PhD scholarship: A Quantum Cascade Laser platform for broadband THz sensing and imaging


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Engineering and Computing
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship
Scholarship value $28,092 per annum (2020 rate), indexed annually
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Opening date 21 September 2020
Closing date 19 October 2020


School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

The candidate will work within a team of researchers in the UQ-Photonics group within the School of IT and Electrical Engineering. This project is perfectly aligned with the main efforts of the ITEE school and the university. School has a strong effort in developing laser-feedback interferometric sensors with several “world first” results, industrial and ARC funded grants in the past few years and strong international collaborations with European partners. The biomedical applications of the work proposed, will complement the imaging systems already being developed within the School (MRI, Microwave imaging systems) and will provide opportunity for additional work on image data fusion and collaborative work with other research areas within the School focusing on image processing and data engineering. Therefore, the project has a perfect match to the Schools strengths and would be more than adequately supported by the existing laboratory and computing infrastructure, as well as supervision expertise and opportunities for international exposure.

The award

Supervisor – Professor Aleksandar Rakic

The UQ team is currently working on an exciting new sensing technology based on Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) in collaboration with high profile teams at universities in Europe, including Ecole Normale Paris and the University of Leeds. This position will be based out of UQ and work closely with researchers here and with our international collaborators.

This project proposes a new broadband laser technology for THz sensing. This semiconductor laser based THz technology is crucial for a wide range of applications requiring the acquisition of THz spectral signatures of materials and high-frame rate hyper-spectral THz imaging.

Terahertz (THz) quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) have emerged as a premier compact source of high-power radiation in the THz spectral range. Combining the QCL illumination source with laser-feedback interferometry (LFI) — an effective self-detection scheme — provides a high-speed high-sensitivity detection mechanism which inherently supresses unwanted background radiation. Operating in the THz (~0.1–10 THz) and enjoying the high output power of QCLs, this THz sensing scheme enjoys has been successfully employed for a range of imaging and sensing applications. The other main technology platform is time domain spectroscopy (TDS) which has the distinct advantage of broadband operation, which permits its use in spectroscopy, but suffers from low power at THz frequencies >~2 THz.

Currently, there is no technological platform that enjoys high power broadband operation at THz frequencies > 2 THz. This aim of this project is to investigate the generation and self-detection of ultra-short THz pulses at high repetition rate in model and experiment, and to demonstrate the potential of this approach to sensing and imaging technologies.

This project will focus on the exploration injection locking in QCLs and generating broadband emission through active mode locking in a THz semiconductor laser. The THz laser coupled with the self-detection technique is the key to realising this, and will be explored both in model and experiment.

The candidate will work closely with UQ team and intentional collaborators to develop signal processing techniques for image formation from experimentally-acquired signals.

A working knowledge of laser-based systems, physics/electrical engineering and signal processing would be of benefit to someone working on this project.


To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

Applications are closed.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘RAKIC THZ’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Selection criteria

To be eligible to apply, you must also meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ. Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of optics or photonics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of specific know-how in operating and characterisation of THz QCLs  is highly desirable.

Applications are closed.


Professor Aleksandar Rakic
Applications are closed.

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.

Applications are closed.