Postgraduate research opportunities

Integrated Control Electronics for Semiconductor Quantum Devices

The advance of integrated electronics for the control and readout of semiconductor quantum devices will be the focus of this experimental project. The student will develop both classical and quantum hardware and will characterise it at cryogenic temperatures.

Number of places

1

Funding

Home fee, Travel costs, Stipend

Opens

30 November 2020

Duration

3.5 years

Eligibility

  • Minimum BSc degree or equivalent
  • Minimum 2:1 or equivalent

UKRI Studentship Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for UKRI funding has changed for studentships commencing in the 2021/22 academic year. Now, all home and international students are eligible to apply for UKRI funding which will cover the full stipend and tuition fees at the home rate (not the international rate). Under the new criteria, UKRI have stipulated a maximum percentage of international students that can be recruited each year against individual training grants. This will be managed at the institutional level for all EPSRC DTP and ICASE grants. For EPSRC CDT grants, this will be managed by the individual CDT administrative/management team. For ESRC and AHRC studentships the final funding decision will be made by the respective grant holder.

 

To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

 

The residency requirements are based on the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) Regulations 2007 and subsequent amendments. Normally to be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education).

If a student does not meet the criteria above, they will be classed as an international student. The international portion of the tuition fee cannot be funded by the UKRI grant and must be covered from other sources. International students are permitted to self-fund the difference between the home and international fee rates.

Project Details

For practical applications a quantum computer would need to host millions of quantum bits (qubits) with a high degree of inter-qubit connectivity. At present, rudimentary solid-state quantum processors operate in dilution refrigerators at sub-kelvin temperature and are controlled by general-purpose classical electronics at room temperature [1]. In order to enable large-scale quantum hardware, the main hurdle is in envisaging efficient interconnect approaches between classical and quantum electronics [2]. To this end, semiconductor-based quantum computers [3-4] could be advantageous because both the control electronics and the qubits could be integrated on the same chip, overcoming the wiring bottleneck.

 This project will address some of the challenges to make this approach viable. Firstly, there will be a need to design a control electronics layer with extremely modest power consumption to avoid heating the quantum hardware to the detriment of its fragile quantum states. Secondly, the choice of the semiconductor material for the quantum layer will need to be carefully considered. The obvious choice may be silicon for its compatibility with integrated CMOS electronics, but other commercial semiconductors, such as silicon carbide and germanium will be also explored. This will entail characterisation of different quantum devices in typical operating conditions, such as microwave frequency drive and multiplexed radiofrequency readout, as well as in a range of temperatures and external magnetic fields.

The research activities will balance integrated circuit (IC) design and modelling, hands-on cleanroom fabrication, as well as experimental measurements at cryogenic temperatures. The student will be involved in making and characterising electronic devices in a range of semiconductor materials.

This is an exciting opportunity to develop technical skills of relevance to both the academic job market and the nascent quantum technology industry. On the one hand, the successful candidate will be involved in establishing a new academic quantum laboratory, which will feature Strathclyde’s very first dilution refrigerator! On the other hand, the project will provide industrial exposure through our corporate partners, i.e. the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Hitachi Europe.

 [1] F. Arute et al., Nature 574, 505 (2019)

[2] L. M. K. Vandersypen et al., npj Quantum Inf. 3, 34 (2017)

[3] T. F. Watson et al., Nature 555, 633 (2018)

[4] N. Hendrickx et al., Nature 577, 487 (2020)

 

Responsibilities

  • Design and fabricate quantum devices in a cleanroom environment. 
  • Design IC electronics to drive and read quantum hardware.
  • Perform low-temperature experiments and device characterisation. 
  • Analyse experimental data with appropriate software (e.g. Matlab, Python etc.).  
  • Prepare manuscripts for submission to peer-reviewed journals. 
  • Travel domestically across collaborating institutions to carry out part of the project’s activities. 

 

Host Institution(s) 

This project is part of a long-standing collaboration between the Quantum Technology Department at the National Physical Laboratory (Teddington) and the Physics Department at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow). The student is expected to carry out most of the research activities at Strathclyde and will join the Semiconductor & Spectroscopy Group (https://ssd.phys.strath.ac.uk). The student will be also part of a cohort of highly selected students at the Graduate School for Quantum Technology (https://igsqt.ac.uk), a Scottish Centre for research training and skills development in quantum physics and its applications.

Short stays at our industrial partners will be needed and encouraged throughout the project’s lifespan. Funding for travel expenses is readily available.

Funding Details

 Research Council (RC) fees and stipend can only be awarded to UK and EU students and not to EEA or International students.

 

How to apply

For enquiries about the studentship and/or applications, please contact directly Dr Alessandro Rossi.

 

Application documents: CV, recent transcript, and 1-page statement of interest.