Scholarships & funding opportunities

Structured illumination for visible light communications

This scholarship is to fund a PhD project in the Institute of Photonics. Further details can be found in the project section.

 Institute of Photonics

The Institute of Photonics (IoP), established in 1996, is a commercially-oriented research unit at the University of Strathclyde, the Times Higher Education UK University of the Year 2012/13 and UK Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2013/14.  The Institute’s key objective is to bridge the gap between academic research and industrial applications and development in the area of photonics.  The offices and laboratories of the IoP are based in Strathclyde’s Glasgow city centre campus.  We are part of the Strathclyde Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) initiative and co-located with the new Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics.  Researchers at the IoP are active in a broad range of photonics fields under the areas of Photonic Devices, Advanced Lasers and Neurophotonics.


  • Value Full funding
  • Opens 2 February 2016
  • Deadline 1 October 2016
  • Help with Tuition fees
  • Duration 3.5 years


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 UK and EU nationals only.

Project Details


Visible light communications (VLC) based on the combined use of LED-based solid-state lighting technology as both illumination and wireless data communications sources (‘data through a light-bulb’) is an area of intense international research interest. This field offers the very exciting prospect of so-called ‘LiFi’ – networked, lighting-based Datacom – to supplement and add entirely new capability to WiFi, but also opens up broader prospects interfacing to instrumentation, metrology and quantum technologies. A key research opportunity is this field is the potential of the underpinning gallium nitride (GaN) LED sources to interface to advanced electronics, especially in the case where the LEDs can be custom-designed with CMOS control in mind. We have been exploring the implications of CMOS-controlled pixelated LEDs for novel data encoding and spatial multiplexing at very high (multi-Gb/s) data rates, establishing world-leading performance (e.g. D. Tsonev et al. (2014): 130 Citations to date).


Beyond this, however, is the tantalising prospect of using these sources to locate and track objects and to target customised data streams or excitation/ranging beams towards different objects in multiple locations. This possibility exists because, under CMOS control, binary mask pattern sequences can be programmed onto suitably designed LED arrays which allow networked objects to ‘self-locate’. Once the source knows the location of the targets, it can then re-configure to direct beams of e.g. different data streams towards each. This project will build on early stage progress which has demonstrated the feasibility of these concepts, to (1) develop the novel GaN device technology required for these sophisticated ‘super-smart lighting’ demonstrations and (2) implement the necessary electronic interfacing and software development. It will (3) study the wavelength down-conversion of these pattern-programmable sources for such as white-light structured illumination and single-photon source structured illumination (patterned excitation of colour-centre-containing diamond) in conjunction with detection based on single photon sensitive avalanche photodiode (SPAD) photodetectors and cameras. As SPADs have already been shown both to act as effective quantum detectors and as advantageous communications detectors, there are exciting opportunities to link quantum technology and Datacom in this work.