The EPSRC - SFI Centre for Doctoral Training offers unique four-year PhD training in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage, leading to a jointly awarded degree from Queen's University Belfast and the University of Glasgow. Designed and delivered in close collaboration with an impressive range of industrial partners, the CDT provides a cutting-edge and innovative research environment for doctoral students to develop the new technologies, products and systems required to address the expanding data storage needs of today’s fast moving digital world. The programme aims to equip students with high-level and sophisticated technical training and skills alongside much sought after skills in distributed working, collaboration, entrepreneurship and business planning skills. CDT students enjoy a substantial funding package which provides an individual budget for project research expenses and for mobility and conference travel. CDT students are exposed to best practice commonly used in large scientific and development projects, including annual conclaves for the dissemination of ideas and network building, and peer-to-peer learning and training in world-leading fabrication, characterization and analysis techniques. Our doctoral students join of a close-knit community of postgraduate research students who are supported by world-leading researchers from Queen's University's Centre for Nanostructured Media, host to the largest global Seagate Technology university engagement, and from the University of Glasgow whose capabilities include the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre in the Engineering & Microscopy facility of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Students spend time at both universities benefiting from the excellent facilities available to postgraduates including The Graduate School at Queen's and The Graduate School at Glasgow. In addition we also include a formal collaboration with the Irish Photonic Integration Centre (IPIC), based in Cork & Dublin. The cohorts from Belfast/Glasgow and those at IPIC come together several times a year for events and activities.
Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage highlights
The programme is delivered by leading academics from both Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Glasgow and leads to a jointly awarded research degree from both institutions.
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The CDT is a partnership between Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Glasgow and the Irish Photonic integration Centre which aims to tackle some of the challenges created by the increasing quantities of data generated by today's society.
- The programme is delivered by leading academics from both Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Glasgow and leads to a jointly awarded research degree from both institutions.
- CDT students benefit from access to top academics in the field from both universities and avail of taring and collaborative research opportunity with the Irish Photonic Integration Centre.
CDT students join the cutting-edge and innovative research environments at both Queen’s, Belfast, and the University of Glasgow. Our unique, jointly awarded research degree in Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage provides high-level and sophisticated technical training and skills, alongside much sought after skills in distributed working, collaboration, entrepreneurship and business planning.
Professor Robert Bowman, CDT Director
CDT research students are engaged on a range of challenging doctoral research projects across the Centre's five main research themes, as shown below. All students are jointly supervised by academic staff from the University of Glasgow and Queen's University Belfast.
Ultra-reliable semiconductor lasers operating in hostile environments. e.g:
-Semiconductor Lasers for Harsh Environments
-Hybrid optical components for advanced quantum systems
-GaN blue lasers for photonic integration
-Quantum Dot Photonic Crystal Surface Emitting Laser
Low cost planar lightwave circuit platforms suitable for volume manufacture. e.g:
-Design Optimisation for an Integrated Optical Device based on Laser Interactions with Nanostructured Arrays
-Hybrid Integrated Silicon Photonic Transceiver
-Heterogeneous integration of III-V lasers to optical waveguides
Novel nanoplasmonic devices capable of operating in extreme environments. e.g:
-Plasmonic Antennas for Extreme Light Concentration and Harvesting
-Plasmonic properties of silver fractal nanostructures
Atomic scale analysis techniques. e.g:
-Antiferromagnetic Materials for Optical Recording
-New Forms of Magnetic Storage: Manipulation of Skyrmion Lattices for Memory and Logic
-Developing the Use of Functional Domain Walls in Oxides for Memory Storage Applications
-Structure and Ferroic Ordering at Conducting Domain Walls
Advanced materials for magnetic recording. e.g:
-Mapping Plasmonic Excitations of Patterned TiN Nano-elements in the Scanning-transmission Electron Microscope
-Thermal effects in nanostructured magnetic materials
The CDT is a partnership between Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Glasgow which aims to tackle some of the challenges created by the increasing quantities of data generated by today's society.
Established in 2014 with substantial investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), both universities and industrial partners including Seagate, the industry leader in hard disc drives and storage solutions, the Centre is helping to address a skills shortage in the photonics industry by educating future scientists and engineers.
The Centre’s focus is on developing highly-manufacturable photonic integration technologies related to the magnetic storage of digital information. The development of these technologies will be relevant to a wide spectrum of end-users – from telecommunications to biophotonics, in which optical technologies are applied to living organisms and health care.
The CDT had renewal funded awarded in 2019 to further develop and grown the programme most notable the partnership with IPIC will see them add 5 PhDs p.a. to the CDTs recruitment of 10 PhD/EngD p.a. so sustaining a collaboration exceeds over one hundred researchers.
CDT students benefit from access to top academics in the field from both universities and have access to the state of the art facilities at the Centre for Nanostructured Media at QUB and the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at the University of Glasgow.
The available research projects fall under five research themes:
• Ultra-reliable semiconductor lasers operating in hostile environments
• Low cost planar lightwave circuit platforms, suitable for volume manufacture
• Novel nanoplasmonic devices capable of operating in extreme environments
• Advanced materials for magnetic recording
• Atomic scale analysis techniques.
These themes encompass the expertise of our staff from the Schools of Physics and Astronomy, School of Engineering at Glasgow and the Centre for Nanostructured Media in Belfast in underlying science and materials for next-generation data storage and information-processing technologies. An increasing role for advanced functional materials and optics and optical excitations, particularly in ever-diminishing dimensions in a host of applications.
Our established strengths in these themes places the CDT in a unique position to offer globally leading training and research opportunities. Throughout the CDT programme, students have opportunities to undertake internships and placements with our industrial partners.
The CDT programme has been designed and delivered in close consultation with an impressive range of industrial partners. Through placements, internships, annual conclaves, industrial seminars, industrial site visits and project supervision, our students benefit from ongoing opportunities to engage with the Centre’s industrial partners, such as Seagate Technology, IQE, Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology, Andor, Fraunhofer (Uk) Ltd.
The programme enables students to develop high-level technical, research, management, entrepreneurship, creativity and collaboration skills. Thus, CDT doctoral students are well equipped to progress to a range of research and development, technical and management roles in industry and academia.
Queen's postgraduates reap exceptional benefits. Unique initiatives, such as Degree Plus and Researcher Plus bolster our commitment to employability, while innovative leadership and executive programmes alongside sterling integration with business experts helps our students gain key leadership positions both nationally and internationally.
People teaching you
Professor Robert Bowman
School of Maths and Physics
Year One, Semester One - University of Glasgow Compulsory :
Insights to Industry
Research Methods & Practice Group Project
Nanofabrication Electronic Devices or Solid State Physics Nano and Atomic Scale Imaging 1
Year One, Semester Two - Queen's University, Belfast Compulsory:
Teamwork & collaboration skills in a cross geographic environment
Individual Research Project
Magnetic Materials Electronic Materials Plasmonic Materials Electronic Structure Modelling
Year One, Summer Project - Belfast or Glasgow Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage Research Project Year Two, Semester One/Two - Graduate School, Belfast CMI Strategic Leadership & Management Years Two to Four - Belfast or Glasgow, or elsewhere in UK/ROI company based (EngD) Main Research Project (jointly supervised by both institutions) with optional additional technical modules
CDT students benefit from access to the state of the art facilities at the Centre for Nanostructured Media at QUB and the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at the University of Glasgow.
The minimum academic requirement for admission to this research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree in a cognate physical sciences or engineering discipline from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Cognate disciplines include physics, chemistry, electrical engineering, chemical engineering.
Further information can be obtained by contacting the School of Mathematics and Physics.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.
International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.
For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see: www.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs.
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Fees and Funding
Northern Ireland (NI) £4,407 England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,407 Other (non-UK) EU £4,407 International £21,300
Tuition fees for students from Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and the EU have not been set for 2020-21. The tuition fees for 2019-20 was £4,327. This normally increases by inflation annually and will be set in January 2020. The international fee quoted above is for the academic year 2020-21.
Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage costs
Depending on the area of research chosen there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees.
Additional course costs
Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.
How do I fund my study?PhD Funded Opportunities
Find PhD funding opportunities and studentships by subject area.Doctoral Training Centres at Queen's
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Queen's has seven outstanding competitive Doctoral Training Centres, with each one providing funding for a number of PhD positions and more importantly a hub for carrying out world class research in key disciplines.New UK PhD loans
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The UK Government will introduce new doctoral loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes from 2019. Loans will be offered to English-resident students to study all types of doctorate at universities across the UK.International Scholarships
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Information on scholarships for international students, is available at www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships.
How to Apply
Find a supervisor
If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.
To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.
You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.
Fees and Funding