University of Glasgow logo


Department of Employment and Learning Logo

II-VI Studentship Opportunity


Industrial PhD studentship Opportunity

"High power single mode VCSEL and coherently coupled VCSEL arrays for HAMR"

Application Deadline: 18th May 

We are offering a unique Industrial PhD opportunity with II-VI Laser Enterprise; the successful applicant will experience living in both the UK and Switzerland and will gain a suite of technical and vocational skills by attending two UK Russel Group Universities and in an industrial company.



A UK or EU National (with a European passport and no restriction on EU residential status) that will graduate with an expected or obtained minimum 2:1 Undergraduate/Masters degree in Electronic/Electrical Engineering or Physics, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry or Materials Science. 

The candidate should have an interest in wanting to learn about the simulation, designing, processing and characterisation of semiconductor lasers and be willing to accept the large element of travel during the PhD.



Industrial Supervisor (II-VI Laser Enterprise): Evgeny Zibik, Principal R&D Engineer

Co-Supervisor (II-VI Laser Enterprise): Michael Moser, Manager Engineering

Primary Academic Supervisor (University of Glasgow): Richard Hogg, Professor

Secondary Academic Supervisor (Queen’s University Belfast): Bob Pollard, Senior Lecturer

The ability to store digital information has become a growing concern, as the memory capacity of even the smallest of devices, such as smartphones, has grown exponentially. To continue to increase the capacity of hard disk drives (HDDs) required to support 'cloud' computing a new technology will be required. Heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) technology is the most promising approach for increasing the storage density of hard disc drive to 2TB/inch² and beyond. It requires efficient laser source producing ~20mW of single-mode reliable optical power.

Edge emitting lasers assembled on the submount are used currently to heat up the magnetic media in HDDs with HAMR. For the next generation of HAMR HDD a new type of laser source is warranted: Vertical Cavity Light Emitting Lasers (VCSELs) found many applications in such areas as data communication and 3D sensing. Using surface emission from VCSEL will bring several benefits such as a simplified assembly process and potential reduction of the product cost. However, the requirement of generating relatively high optical power and maintaining single mode operation at the same time is rather challenging for VCSEL devices.

In this project, different approaches for optical mode control in VCSEL devices will be studied both theoretically and experimentally. For efficient coupling of light into the HAMR transducer, the light should be linearly polarised. The method yielding the highest single-mode linearly polarised power under reliable operating conditions will be developed for potential commercialisation.

For scaling of the reliable optical power to >20mW, in addition to single emitter devices, the linear array of coherently coupled VCSELs will be designed and investigated. Finally, a novel chip of coherent VCSEL array with top-top contact (compatible with the flip-chip bonding) and polarisation locking will be fabricated and delivered to potential customers for evaluation.

They will work in a genuine industry environment, gaining experience in:

  • Designing and fabricating VCSEL devices for high volume HAMR application according to the customer requirements
  • In-depth understanding of semiconductor processes, development of new process steps and optimisation for manufacturing
  • Various laser characterisation techniques using both existing standard electro-optical test set-ups and specially dedicated to investigate the phase coherence of VCSEL arrays
  • Reliability assessment and yield analysis
  • Writing reports, documentation and scientific papers



In Year 1 (September 2018 – June 2019) the candidate will follow the standard CDT programme.

Semester 1 (Sep - Dec 2018): Resident in Glasgow, UK (University of Glasgow)

Semester 2 (Jan – Jun 2019): Resident in Belfast, UK (Queen’s University Belfast)

Summer project (Jun – Aug 2019) and PhD project (Sep 2019 – Sep 2022): Resident in Zurich, Switzerland (II-VI LE). The candidate will continue to be involved in cohort activities and occasional travel back to Glasgow/Belfast, or for the Innovation Academy modules in Dublin, use of lab facilities and the annual CDT conference.



  • CDT funds all university tuition fees plus one semester’s accommodation costs in Year 1.
  • In Year 1, the candidate will be in receipt of an academic tax-free stipend at a rate of £14,553 p.a.
  • In Years 2-4, the candidate will be in receipt of an employment contract with the company with a salary of ~52,800 CHF p.a. (~£38,700).


Application Instructions

The closing date to submit an application for this specific project is Friday 18th May 2018. Interviews are likely to take place the following week. 

  • Apply via the CDT website
  • Click My Applications>New Application> Postgraduate Research>Maths & Physics>Physics>‘PhD Photonic Integration and Advanced Data Storage’.
  • Enter the project title and use the personal statement to tell us why you believe you are a good fit for the programme and this particular project, acknowledging UK/Switzerland travel.
  • If eligible, the applicant will be invited for a Skype interview between Prof Richard Hogg, Dr Evgeny Zibik and the CDT External Engagement Manager, Dr Caryn Hughes. 



E Academic Supervisor: Professor Richard Hogg, University of Glasgow

E External Engagement Manager: Dr Caryn Hughes, University of Glasgow

E: General Enquires

T: +44 (0) 289097 3049 (CDT Executive Manager, Brenda Morris)

Twitter: @CDT_PIADS