About the Role
Unbreakable cryptography, teleportation of information and ultra-fast computing will soon cease to be figments of science fiction literature. These are now considered imminent realities enabled by the upbringing of quantum technologies.

Devices that exploit the laws of quantum physics are developing quickly and many materials are presently under scrutiny to build the future quantum hardware.

This project will investigate quantum effects in silicon carbide (SiC), a wide-bandgap compound semiconductor made of silicon and carbon. On the one hand, SiC benefits from mature manufacturing techniques, being it extensively used for power electronics. On the other hand, exquisite quantum effects, such as coherent electron spin superposition and single-photon generation, have been demonstrated in this material, by exploiting the properties of atomic defects in its crystal.

However, most of these experiments have been so far performed in plain unprocessed wafers by means of optical scanning techniques. The crucial step that this PhD project will address is the realisation and control of quantum phenomena in nanometre scale electronic devices, such as transistors and diodes. The research activities will balance device design and modelling, hands-on cleanroom fabrication, as well as electrical and optical experimental measurements with cryogenic set-ups. The student will be involved in making and characterising devices that span from metal-oxide-semiconductor nano-capacitors to superconductive microwave resonators and LEDs, in order to couple electron spins to electromagnetic radiation.

This project is suitable for individuals who have a keen interest for applied research and are eager to get industrial exposure both at the National Physical Laboratory and at Hitachi Europe, one of our corporate partners.

The European Quantum Flagship https://qt.eu

T.D. Ladd et al. Nature 464, 45 (2010)

D.D. Awschalom et al. Science 339, 1174 (2013)

A. Lohrmann et al. Rep. Prog. Phys. 80, 034502 (2017)

M. Atature et al. Nature Reviews Materials 3, 38 (2018)

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Design and fabricate nanodevices in a cleanroom environment.
  • Perform low-temperature experiments and device characterisation.
  • Analyse experimental data with appropriate software (e.g. Matlab, Python etc.).
  • Prepare manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals.
  • Travel domestically across collaborating institutions to carry out part of the project’s activities.

Host Institutions:

This project is part of a long-standing collaboration between the Quantum Technology Department at the National Physical Laboratory (Teddington) and the Physics Department at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow). The student is expected to carry out most of the research activities at NPL. However, short stays at Strathclyde and other partner institutions may be needed throughout the project’s lifespan.

Funding for travel expenses is available. The successful candidate will be part of a cohort of highly selected students at the Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science, a multi-disciplinary national centre for research training and skills development in metrology and its applications.

More information about the team and the host institutions can be found here: https://pureportal.strath.ac.uk/en/persons/alessandro-rossi



For enquiries and applications contact Dr Alessandro Rossi (alessandro.rossi@npl.co.uk)
About You
 The ideal candidate should have an excellent first degree in Physics, Engineering or related subject. Fluency and clarity in spoken English is essential. Good oral, written, and presentation skills are highly desirable. Prior experience with scientific software, cleanroom work, semiconductor devices, quantum physics and/or cryogenics would be advantageous.
The post is fully funded (University fees and stipend for 3.5 years) for UK and EU citizens.
About The Company

We’re transforming. As a national laboratory, we’re exploring even more commercial routes to market and that’s presenting us with greater opportunity – for you and us. Our success relies on the diversity and talent of our people, we strive to nurture and respect individuals to ensure everyone feels valued and supported to excel in their chosen field. This value is at the core of our organisation.

We believe in a culture of fairness by treating everyone on the basis of their own individual merits and abilities regardless of their own or perceived identity, background or any other factor irrelevant to a person’s work. At NPL we are committed to the health and well-being of our employees. Flexible working and social activities are embedded in our culture to create a positive work-life balance, along with a broad range of benefitsNPL’s values are at the heart of what we do and they shape the way we interact, develop our people and celebrate success.

As part of our commitment to diversity & inclusion, we signed up to the Institute of Physics' Project Juno in 2015 as a Juno Supporter. NPL were proud to be awarded Juno Practitioner status in 2018. NPL also joined Stonewall as a Diversity champion in 2015, participating in their annual Workplace Equality Index for the equality of LGBT+ community at NPL. In 2018, NPL became a member of the Business Disability Forum and joined the disability confident scheme as level 1 committed employer.

To ensure everyone has an equal chance, we’re always willing to make reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss, please contact us.