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PhD Studentship: Super-optical resolution imaging using a phonon probe microscope


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Friday 07 June 2024
Reference:  ENG1758

This exciting opportunity is based within the Optics and Photonics Research Group at the Faculty of Engineering (FoE), University of Nottingham which conducts cutting-edge research into the development of imaging technology for biomedical applications.


We are seeking PhD students who are motivated, curious and passionate about scientific research. Together we will make technological advances in imaging research technologies that can close in maximum resolution currently achievable with non-invasive imaging techniques. These are extremely relevant for biomedical applications, particularly if they lead to the characterisation of mechanical properties.   


Imaging and characterising biology is an extremely difficult task. Understanding biological cells as the building blocks of life is fundamental for biology and healthcare. Cells however exhibit very little intrinsic contrast when imaged with light and due to their dimensions, are very difficult to study alive and unperturbed. The short wavelengths (i.e. UV) or fluorescent dyes required to resolve fine features of cells are damaging. Therefore, imaging cell subcomponents at high resolution often requires electron microscopes which can only image dead and dehydrated cells. Alternatively, sound carries less energy than light so short acoustic wavelengths (~300nm) are not damaging to living tissue.  


You will have the opportunity to develop a new form of acoustic imaging called phonon probe microscopy that aims to break the optical resolution limit without relying on damaging radiation or toxic dyes. You will work with experts in optics, instrumentation and cell biology to deliver the new generation of label-free super-resolution phonon microscopes.

Who we are looking for

An enthusiastic, self-motivated, resourceful candidate with a 1st or 2:1 in Engineering or Physics. Programming and signal processing and fundamental skills to undertake the project however experience in optics, ultrasonics and or cell culture will be also beneficial. The project will take place at the University Park campus and will provide an excellent platform for career development, travel and publication.

Funding support

Funding for this opportunity is targeted at UK nationals, and exceptional international candidates can also be considered. The University of Nottingham actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.


The Faculty of Engineering provides a thriving working environment for all PGRs creating a strong sense of community across research disciplines. Community and research culture is important to our PGRs and the FoE supports this by working closely with our Postgraduate Research Society (PGES) and our PGR Research Group Reps to enhance the research environment for PGRs. PGRs benefit from training through the Researcher Academy’s Training Programme, those based within the Faculty of Engineering have access to bespoke courses developed for Engineering PGRs. including sessions on paper writing, networking and career development after the PhD. The Faculty has outstanding facilities and works in partnership with leading industrial partners. 

Please apply here

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG and supervisors name) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship. 

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.





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