University of Kent 50th Anniversary Scholarship – Real-time Photonic Terahertz Coherence Tomography

A funded PhD student position (University of Kent 50th Anniversary Scholarship), starting from September 2014, is available in the Broadband and Wireless Communication Research Group at the University of Kent.  The successful candidate will work on a research project entitled “Real-time Photonic Terahertz Coherence Tomography” under the supervision of Dr Chao Wang.

Project details: Coherence tomography has become a powerful tool for cross-sectional (3D) imaging of the internal structure of an object in a non-invasive manner. Terahertz (THz) coherence tomography offers a good combination of resolution and penetration, and has found recent practical applications for non-destructive testing (NDT) in medical imaging, material characterization, sensing, and security systems. However, compared to its well developed counterparts at microwave and optical frequencies, basic research and advanced technology developments in THz coherence tomography are very limited due to the lack of convenient broadband THz sources. The proposed project aims to develop a completely new type of real-time THz coherence tomography based on novel photonics techniques, enabling high-throughput THz tomography at an unprecedented axial scan rate.

The project is a collaborative work between the University of Kent, UK and Free University Brussels (VUB), Belgium. The work builds on Kent expertise in photonics and microwave engineering, and VUB expertise in THz sensing and imaging. A broadband frequency-sweeping sub-THz source will be developed firstly at Kent. In the second stage of the work, a real-time frequency-domain photonic THz coherence tomography incorporating the developed THz source will be built at VUB. Utilities of the developed system in practical NDT applications will also be investigated.

Primarily based at Kent, the student will spend periods of time in the laboratories of VUB to carry out collaborative work. The supervision team includes Dr Chao Wang and Dr Paul Young from Kent, and Prof Johan Stiens from VUB. The student will have the opportunity to obtain joint PhD degrees from both institutions.

Requirements: The candidates should have a strong educational and research background in photonics/optics or related areas relevant to the PhD topic (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. The successful applicant will also be expected to undertake some teaching commensurate with their experience.

Eligibility: Open to all applicants..

Award details: Funding is available at the Home/EU fee rate of 3,900. There will also be combined salary and maintenance funding of 13,726/yr. The award is available for 3 years.

Application: Apply online at!apply, specifying the research topic “Real-time Photonic Terahertz Coherence Tomography”, under supervision of Dr Chao Wang.

Closing date : 22 April 2014.

Enquiries: Any enquiries relating to the project should be directed to Dr Chao Wang,, or Dr Paul Young

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).