Within the scope of my research activities I am currently offering the
PhD projects listed below. In my group we develop new laser interferometer experiments
in our laboratories; we work on the design and development of the large-scale laser
interferometers for gravitational wave detection such as Advanced LIGO and we
develop new numerical simulations to support these experimental activities.
Our video paper on the development of Laguerre-Gauss modes shown below gives a good overview
of our work, it shows the members of my group, a glimpse into one of our labs
and some simulation results. Have a look:
are excited by projects that bring theoretical understanding and experimental physics together,
contact me. For more information (e.g., how to apply) please see also the
Wave group's PhD admissions page.
Note that the descriptions below describe the overall context, the project details will be decided with the students later on. All students working on the following projects will have the unique opportunity to support
the current graviational wave detectors such as Advanced LIGO,
which are expected to make the first ever direct detection of a gravitational wave within the time frame of the student
Optical design and control of multi-interferometer instruments
Start date October 2014, funded by ASPERA (UK and EU
Our research group specialises in precision measurements with laser
interferometers. We have leading roles in the optical design of
large international projects and do tests of new optical technologies
in our own laboratory experiments with small prototype laser
interferometers. Our current experimental work focusses on reducing
measurement noise through coherent detection of multiple optical signals
with a digital system.
Our group has been leading the optical design for a new gravtional wave detector,
the Einstein Telescope (ET).
ET will be able to produce a constant stream of data for astronomical analysis.
To achieve this, the detector will have an enlarged
bandwidth using the Xylophone approach
employing several co-located interferometers tuned to different bands
of the full spectrum. Further advantages can be achieved by using
other co-located schemes, such as the Triple Michelson layout.
However, with a large number of co-located interferometers, the
technical challenges increase, especially regarding the coupling of
unwanted noise sources; the draft optical
layout of the Einstein Telescope highlights the complexity of
such systems. We will investigate interferometers with new digital signal processing schemes to
study the feasibility of such systems and to optimise their
performance. This project includes experimental work in the laboratory
on prototype interferometers as well as theoretical investigations
using computer models.
Laser beam shape distortions and quantum effects
Start date October 2014, funded by a European Marie Curie Initital
Trainign Network (non-UK students)
Modern lasers can generate amazingly stable light fields
at high powers. This has allowed us to create increasingly more
precise interferometers. The largest and most precise laser
interferometers today are ground-based gravitational wave detectors.
The most advanced of these machines, Advanced LIGO, will start
operation in 2015. Our group is involved with the installation of the
instrument, using numerical simulations to understand
unexpected problems with the optics. At the same time we
are investigating new optical technologies in our laboratory which
can be used to improve the advanced detectors in the future. Our group
specialises on the optical design to mitigate the effects of beam shape
changes, and the quantum optical coupling between the light and the
The specific objective of this project is to perform a new
implementation of an optical simulation code that allows to perform
accurate prediction of mirror surface effects as well as the photon
quantum effects. The model shall be implemented using GPU-based
algorithms making the software accessible to experimentalists and
designers for rapid prototyping of new optical technologies.
The main focus of this project is on the implementation and use of
numerical methods, however, the project can involve experimental work
in laser optics as well as theoretical investigations in quantum optics and
Advanced Technologies for Gravitational Wave Detectors
Start date October 2014, STFC studendship (UK students)
The detection of gravitational waves is
currently one of the most
challenging tasks in experimental physics. After several decades
of development in interferometric detectors, the next generation
is expected to reach the sensitivity required for a direct detection
of gravitational waves.
Some of the large laser interferometers
completed their data taking periods looking for gravitational waves,
without achieving the long awaited first direct detection. Now the next generation of detectors with
more than sufficient sensitivity is already under construction. The
Advanced LIGO project (United States) is well underway and our group
takes part in this exciting project.
At the same time we conduct lab-based research on new optical
technologies which could be used to upgrade the interferometric
detectors in the future. Past projects included
the use of ring-shaped laser modes (see this and this paper),
the experimental demonstration of diffractive optics or
displacement noise free interferometry (see e.g.
This is a unique opportunity to study modern laser optics and to
develop instruments or concepts that will be employed to
improve the science reach of one of the most exciting
international large-scale experiments.