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PhD in Space-Ground Laser Communications


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Monday 24 April 2023
Reference:  ENG1639


The University of Nottingham is looking for enthusiastic, creative and ambitious applicants to join the new Lumen Lab ( being started in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.


To investigate novel technologies for line-of-sight laser communications between satellites and ground. You will be developing cutting-edge technologies that will enable ultra high-speed internet available anywhere and paving the way for new applications in real-time disaster and climate monitoring.

Key Details:

Fully Funded: Yes

Closing Date: Monday 24th April 2023 (ideally ASAP)

Start Date: October 2023

Supervisor: Dr Peter J. Christopher ( )

Advisor: Dr George Gordon



Laser links have been used between satellites for many years to increase data rates and reduce spectrum crowding. Recently the NASA TBIRD [1] mission demonstrated a breakthrough in using lasers for communication from satellites to ground at 200 Gbps. These speeds are comparable to terrestrial fibre and have the potential to revolutionise modern telecommunications and the space industry. The aim of this project is to understand and expand on the state-of-the-art using a variety of novel approaches including wavefront shaping, alternative laser sources, advanced modulation schemes and new computer algorithms.


The programme will take place within the context of a new research group (The Lumen Lab) at Nottingham and we are aiming to build a motivated and ambitious team operating in a supportive and friendly research culture that supports diversity, team cohesion and individual needs. The lab leader (Peter) has previously run multiple start-ups including Exobotics ( , ProSpectral ( and Nanomation ( and is eager to support future commercialisation projects with students and alumni of the Lumen Lab.

We are looking for smart, driven and creative people with the ability to adapt and learn in a fast-moving area and will focus selection on mathematical and engineering aptitude rather than domain knowledge and we encourage applications from a wide array of backgrounds. We will teach, learn or develop the necessary implementation knowledge within the Lumen Lab. Specifically, you will learn skills in research and communication as well as teaching and public speaking. You will also become proficient in technologies including signal processing, machine learning, optical systems, system design and coding in languages such as C++/MATLAB/Python.

Alongside the research programme, the role will include opportunities for travel to conferences, public speaking, and network building. The University of Nottingham is passionate about supporting enterprise and students will be encouraged to pursue successful projects to commercialisation.

Please send any enquiries to


Eligible for home and possibly international students. Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a 1st class or 2.1 honours masters degree in Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, Materials Science or a related subject. Applicants should contact us to discuss the funding situation before applying.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements [2].


The position will be filled as soon as a suitable person has been found; hence you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible but no later than Monday 24th April 2023

Funding Notes

The position is a 36-month programme and is supported either by a full home (UK) studentship or full international fees options.

Please apply here



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