Research Fellow / Senior Research Fellow for Low-noise Fibre Lasers for Beam Combination

Southampton, United Kingdom
£33,314 to £53,353 per annum
16 Feb 2023
End of advertisement period
22 Mar 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Fibre & Systems Group

Location: Highfield Campus
Salary: £33,314 to £53,353 per annum
Full Time Fixed Term for 3 years
Closing Date: Wednesday 22 March 2023
Interview Date: To be confirmed
Reference: 1924922PN-R2

Standard multi-kW fibre lasers are now routinely produced by manufacturers worldwide and are widely used in the most advanced production lines for cutting, welding, 3D printing, and marking of a myriad of materials from glass to steel. The ability to precisely control the properties of the output laser beam and to focus it on the workpiece makes high-power fibre lasers (HPFLs) indispensable to modern manufacturing. As we enter the Digital Manufacturing/Industry 4.0 era however, new challenges and opportunities for HPFLs are emerging.

The primary objective of this 5-year project is to move beyond the “fixed” fibre lasers that are currently used in manufacturing, and towards “smart” fibre lasers that are automatically reconfigured and optimised in real-time depending on the application. This ambitious objective requires research breakthroughs across the spectrum of fibre laser development, from the development of new fibre core materials, to addressing limits imposed by SBS and TMI, to high-speed beam and polarisation shaping, to multi-channel kW level energy delivery, and finally using deep learning to solve the complexity challenge associated with coherent beam combination.

The objective of this specific task is to develop a ‘digital fibre laser’, through the neural-network control of a tiled array of fibre lasers in a coherent beam combination architecture, for unlocking novel power scaling and beam shaping capabilities in real-time. Candidates will ideally have a strong background in fibre lasers and amplifiers and low-noise lasers, along with their practical implementation. Whilst this is a laser development project, awareness of deep learning techniques in the field of lasers will be beneficial as you will be working closely with deep learning specialists. 

You will join a project team of eight PDRAs focussed on delivering the next generation of HPFLs. You will have access to the state-of-the-art Zepler Institute Cleanroom Facilities (, and be led by a team of world leading experts in the fibre laser and deep learning domain. Line management will be provided by Prof Johan Nilsson.

You will hold a PhD or equivalent professional qualifications and experience in photonics or optoelectronics or demonstrate a strong affiliation with the aforementioned research domains. We are currently recruiting for six PDRA positions for different tasks of the project, and we encourage applicants with a combination of the above skills, across experimental and theoretical domains, to apply. Positions will be initially available for three years, with the possibility of extension to five years. Whilst you should apply for the most appropriate position, if unsuccessful we may consider you for a different role. Each of the advertised positions are available either as a Research Fellow or a Senior Research Fellow dependent upon experience and skill set.

*Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification. The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD. Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is central to the ethos in the Zepler Institute. We encourage women, Black, Asian and other minority ethnic, LGBTQ and disabled applicants to apply for this position.  We value diversity and inclusion at the University and aspire for our staff population to be broadly representative of our community. In recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science we were awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze. Full consideration to flexible working including part-time and due consideration will be given to applicants who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy** and onsite childcare facilities along with other benefits such as the cycle to work scheme.

The University of Southampton is in the top 1% of world universities and in the top 10 of the UK’s research-intensive universities. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and being a globally responsible university and has recently been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.  This commits all of our staff and students to take responsibility for managing their activities to minimise harm to the environment, whether this through switching off non-essential electrical equipment or using the recycling facilities.

**subject to qualifying criteria

To informally discuss the position, please contact Dr Ben Mills ( or Prof Johan Nilsson (

Application Procedure:

You should submit your completed online application form at The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Janice Poon (HR Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 4043 or email Please quote reference 1924922PN-R2 on all correspondence.

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