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PhD studentship in Photonic Sampling

4-year fully funded PhD studentship

Duration of Study: Four Years, Full Time

Start Date: 1st December 2018 with some flexibility

Application deadline: 31 August 2018

Eligibility: UK/EU having been resident in the UK for 3 years.

Supervision: Dr Chin-Pang Liu

Applications are invited for a 4-year fully funded PhD studentship in Photonic Sampling under the supervision of Dr Chin-Pang Liu. This includes fees and a stipend currently at £16,777 (tax free) in 2018-2019.

Digital signal processing is a powerful technique for storing, analysing and manipulating digital signals.  Ultimately, the quality of the signal to be processed is determined by the performance of the analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) which is used to sample the original analogue signal in the first place and produce a digital representation of it.  Photonics has been used to increase the performance of electronic ADCs since the 1970s, forming what is now generally termed the photonic ADC where a mode-locked laser is traditionally used as the sampling pulse source.  However, such pulsed optical sources are expensive, require constant stability adjustments and do not allow flexible sampling frequencies, and as a result their applications are limited. This proposed project will investigate a new high-speed and high-performance photonic sampling technique as a first step of performing analogue-to-digital conversion with the added advantage of having highly flexible sampling frequencies compared to other techniques based on the expensive and bulky mode-locked lasers. This will potentially open up new areas where direct sampling of analogue signals can be performed. For example, in radar/satellite systems, the received microwave/millimetre-wave signals at a remote antenna site can be directly sampled using the proposed technique and the sampled signals then delivered over optical fibre to a central equipment office for digitisation.  Another area which can potentially benefit from the proposed research is medical imaging. In MRI for example, a large amount of data is generated which need to be moved out of the scanner, digitised and then processed. Because of the extremely strong magnetic field around the scanner, reducing the number of metal cables is important. The proposed photonic sampling allows the sampling of the signals as close to the source as possible and uses optical fibre, which is not affected by magnetic field, to transport the sampled signal away from the scanner. This has the potential of enhancing the performance as well as reducing the cost of MRI scanners, thus improving the well-being of the citizens.

Person Specifications and Eligibility:

Candidates should hold, or are about to graduate with, a first or upper-second class degree in Electronic Engineering, Physics or a relevant subject. We particularly welcome candidates with strong interests in digital signal processing, optical and wireless communication systems.

In general, to be eligible for this studentship you must be a UK or EU national, and must have been ordinarily resident in the UK for a period of three years prior to the start of the studentship. For detail, see:

Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Dr Chin-Pang Liu (email:, phone: 020 7679 3973) for informal discussion.

You can also download a copy of the advert.

Formal applications should be made using the UCL postgraduate study application form. Candidates should indicate on the application form under 'Name of Proposed supervisor', Dr Chin-Pang Liu. See: