PhD Studentship - Generation after next fibre lasers for defence and security applications

Physics, Electrical, Eletronics, Photonics.

Supervisory Team: Prof Andy Clarkson and Dr Jacob Mackenzie

Project description: 

A fully funded PhD project with a stipend of £23,600 (tax-free) p.a. will contribute to a major Ministry of Defence (MoD) research programme intended to develop generation after next technologies for applications in defence and security. This project will be co-funded by Leonardo UK Ltd.

Fibre lasers have become the laser technology of choice for applications requiring high power, good beam quality and high efficiency. This has revolutionised industrial processing of materials and is one of the enabling technologies in emerging applications in defence and security. To date, much of the effort has focussed on ytterbium doped fibre lasers, but this technology is now approaching the fundamental limits. Thulium (Tm) doped fibre lasers operate in the two-micron band and have numerous potential advantages from an applications perspective and for operation at high power levels. Thus, the goal of this project is to explore the power scaling limits of Tm-doped fibre laser and amplifiers. Our approach will investigate radically different fibre and laser designs with the ambition of reaching performance levels that go beyond the current state-of-the-art to benefit a wide range of applications. 

The plan is to recruit a PhD candidate to undertake this project and be part of a new MoD/EPSRC Energy Transfer Technology Skills and Training (S&T) Hub. The main aim of the Hub is to train the next generation of leaders in energy transfer technologies. The Hub is supported by MoD, Dstl, and UK companies working in defence and security.

The student will be based at the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC, University of Southampton) and will be part of cohort of 12 PhD students across a number of UK institutions. The Skills and Training Hub will run online and face-to-face activities to facilitate cohort building and group learning exercises throughout the PhD programme. The ORC is one of the world’s leading research institutes in photonics. The project will involve close collaboration with our industrial partner (Leonardo UK Ltd, based in Edinburgh).  Leonardo will contribute to PhD supervision by providing a placement opportunity.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a first class or a good upper-second class degree (or the equivalent) in physics, engineering or a related discipline.

Candidates must be UK Nationals and be willing to apply for and able to obtain Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) clearance.


For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £23,600 tax-free per annum for up to 4 years. Very generous funding to support travel to international conferences and training. There is also funding for students to travel to industrial partners and to do longer placements with the industrial partner.

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How to Apply

Click 'apply online now', then select programme type (Research), 2024/25, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, next page select “PhD ORC (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor (Prof. Andy Clarkson).

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  • Deadline
    August 31st, 2024
  • Hiring Multiple Candidates
  • Salary
    £23,600 (tax-free) + benefits
  • Degree required
    2:1 and above
  • Location
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Preferred Disciplines...
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical
  • Electronic
  • Information Technology
  • Physics
  • Software
  • Systems
Also Accepting...
  • All STEM disciplines
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