PhD Studentship - Optical Phase Conjugation Based Optical Networks

Birmingham, United Kingdom
Nov 08, 2019
Dec 08, 2019
Contract Type
Full Time
Job Type
PhD / Doctoral
This fully-funded 3 PhD studentship is designed to provide an outstanding graduate to undertake research, leading to a PhD, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between Aston University, the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, and British Telecom (BT).

The position is available to start in January 2020 (subject to negotiation).

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of £15,009 in 2019/20 (subject to eligibility).

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 this is £12,573 in 2019/20.

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

Digital technologies directly support over 1.4M jobs throughout the UK (4.4%), and directly impact the lives of the 74% of households with broadband connections and 82% of the population registered as unique mobile users. These technologies rely on a backbone optical fibre network, which is rapidly approaching a capacity crunch. Supporting exponential traffic growth requires continuous innovation, and radical solutions are now required. In this project the successful applicant will develop a study the impact of optical phase conjugation on the overall performance of optical networks. They will develop and adapt optimisation models translating physical parameters into network performance, they will propose and develop techniques to overcome inevitable degradations encountered in a network environment, demonstrate substantial improvement in network capacity and finally trial the solution in a real world environment. The activities will be divided into distinct phases, and will be supervised by Prof Andrew Ellis.

The environment

The Aston institute of Photonic Technologies (AiPT) is the oldest photonic communications research group in the UK. It was founded on the unique combination of advanced fibre grating based devices with state of the art optical communications research, and has recently been supplemented with fibre laser technologies, all of which are of direct relevance to this proposal. The PhD student will benefit from full scale experimental, computing, and office resources and facilities to their project a success including a fully equipped system research laboratory, including 400Gb/s test beds, high speed electronic test equipment including 70 GHz real time oscilloscopes. AiPT also has extensive fibre grating facilities, including Sabre Fred UV lasers, high and low repetition rate femtosecond inscription systems. Network simulations will initially be performed on a local 200 core computing cluster whilst large scale simulations will be performed on the ARCHER high performance computer. AiPT currently hosts around 22 PhD students, who are members of the Aston Graduate School, and organise local OSA and SPIE chapters. Chapter activities include annual seminars, outreach activities and sharing of best practice / technical news.

The successful candidate will split their time between the Aston institute of Photonic Technologies, the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton, and BT Adastral Park enjoying the benefits of world leading fabrication and system test facilities at Aston, access to the latest materials technologies at the ORC, and ensuring the real world relevance of their research through collaboration with BT. The successful candidate will be a member of the Aston Graduate School, which provides a supportive environment for all research students across the University, and will also be supported by a Graduate Development Team and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences who together provide a range of training and development opportunities for research student.

Person Specification

Aston University will welcome applications from students in their final year expecting to receive a first class or upper second class honours degree in Electronic Engineering or an MSc in a subject related to optical communications, or from applicants holding similar qualifications, or holding a combination of qualifications and/or relevant experience equivalent to that level.

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 EAS, and we pride ourselves on our vibrant, friendly and supportive working environment and family atmosphere.

Contact information

For informal enquiries about this project, please contact Prof Andrew Ellis by e-mail and for further information about the application process please contact the Research Admissions Officer 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.

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at
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Further particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via