Postgraduate research opportunities Non-line-of-sight (NLOS) optical wireless communications with deep ultraviolet lasers


Key facts

  • Opens: Friday 1 September 2023
  • Deadline: Thursday 28 March 2024
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 3.5 years
  • Funding: Home fee, Stipend


The project will develop advanced communication solutions to enable the non-line-of-sight (non-LOS) operation of deep ultraviolet (DUV) laser based Optical wireless communications (OWC). Advanced machine-learning (ML) based algorithm will be developed to enable high-speed operation of sensitive receivers.
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To enter our PhD programme applicants require an upper-second or first class BSc Honours degree, or a Masters qualification of equal or higher standard, in Physics, Engineering or a related discipline. Full funding, covering fees and stipend, is available for applicants who are UK Nationals (meeting residency requirements) or have settled status (meeting residency requirements), pre-settled status or otherwise have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

The optical spectrum offers significantly higher bandwidth for communications compared to the radio spectrum, spanning more than three orders of magnitude. This characteristic makes optical wireless communication (OWC) systems highly appealing, as they can provide unprecedented wireless capacity. Since the atmosphere absorbs the UV spectral regions of solar radiation (creating a ‘solar blind’), UV OWC can benefit from low ambient noise. Consequently, deep UV wavelengths become particularly attractive, especially in challenging environments. Additionally, the high scattering probability of UV light by the earth’s atmosphere can enable long-distance Non-Line-of-Sight (nLOS) Communication – optical communications around corners and over buildings! The downside of the nLOS links is limited channel bandwidth and intersymbol interference (ISI) in combination with high-path loss and atmospheric turbulence.

This project aims to develop a comprehensive channel model for the laser-based deep UV OWC system that accounts for the dynamic effects of turbulence and multiple scattering and to investigate advanced mitigation techniques to enable reliable UV communication. The UV laser development, in association with the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, the UK’s first Fraunhofer centre, will support high-speed, long-distance nLOS communication. The initial phase involves measuring the deep UV-OWC channel under controlled conditions to analyse the influence of device and environmental parameters on the UV communication channel. These measurements will serve as the foundation for constructing a complete communication channel model. Subsequently, the project will focus on developing effective mitigation techniques, including advanced modulation schemes in combination with machine learning, to address the challenges specific to UV-based communication. The research will encompass the design and development of optical systems, advanced signal processing techniques, and communication methodologies, all of which are highly sought-after skills in both academic research and industrial R&D. The PhD student will have access to cutting-edge laboratory facilities, including deep UV lasers and SPAD array devices, optical characterization resources, software tools, and collaboration opportunities with ongoing projects at IOP (Institute of Photonics) and Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP).

Institute of Photonics: The Institute of Photonics (IoP), part of the Department of Physics, is a centre of excellence in applications-oriented research at the University of Strathclyde.  The Institute’s key objective is to bridge the gap between academic research and industrial applications and development in the area of photonics. The IoP is located in the £100M Technology and Innovation Centre on Strathclyde’s Glasgow city centre campus, at the heart of Glasgow’s Innovation District, where it is co-located with the UK’s first Fraunhofer Research Centre. Researchers at the IoP are active in a broad range of photonics fields under the areas of Photonic Devices, Advanced Lasers and Neurophotonics.

Strathclyde Physics is a member of SUPA, the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance.

The University of Strathclyde has, in recent years, been the recipient of the following awards: The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education (2019 & 2021); The Times and The Sunday Times Scottish University of the Year (2020), Times Higher Education University of the Year 2012 & 2019.

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Funding details

The funding covers the full stipend and tuition fees at the home rate (not the international rate). 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.


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Primary Supervisor: Dr Sujan Rajbhandari

Additional Supervisor: Professor Martin Dawson

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Applicants should send an up-to-date CV to in the first instance.

Number of places: 1

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