Pre-doctoral positions

Controlling random lasing

Ref. 2020_041

Project description

Applications are invited for two early stage researchers (ESR) to join the joint research team of the Experimental Solid State Group in the Department of Physics, Imperial College London and the Materials Integration and Nanoscale Devices group at IBM Research Europe in Zurich (IBM) in the framework of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Industrial Doctorate Network on ‘Controlling random lasing’.

Applicants should be enthusiastic experimentalists with a degree in Physical Sciences, Material Science or Engineering or a closely related discipline. This is a fixed term post to work on unconventional III-V lasers integrated on chip.

Controlling random lasing Mirrorless and nanostructured lasers are an exciting research avenue, with great technological potential. When many lasers are coupled, the complexity grows and often the lasing operation is uncontrolled. This project is a collaboration between IBM Research Zurich and Imperial College London, to tap into the potential of coupled complex and network lasers for on-chip and neuromorphic applications.

You will study light transport and lasing from (i) coupled nano lasers and (ii) nanoscale networks formed of interconnected sub-wavelength waveguides, to understand how the network topology determines the lasing process and how we can control it. You will design, simulate and fabricate nanolasers or arrays of lasers at IBM. You will exploit the latest simulation tools and machine learning to find the excitation profile to unbalance the lasing dynamics and achieve control of the lasing properties. The project consists of experimental work, material growth or device fabrication, data analysis and modelling the network using a home-built algorithm.

Useful references

  • A nanophotonic laser on a graph, M. Gaio, et al. Nature Communications 10, 226 (2019)
  • Determining random lasing action, R. Sapienza Nature Reviews Physics, 1-6 (2019)
  • InP-on-Si Optically Pumped Microdisk Lasers via Monolithic Growth and Wafer Bonding, S. Mauthe et al. IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. (2019)

Duties and responsibilities

As an ESR you will contribute to independent and original research within the two groups, submit publications to refereed journals and assist with the development and maintenance of the set-ups that you will be using. You will be self-motivated and be able to work alongside and aid graduate students. Interdisciplinary research and collaboration with researchers in other groups is an important aspect of this project.

You will be enrolled in the PhD in Physics programme at Imperial College London, under the supervision of Dr. Riccardo Sapienza, while performing collaborative work together with Dr. Kirsten Moselund and her group at IBM Research. This position strictly requires you to spend 17 months at Imperial College London (UK) and 19 months at IBM Research Europe in Zurich (Switzerland). The two ESRs will alternate the location.

Essential requirements

You have an excellent academic record with a degree in Physical Sciences, Material Science or Engineering or a closely related discipline.

You are self-motivated and able to work alongside colleagues and students, with a high degree of creativity and independence combined with good communication skills in English (spoken and written).

Further information

More information about the Department of Physics, the Experimental Solid State Physics and IBM Research Europe in Zurich can be found on our webpages.

This position is available for up to 36 months, commencing in January 2021 or later.

How to apply

Your application should be submitted here and include the following:

  • A full CV
  • Relevant university transcripts
  • Two references, or contact details of potential referees

Please be advised that the application material may be shared with relevant staff at Imperial and IBM as part of the application process.

Should you have any queries regarding the application process please contact , Section Administrator.

Principal investigators:
Dr. Riccardo Sapienza (
Dr. Kirsten Moselund (


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