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Postgraduate research project

Materials and devices for photonic co-processors: Design and application of phase-change media for next-generation data processing

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

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. These demands 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.

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, supported by a 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.

Our cleanroom and laboratory facilities are unique in the UK and will provide you with the opportunity to develop advanced skills in the design, characterisation, optimisation, and experimental application of novel materials and devices. You will develop skills relevant to academia and industry. Alongside these project-specific skills, the Zepler Institute’s training and mentoring programme will provide training in report writing, project management, time management, presentation skills, and safety, all of which are applicable to future academic or industrial employability.

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