phase-change media for next-generation data processing.
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 help you to develop advanced skills in the design, characterisation, optimization, and experimental application of novel materials and devices. You will also receive training in report writing, project management, time management, presentation skills, and safety, applicable to future academic or industrial employability.

We are looking for a passionate candidate excited about the latest developments in technology. You will need a background in physics, chemistry, engineering, electronics or a related discipline. A basic understanding of semiconductor physics, optics/photonics, and materials science are essential. Experience in experimental physics, electronics, optics or photonics, and computational modelling and/or programming languages will be beneficial.

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 home to over 200 researchers working in all areas of photonics, offering a unique, interdisciplinary, friendly and supportive environment.

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