PhD Studentship Experimental demonstration of the extension of non-linear capacity limits in optical fibre networks

(3 years)

Applications are invited for a three year PhD studentship, supported by the School of Engineering and Applied Science, to be undertaken within the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT) ( at Aston University. The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on the limits of optical communications bandwidth in core networks. 

The position is available to start in 2014 (subject to negotiation)

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate plus a maintenance allowance of £13,726. Applicants from outside the EU may apply for this studentship but due to funding restrictions will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees, currently this is £11,010.

Background of the Project

The studentship will work with experienced Research Assistants in the EPSRC funded UNLOC programme ( This project aims to unlock the full data rate potential of installed optical fibre networks. It is recognised that global communication systems are rapidly approaching the fundamental information capacity of current optical fibre transmission technologies. This will have a devastating impact on the economy – leading to either a capacity cap or price increase.  Both will impair economic growth.

The current growth has been supported by optical amplification, wavelength (frequency) division multiplexing, forward error correction, and coherent detection of rectangular QAM signals. However these approaches are already approaching their limits. UNLOC is researching new approaches to unlocking the capacity of future information systems that go beyond the limits of these current optical communications systems: combining techniques from information theory, coding, study of advanced (non-rectangular) modulation formats, nonlinear digital signal processing and advanced photonic concepts to make possible breakthrough developments to ensure a robust communications infrastructure beyond tomorrow.

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This studentship will investigate all-optical techniques to mitigate nonlinear interaction between independent communication channels, and between communication channels and amplified spontaneous emission noise. It will involve experimental verification of the limits, the optimisation of optical subsystems to combat these limits and the assembly and testing of ultra-high capacity network demonstrators to verify the proposed concepts.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in Electronic Engineering or Applied Physics.  Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of optical communications and nonlinear optics. 

For informal enquiries about this and other opportunities within the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT), High-speed Optical Communications research area, contact Professor Andrew Ellis by email at

The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available from the Apply link below Quoting Reference R130416

Closing Date: 31st January 2014.

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