Postgraduate research project

Mimicking quantum phenomena on a silicon metasurface for automotive LiDAR

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

This PhD project intends to develop a novel automotive LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor, by using optical nanostructures to mimic the quantum phenomenon of “bound states in the continuum”. It aims to enhance driving safety and efficiency, contributing to the advancement of fully autonomous driving.

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.

The project originates from the observation that, although numerous exotic phenomena have been predicted by quantum theories, many of them prove prohibitively difficult to create and control.

To still benefit from these theoretical predictions, this project takes the unique approach of emulating quantum phenomena in the classical realm. For instance, we recently succeeded in creating over 240 sharp resonances on a single silicon wafer, a record value achieved by mimicking the quantum “bound states in the continuum” [Advanced Optical Materials 11, 2301979 (2023)].

Building on our recent works on metasurfaces (a type of planar nanostructures, a 2D metamaterial) and optical vortex beams (a type of topologically structured light) (see the list at Dr Xu Fang page), this project aims to develop an innovative, quantum-inspired LiDAR sensor.

As a PhD student, you will actively contribute to a collaborative research initiative linking Southampton with renowned international universities and the automotive industry.

The project encompasses both simulation and experimental validation, ensuring that our discoveries hold practical significance.

Your responsibilities will include participating in the development of machine learning-based design methodologies alongside experts from Southampton and MIT (USA). Additionally, you will engage in the nanofabrication of designed devices within one of the UK's best academic cleanrooms. Collaborations with leading companies in LiDAR design and fabrication will also be a key aspect of your involvement.

We look forward to welcoming a highly motivated and talented student with a background in electronics, physics or photonics to join our research team.