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MRes Quantum Photonics and Nanomaterials

This masters by research course brings together the University of Sheffield's expertise in quantum photonics and nanomaterials. There is a particular focus on the study of novel fundamental phenomena in condensed matter systems as well as applications in quantum information processing, photovoltaics and optoelectronics.

Our staff are at the forefront of technological advances, working with support from UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, European Research Council and the Horizon2020 programme, the Royal Society, the Leverhulme Trust and the British Council as well as CONACyT, the National Council of Science and Technology in Mexico. Overall, we have a strong experience in training both home and international postgraduate and undergraduate students from various countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North and Latin America.

This one-year research degree is a chance for you develop expertise in one of the most exciting areas of modern science. It is a unique opportunity gain hi-tech skills that are central to the latest advances in electronics, IT and computing.

Find out more about Physics and Astronomy research at Sheffield


To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

Postgraduate online application form

You can find more information about the application process on the University's postgraduate webpages.

How to apply: applying essentials


If you would like to know anything else about this course, contact Professor Davide Costanzo.

T: +44 (0)114 222 4549
E: d.costanzo@sheffield.ac.uk

You can also visit us throughout the year:

Postgraduate open days, visit afternoons and online chats

About the course

This course is taught over 12 months by the University of Sheffield's quantum photonics and nanomaterials specialists. It is designed to build on the knowledge you have from your undergraduate degree, and give you advanced knowledge of electromagnetism, semiconductors and solid state physics. Alongside core modules, you have the option to study other areas of physics that interest you, such as advanced quantum mechanics, soft condensed matter and biological physics

The biggest part of your degree will be your research project. Our staff will give you research training to help you to develop your professional skills as you work alongside expert physics researchers. You will be able to learn how to design a major project, organise your work, and analyse and present the results. At the same time, you will get expert insights into the topic you are studying and experience life as a professional researcher.

Your training will cover optical experiments, fabrication of devices, numerical methods and more. The aim of providing this practical experience in a professional research environment is to help put you in a strong position to apply for a PhD or specialist graduate level job.

Projects can be taken in one of the following areas, where the University of Sheffield has significant expertise:

  1. Theory of quantum optical information processing (QIP)
  2. Spin phenomena in semiconductor nanostructures
  3. Integrated photonic structures for QIP
  4. Novel atomically thin 2D materials for optoelectronic applications
  5. Nonlinear and hybrid-light matter phases in photonic geometries
  6. Perovskites and organic semiconductor for photovoltaics
  7. Organic sensor devices
  8. Physics of polymer crystallization

Find out more about our research in these areas:

Entry requirements

For this course, we usually ask for a first class undergraduate degree in physics or a related subject. We can also accept qualifications from other countries. You can find out which qualifications we accept from your country on the University's webpages for international students.

Prospective international students: Your country

English Language Requirements

If you have not already studied in a country where English is the majority language, it is likely that you will need to have an English language qualification. We usually ask for:

  • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS): Overall grade of 6.5 with 5.5 in each component

You can find out whether you need to have an english language qualification, and which other English language qualifications we accept, on the University's webpages for international students.

English language requirements

The English Language Teaching Centre offers English language courses for students who are preparing to study at the University of Sheffield.

English Language Teaching Centre

Fees and funding

Up-to-date fees and funding opportunities can be found on the University of Sheffield's webpages for postgraduate students. These may include scholarships for home and international students and a 10% discount for University of Sheffield graduates.

Postgraduate taught course fees and funding

Current modules

The modules listed below are examples from the current academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers.

Core modules:

PHY475: Optical Properties of Solids (10 credits)

Professor Mark Fox

This course covers the optical physics of solid state materials. It begins with the classical description of optical propagation. It then covers the treatment of absorption and luminescence by quantum theory, and the modifications caused by excitonic effects. The phenomena are illustrated by discussing the optical properties of insulators, semiconductors, and metals. The infrared properties of ionic systems are then discussed, and the course concludes with a brief introduction to nonlinear crystals.

PHY481: Advanced Electromagnetism (10 credits)

Dr Pieter Kok

In this course, our starting point is Maxwell's equations, after a brief recap of vector calculus. We describe the electric and magnetic fields in terms of potentials, and present two general classes of solving Maxwell's equations. We treat fields in macroscopic media, waveguides and cavities, and we end with the relativistic formulation of electrodynamics.

PHY482: Semiconductor Physics and Technology (10 credits)

Professor Maurice Skolnick and Professor Mark Geoghegan

This module builds on the core solid state physics modules to provide an introduction to semiconductor electronic and optoelectronic devices and modern developments in crystal growth to produce low dimensional semiconductor structures (quantum wells, wires and dots). Band structure engineering, the main physical properties and a number of applications of low dimensional semiconductor structures are covered.

PHY6340: Research Skills in Physics (30 credits)

Professor Simon Goodwin

This module is designed to allow students to explicitly reflect on various aspects of the research process and its communication. Students will be required to keep a diary of their project and reflect on their progress; write a literature review of the project area reflecting on how and why they chose their sources; reflect on the process of learning a new skill for their project; communicate what their research is about and why it is important to a general audience; consider how to teach what they are researching at undergraduate level.

PHY6380: Solid State Physics (10 credits)

Professor Maurice Skolnick and Dr Dmitry Krizhanovskii

This module covers the classification of solids into the three types - metals, semiconductors and insulators, the free electron model, the origin of electronic band structure, the fundamental properties of conductors and semiconductors, carrier statistics, experimental techniques used to study carriers in a solid, the classification and physics of the principal types of magnetism.

PHY6480: Research Project in Physics (90 credits)

Professor Davide Costanzo (co-ordinator – a member of staff will be assigned to supervise your project based on the topic you are studying)

This module will give students the opportunity to develop skills relevant to a career in physics research. It will consist of a laboratory or analytical based research project in one of the Department’s research groups. Each student will work under the supervision of a member of academic staff and will formulate the hypotheses and questions to be addressed and plan and carry out experiments or simulations to test these hypotheses. The outcome of the project will be summarised in a dissertation and the student will keep a notebook of the research, deliver an oral presentation of their work, and prepare a poster of their findings.

Optional modules:

PHY420: Biological Physics (10 credits)

Dr Rhoda Hawkins and Dr Ashley Cadby

This module will introduce students to biological physics, that is, the application of principles and tools from physics to biological systems. Biological materials are often soft condensed matter with properties between those of simple liquids and solids. In addition biological matter is usually out of equilibrium due to internal biochemical sources of energy. Students will begin to explore the world of biological cells and biopolymer macromolecules, such as DNA. They will see how physics can help understand biological systems through mathematical models and experimental imaging techniques and how this can lead to new physics and applications in biology.

PHY422: Magnetic Resonance: Principles and Applications (10 credits)

Professor Alexander Tartakovskii

The module will provide an overview of the basics of magnetic resonance, and then consider its applications in systems ranging from macroscopic living organisms, as in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) widely used in hospitals, to nanoscale systems where control of single or a few spins is now possible and can also be used for nano-imaging. Special attention will be paid to recent advances in solid state nanoNMR and the control of single electron spins in solid state nano systems using spin resonance techniques.

PHY447: Physics in an Enterprise Culture (10 credits)

Professor David Lidzey and Dr Alastair Buckley

This is a seminar and workshop based course with a high level of student centred learning. The unit will introduce students to the need for innovation and creativity in thinking, together with practical ways to develop, present, and critique, ideas. The course is based around the development of new innovative business or sustainable ventures. Students are tasked with developing ideas for a new business venture that they will modify and improve throughout the course as a result of critical feedback from a number of sources. As part of the course, students will have to pitch their ideas to a panel of experts, and also help ‘road-map’ the development of a new business venture. This course is designed to encourage entrepreneurship, creativity and critical thinking, and will help students in understanding the mechanics of starting a business venture.

PHY449: Further Quantum Mechanics (10 credits)

Professor David Whittaker

This module builds on quantum mechanics, developing the Heisenberg matrix formulation of the theory from the Schrodinger wave picture. Methods are developed for solving time dependent problems, treating problems involving magnetic fields and spin, and introducing many particle wave functions for fermions and bosons.

PHY472: Advanced Quantum Mechanics (10 credits)

Dr Pieter Kok

In this course, we will build quantum mechanics from the ground up, starting with linear vector spaces and Hilbert space. We introduce the postulates of quantum mechanics and explore important topics in modern quantum mechanics such as mixed states, decoherence, entanglement, and quantum teleportation. We also give a thorough treatment of spin and orbital angular momentum. In the second part, we look at many body problems in quantum mechanics. We explore the physics of identical particles, and apply this theory to many-electron atoms, spin waves in solids, and atoms in an optical cavity. Finally, we will briefly introduce the basic principles behind quantum field theory.

PHY477: The Physics of Soft Condensed Matter (10 credits)

Dr Martin Grell

Soft condensed matter is a generic name for a class of materials that play a crucial role in technology as well as providing fascinating and timely scientific problems. These complex materials are typified by polymers, gels and colloidal dispersions, whose properties often seem intermediate between ordinary liquids and solids. Familiar examples from everyday life include plastics, soaps and detergents, foodstuffs, and indeed the material from which living organisms are constructed. Only relatively recently has it been realised that despite the complexity of these materials elegant and simple physical principles often underlie their behaviour; this course provides an introduction to these principles.

PHY6339: Statistical Physics (10 credits)

Professor Paul Crowther

Statistical physics is the derivation of the thermal properties of matter using the underlying microscopic Hamiltonians. The aims of this course are to introduce the techniques of statistical mechanics, and to use them to describe a wide variety of phenomena from physics, chemistry and astronomy.