Funded PhD Position (University of Kent)

A funded PhD student position, starting from September 2014, is immediately available in the Photonics Lab at the University of Kent, UK. The successful candidate will work on a Marie-Curie CIG project on “Real-time ultrafast optical imaging system for biomedical applications” under the supervision of Dr. Chao Wang.

Project details: Ultrafast continuously running imaging instruments are a vital tool in capturing and visualizing ultrafast non-repetitive and rare events in telecommunications, biomedicine and wide range of scientific research. Optical microscopy is the most widely used diagnostic approach in microbiological research. While breathtaking progress has been made in microscopy, the mostly overlooked in microscopy is the temporal resolution of the imaging systems. In addition, high-throughput imagers are crucial to identify rare diseased cells among a large population of healthy cells. Unfortunately, the throughput of state-of-the-art automated microscopes is limited. On the other hand, while flow cytometers offer increased throughput, they fall short in spatial resolution due to diffraction (non-imaging) measurement. Therefore, an efficient high-throughput flow-through optical imaging system is highly desired to fill in the technological gap between automated high-resolution microscopes and high-throughput flow cytometers.

The proposed research project will target the development of an automated ultrafast flow imaging system to evaluate, analyze, screen and sort a large population of particles with high specificity, high sensitivity, and high precision in real-time. The new imaging system adopts the unique mapping from the spatial information of an object to a serial time-domain using chromatic dispersion and spatial dispersion with high-speed single-pixel detection, and simultaneously amplifies the image in the optical domain. By overcoming the fundamental compromise between sensitivity and speed, an ultrafast (100 Mfps) continuously running imaging system with new and enhanced capabilities will be developed. The technique developed in this project will provide an indispensable tool for significant advancements in interdisciplinary biomedical research where high-throughput imaging instruments are essential.

Requirements: The candidates should have a strong educational and research background in photonics/optics (Master degree is preferred), a strong motivation in research and an excellent study curriculum. Good publication record would be a plus. For overseas students (non-native speakers of English), an English Test score is usually required with minimum requirements: 6.5 IELTS (6.0 in Reading and Writing and 5.5 in Speaking and Listening) or 90 TOEFL (internet-based) including 22 in Reading, 21 in Writing, 21 in Listening and 23 in Speaking. Test report should be taken within two years of the enrolment date.

Award details: Funding is available for Home/EU tuition fees and a bursary of £13,726 per annum. Other funding arrangements are possible for excellent overseas students.

Eligibility: Open to all applicants..

Application: Apply online at, specifying the research topic “Real-time ultrafast optical imaging system for biomedical applications”, under supervision of Dr Chao Wang.

Closing date : 14 April 2014.

Enquiries: Any enquiries relating to the project should be directed to Dr Chao Wang by email at

About the group: The Photonics Lab in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, the University of Kent has been at the forefront of research on radio-over-fiber systems for the last 20 years. The research strength in the area has been recognised by invitations to join EU Networks of Excellence and the current UK Photonics network UNISON. The research activities have been well funded by the European Commission, UK research councils and charitable foundations. For example, the lab was/is involved with European Commission projects ISIS, FUTON, OPTOSAT. The lab has established strong connection with industry partners, such as JDSU, EE, Hitachi, Global Invacom. The Photonics lab is well equipped for all aspects of modern optical communications and photonics research. The University of Kent has recently made significant investment in the Photonics Lab via purchase of new cutting-edge equipment. The Photonics Lab is currently exploring new research opportunities in interdisciplinary areas of microwave photonics (high-speed photonic microwave signal measurement and processing) and biophotonics (ultrafast optical imaging for high-throughput screening of cancer cells in blood).