PhD Studentship in implementing quantum illumination with trapped electrons (2021)

PhD studentship in the Geonium Chip Group

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

The Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies is focused on fundamental quantum science as well as on the development of novel quantum technologies. Hosting eight active experimental and theoretical groups, it covers an extensive research area, such as quantum computation and communications with trapped ions, photonics and optical frequency combs, microwave quantum sensors, theoretical quantum optics, quantum metrology, ultra-cold atoms in atom chips and others. Sussex offers a unique environment for highly motivated PhD candidates, providing advanced training in a wide variety of experimental and theoretical skills.

This PhD project is centred on the area of Quantum Metrology and Sensing, namely on the use of quantum microwave radiation for the detection, measurement and scanning of objects with unprecedented sensitivity: from large devices to biologic samples, single virus particles, materials and others. The PhD project will focus on demonstrating experimentally, for the first time, the “Quantum Illumination” protocol in the microwave domain. “Quantum Illumination” has been proposed and theoretically demonstrated as a revolutionary quantum metrology technique, potentially capable of overcoming the accuracy limitations of current MW measurement instruments, by probing the objects with entangled microwave photons. However, a practical implementation of the quantum illumination technique is still an open experimental challenge. At Sussex we have developed a pioneering ion trap quantum technology, which uses a single trapped electron as the quantum emitter and receiver of the microwave radiation. This will allow for the efficient and practical realisation of the “quantum illumination” protocol. The future real-world applications of our research are Near-Field Scanning Microwave Microscopy, Quantum Radar and Quantum Microwave Imaging.

The Project

The PhD candidate will work with an existing experimental cryogenic ion trap setup at the University of Sussex, The successful candidate will receive training in ion trap technology, magnetic fields design with superconductors, cryogenics, RF electronics, MW engineering and quantum optics. The student will also have the chance present their work at international conferences. The project involves international collaboration with world-class quantum optics theorists in Italy and Spain, as well as with industry leaders in the UK.


  • 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  £15609 per year
  • A support grant for three and a half years of £1,650 per year for travel and conferences

The project is funded by the EPSRC and is also strongly financially supported by Leonardo MW Ltd.


Applicants should hold, or expect to hold, a First or Upper Second-Class Bachelor degree in Physics, or a closely-related subject, or a Lower Second-Class degree with a good Master’s degree.  Equivalent non-UK qualifications are accepted.

This award is open to UK nationals or EU nationals with UK settled or pre-settled status.


31 August 2021 16:00 (GMT)

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 EPSRC/AMO/2021/01.

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 Jose Verdu at


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
31 August 2021 16:00 (GMT)


The award is available to people from the following country: