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Quantum Correlations for Sensing and Imaging in Biochemical Applications


Optical studies of single molecules have led to important advances in chemistry, physics and biology. However, those discoveries are often limited by the sensitivity of the instruments. In an effort to overcome measurement noise and detection limits, researchers around the world seek ways to apply quantum optical precision measurements in single molecule studies. Quantum enhanced single molecule sensors could enable more precise studies of Life’s complexity at molecular level. They could reveal information hidden in the sensor signals.

You will establish a novel single-molecule “nanoprobing” technique by means of analysing the statistical and quantum optical properties of photons emitted from a molecule on a microcavity-based sensor. You will use the highly sensitive optical micro-interferometer together with quantum measurement techniques to study the light matter interaction in either a weak or strong coupling regime. Moreover, measurements extracting more information per photon resource will be ideally suited to study biological samples with minimal perturbation, and to probe samples for longer time periods than otherwise possible using classical light. This approach will be capable of discerning changes in the nano-environment of a molecule (pH, temperature, binding of ligand molecules) and discerning molecular conformations and states with a microsecond time resolution that were previously difficult to detect, fluorescence lifetime imaging. In a second part of the project that will be a team effort at the Living Systems Institute, you will apply your quantum sensing techniques in bio-imaging. The goal is to develop a set of neuro-imaging techniques based on novel quantum approaches to visualise brain function.

We are looking for well-motivated students with a passion and strong background in optics, quantum  optics, and ideally some knowledge in biophysics and optical precision measurements akin to atomic optics for this cutting-edge doctoral project.


Please contact Prof Frank Vollmer for further information:


Please apply by May 02 here: Award details | Funding for prospective students | University of Exeter

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