Student wins prize for top optoelectronics project

Maurice and KlaudiaA student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy has won a prize for the research project she completed in one of the most cutting edge areas of science.

Klaudia Wawrowska applied to the Rank Prize Funds for a vacation studentship so that she could spend last summer carrying out a project on quantum optoelectronics.

She has now received the Rank Prize Funds Optoelectronics Committee's prize for best project, for the work she completed under the supervision of Dr Luke Wilson.

Klaudia is in the final year of her MPhys Theoretical Physics degree. For her Rank Prize Funds project, she worked with researchers Dominic Hallett and Dr Andrew Foster in our Low Dimensional Structures and Devices research group.

She said: "The initial aim of the project was to work on the development of single photon switches.

"We were using integrated semiconductor quantum dots embedded in photonic waveguides. The quantum dots act as optical non-linearities when excited with laser light, which means that they are capable of enhancing the strength of light-matter interactions and so can be used to modulate the incoming photon signal.

"The project was experimental as well as computational, so I learned a range of new skills. Aside from all the experimental work done in the lab, I got to learn how to simulate light confinement and mode propagation in various photonic crystals."

Before her summer placement, Klaudia completed our Quantum Information Laboratory project in the third year of her degree. In this lab, which is the first of its kind in the UK, students work with research quality lasers, detectors and photon counting modules to build photon measurement systems to a professional standard.

She said: "I really loved the fact that for the first time I got to see quantum mechanics in action, which I never thought I'll get to do at an undergraduate level. I got to learn about things like quantum teleportation and single photon sources, and how they can be used in quantum computing, which I found incredibly interesting."

Klaudia is now considering applying for a PhD in semiconductor physics or quantum computing after graduation.

The Rank Prize Funds were established in 1972 by the late British industrialist Lord Rank well known for his highly successful film studios and flour and bread factories. Each year, the organisation supports student projects in optoelectronics and nutrition.

The Rank Prize Funds

Academic staff:

Dr Luke Wilson