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College of Engineering and Physical Sciences PhD Studentship (3 years)

Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT)

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours GMT on Friday 26 February 2021
Reference:  R200362
Release Date:  Thursday 26 November 2020

Supervisor: Dr Auro Perego

Associate Supervisor: Prof. Sergei K. Turitsyn

Project Reference: Perego_RAEng_Comb

Applications are invited for a three year Postgraduate studentship funded by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, to be undertaken within Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies at Aston University.  

The position is available to start in either April or July 2021, subject to negotiation. A start date of October 2021 may also be discussed in special circumstances.

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the Home/EU fees rate.  Home students will also receive a maintenance allowance of £15,285 in 2020/21 (subject to eligibility, actual stipend figure may be different for academic years other than 2020/21).  

Overseas Applicants

Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees. Currently the difference between ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees is £12,843 in 2020/21.

As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or secured, this additional funding.

Background to the Project

The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr. Auro M. Perego, in the context of his Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Research Fellowship Project “Novel tuneable dissipative optical frequency combs: from visible to mid-infrared”. The research topic developed in this project is at the forefront of research in nonlinear photonics and focuses on engineering novel methods for optical frequency comb generation in nonlinear optical resonators.

Optical frequency combs, generated in mode-locked lasers, in nonlinear optical waveguides and in nonlinear resonators constitute a powerful tool in photonic engineering. They find applications across a vast spectrum of technologies including high precision metrology, distance ranging, molecular fingerprinting and sensing, and optical communications. The rich and intriguing nonlinear physics dynamics underlying frequency comb formation in nonlinear optical resonators opens a vast space for theoretical investigation and numerical modelling of optical instabilities, soliton dynamics and synchronization phenomena too.

This project, fully exploiting nonlinear physics tools and techniques, focuses on developing new techniques for achieving tuneability of the comb repetition rate in optical resonators, in order to guarantee a better versatility of the source and increased measurement precision. Developing novel methods for exploitation of dissipative intracavity effects - especially optical filtering - and engineering parametric gain (modulation instability of the pump field) in optical cavities, are among the crucial scientific and technical challenges that will be tackled in this project.

This fully funded PhD position will enable the candidate to perform research and getting state-of-the art training in the exciting research field of nonlinear photonics in optical resonators. The successful candidate will be expected to carry out analytical and numerical simulation work. They will contribute to developing analytical theory of nonlinear frequency generation in passive and active optical resonators. They will gain expertise in numerical modelling of light propagating in nonlinear fibre- and micro-resonators and will directly collaborate with experimentalists in guiding experimental setup design and explaining measurements results.

The successful applicant will also have the further opportunity to work under the supervision of Dr. Perego - and in collaboration with other AIPT researchers - on related nonlinear photonics research topics such as parametric amplification, and theory of mode-locking and generation of light pulses in lasers. The successful candidate will work at Aston University and, where needed, they will have the opportunity to participate in broader collaboration with academic and industrial partners both in the UK and in EU.

Research Environment

The Aston institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) is the one of largest research groups in photonics in the UK. It hosts a diverse research community working on a vast range of photonic engineering topics including optical communications, theory and modelling of lasers and optical systems dynamics, optical sensing, fibre lasers, bio-photonics, nanoscale optics.

The PhD student will benefit from full scale experimental, computing, and office resources and facilities to make their project a success, and will be exposed to an interdisciplinary working culture where a fruitful knowledge exchange takes place among researchers working across different but related disciplines. The PhD student will participate in state-of-the-art training activities organised by AIPT and will have the possibility of meeting and interacting with international researchers and professors visiting the Institute.

The successful applicant will furthermore strongly benefit from the rich and diverse PhD students community at AIPT. AIPT at present hosts around 20 PhD students, who are members of the Aston Graduate School, and organise local OSA and SPIE chapters. Chapters activities including annual seminars, outreach activities and sharing of best practices, are a further opportunity for developing technical and soft skills and for networking. As a member of the Aston Graduate School, the PhD student will have access to a variety of more general training and development opportunities too.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject preferably with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in Physics or Electronic Engineering (or a subject related to laser physics and fibre optics). Preferred skill requirements include knowledge of fundamentals of laser physics and experience in numerical modelling of lasers/optical fibres/optical resonators. Full details of our entry requirements can be found here.

We would particularly like to encourage applications from women seeking to progress their academic careers. Aston University is committed to the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter, recognised recently by a prestigious Silver Award to EPS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive working environment and family atmosphere.

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this project contact Dr. Auro Perego by email at

Submitting an application

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here.  

The application must be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

Please include the supervisor name, project title and project reference in your application. 

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at

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