PhD Studentship Quantum Effects and Decay Processes in Photosynthesis and Ion-cavity Systems.

The Project

It has been quite unexpected in recent years to find that quantum effects may play a role in photosynthesis and, even more intriguingly, it seems that decay processes can enhance the transport of photosynthetic energy. The natural expectation is that decay, involving the interaction of a quantum system with its environment, almost inevitably results in the destruction of coherent energy transport. The aim of the PhD project is to understand the environment of several unusual quantum systems including models of energy transport in photosynthesis, models of molecular environments, and models of optical cavity systems. The project will also examine the role of entanglement and models of experimental techniques: for example, models of pump-probe spectroscopy, with the addition of a quantum system for the target of pulsed lasers. Theory will be developed for cavity-ion systems, i.e. systems of ions interacting with optical resonators, or multi-mode cavities.

This studentship is jointly-funded by the EPSRC and the School of Mathematical & Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex.


The project is supervised by Prof Barry Garraway, who works in theoretical Quantum Optics, and Dr Matthias Keller, an experimentalist specialising in ion trap cavity QED.

Award amount

£13726 per annum tax-free bursary and waiver of UK/EU fees each year for 3.5 years.

Qualifications required

Applicants must have, or expect to obtain, a first or a high upper second class honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Master’s degree in Physics or a very closely related discipline.

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Familiarity with methods and techniques used in quantum physics is essential. Programming experience is desirable. Experience with quantum optics, quantum information, atomic physics and related areas is advantageous.

Eligibility for funding

This award is for UK and EU students, subject to eligibility requirements as described on the EPSRC website:

How to Apply

Apply on-line here:

State in the Other Information / Funding section of the form that you are applying for the “PhD studentship on quantum effects and decay processes with Professor Barry Garraway”.

You must supply:

A statement of up to 1500 words detailing why you wish to carry out doctoral research and discussing your specific research interests within the scope of the advertised area;

University transcripts showing the marks you obtained for your Bachelor and/or Master’s degree.


Deadline for applications: 31st July 2013.
Start date for the project: 19th September 2013.

Further information

The University of Sussex Physics Department received a top grading for its research in the last research assessment exercise (ranked 8th in the UK). It was ranked 5th in Great Britain and 37th in the world according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2010) and was ranked 5th in UK for Physics in the Times Good University Guide (2013). The Department has approximately 190 undergraduate students, 30 MSc students, 50 PhD students and 15 postdoctoral fellows.

The student will be expected to undertake 60 hours per year teaching undergraduate students.

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Contact details

Informal enquiries about the project should be sent to Professor Barry Garraway,

Enquiries about the application procedure to Mr Richard Chambers,

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