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All-optical light modulation with nonlinear metasurfaces

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


This is a three-year fully funded PhD studentship for an exceptional home/international student. This project will be pursued in Advanced Optics & Photonics group in the Department of Engineering at the School of Science and Technology. Nottingham Trent University has been awarded ‘University of the Year’ (Times Higher), ‘Modern University of the Year’ (Sunday Times), and received the highest possible award of ‘Gold’ in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). It is renowned for leading edge research, strong links with industry and excellent teaching facilities that help shape lives and society. Research in the School of Science and Technology is extremely strong in terms of high-quality outputs, funding income, and international impact.

You will join a cross-disciplinary project, which aims to develop novel schemes for light-matter interactions with an ultrathin array of semiconductor nanocrystals. Nonlinear photonics has been a key aspect of modern photonic technology and allows the generation of light at different frequencies via nonlinear optical materials [1-3]. Nonlinear photonics is expected to outperform and replace conventional electronics in the future. However, the nonlinear optical responses are naturally weak and limit the applications of nonlinear nanophotonics. This PhD project will develop a novel approach to realise nanostructured surfaces based on nonlinear materials to control and enhance the light-light interactions and harvest the light energy at the nanoscale. Specifically, the project will focus on applications in integrated photonic circuitries and bio/chemical sensing. All nanoparticles will be modelled, fabricated and characterised experimentally.

You will be working under the supervision of Prof. Mohsen Rahmani. Your co-supervisor will be Dr. Lei Xu.

Assessment: 9 and 18-month reports plus viva determining the progression to PhD


  1. Rahmani, Mohsen, et al. "Nonlinear frequency conversion in optical nanoantennas and metasurfaces: materials evolution and fabrication." Opto-Electronic Advances 1.10 (2018): 180021-1.
  2. Xu, Lei, et al. "Enhanced light–matter interactions in dielectric nanostructures via machine-learning approach." Advanced Photonics 2.2 (2020): 026003.
  3. Xu, Lei, et al. "Enhanced four-wave mixing from multi-resonant silicon dimer-hole membrane metasurfaces." New Journal of Physics 24.3 (2022): 035002.

Entry qualifications

  • First or Upper second class degree or equivalent in disciplines relevant to optical engineering, nanotechnology, or bio-chemical engineering is a requirement. A Master’s Degree is a plus.
  • Meeting NTU’s English language requirements (for international students) at the time of application is mandatory for this position. Please check the qualifications we accept for the level of postgraduate research degrees here:

  • Experience in LabVIEW, MATLAB, or other data acquisition/processing software is an advantage.
  • Experience in handling nanoscale devices is an advantage.
  • Industrial experience in relevant areas, or internship/work-experience is also particularly welcomed.

How to apply

The deadline for this project is Sunday 23 July 2023 at 11.00 pm. For a step-by-step guide and to make an application, please visit our how to apply page.

Start date: 1st October 2023.

Fees and funding

Full tuition fee plus a tax-free stipend (living costs) of £15,009 per year (for three years) at the standard UKRI rate will be covered.

Guidance and support

Further guidance and support on how to apply can be found on our apply page.

Still need help?

Mohsen Rahmani