PhD Studentship in Brain imaging (magnetoencephalography – MEG) with quantum magnetometer arrays (2021)

PhD studentship in the Quantum Systems and Devices Group

What you get

  • Fully-paid tuition fees for three and a half years.
  • A tax-free bursary for living costs for three and a half years. From October 2021/22 this is expected to be £15560 per year
  • A support grant for three and a half years of £1,650 per year for travel and conferences.
  • If you are not a UK national, nor an EU national with UK settled/pre-settled status, you will need to apply for a student study visa before admission

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

Our Research Group

Our team uses neutral atomic ensembles for studying a variety of aspects of quantum physics and quantum technology, across a series of experiments in our laboratories at the University of Sussex.  The research ranges from more applied investigations utilising the sensitivity of atomic systems for magnetic field measurements (of both microscopy of surfaces and materials, as well as the magnetic signals from the brain) to more fundamental studies of complex quantum phenomena in ultracold gases both in and out of equilibrium.

Magnetic sensing for new technologies

From smartphone cameras to deep-space telescopes, being able to capture images now underpins a significant amount of our technology. This project aims to expand this technology to low-frequency magnetic fields by creating sensor arrays capable of producing images of magnetic fields. Developing such a device will allow us to observe a range of interesting systems, such as electric vehicles batteries, magnetic nanoparticles and neuronal activity in the human brain.  The Quantum Systems and Devices (QSD) group at the University of Sussex are active in both developing, and furthering the applications of, quantum magnetic sensors for both research and industry.

The Project

Recent work has shown that optically pumped magnetometers (OPMs) are sensitive enough to measure the tiny magnetic fields generated by the body, being around a billion times smaller than the Earth’s magnetic field. As such, OPMs are now viable alternatives to expensive superconducting detectors for bio-magnetism. In particular, they have been shown to be capable of being used in magnetoencephalography – the measurement of the brain’s magnetic fields.

The aim of this work will be to continue the development of magnetometer arrays within the Quantum Systems and Devices group, adaptable to a variety of bio-magnetic systems, including the brain and spinal cord. The PhD student will play a central role in this investigation and will learn a wide array of tools in atomic physics, quantum technology and modelling. They will work with the QSD group at the University of Sussex, as well as local neuroscientists and, where relevant, industry. The successful applicant will have some technical background in one of the sciences and be proficient in computer programming. Some knowledge of medical imaging is an advantage, as is some background in neuroscience.


Applicants must hold, or expect to hold, at least a UK upper second class degree (or non-UK equivalent qualification) in Physics, or a closely-related area, or else a lower second class degree followed by a relevant Master's degree.

This award is open to UK and International students.


15 September 2021 0:00

How to apply

Apply through the University of Sussex on-line system.

Select the PhD in Physics, with an entry date of September 2021.

 In the Finance & Fees section, state that you wish to be considered for studentship no QSD/2021/05

We advise early application as the position will be filled as soon as a suitable applicant can be found.

Due to the high volume of applications received, you may only hear from us if your application is successful.

Contact us

If you have practical questions about the progress of your on-line application or your eligibility, contact Emma Ransley at

For academic questions about the project, contact Dr Fedja Orucevic,


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
15 September 2021 0:00 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: