UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


PhD Studentship: Machine learning for space-division multiplexing in optical fibres

PhD Studentship: Machine learning for space-division multiplexing in optical fibres

Department: Electronic & Electrical Engineering

Primary Supervisor: Dr Filipe Ferreira

Starting date: Available now

Duration of study: Full Time - up to three years fixed term

Application deadline: Applications will remain open until a suitable candidate is found, but if you are interested please apply as soon as possible.

The studentship will cover UK tuition fees and an annual stipend (tax free) of no less than £19,668 (2023/2024), increasingly annually with inflation. The studentship is funded for up to 3 years on a full-time basis.

* Estimated values, confirmed annually, usually in spring by UKRI and UCL.

Applications are invited for a funded PhD studentship in the Optical Networks Group; Dept Electronic and Electrical Engineering. The aim of the PhD is to develop machine learning methods that could enable spatially multiplexed optical transmission in multi-core and multi-mode optical fibres for a range of applications spanning from high-speed data transmission to environmental monitoring.


Optical communications have to-date been able to fulfil the ever-growing data demand whilst simultaneously reducing cost and energy-per bit. However, it is now recognised that systems are rapidly approaching the fundamental information capacity of current transmission technologies, a trend with potential negative impact on the economy and social progress. To meet future demands with prospective cost and energy savings and avoid the impending exhaust of fibre capacity, the only solution is the emergent technology of space division multiplexing (SDM). It provides much wider conduits of information by offering additional means for transporting channels over one single fibre, using multi-mode and multi-core fibres. However, SDM has not yet found a viable path to access this much higher information capacity due to crosstalk and walk-off between pathways.

This PhD project envisages how to transform SDM technology by developing machine learning based techniques to learn and equalise multiple-input-multiple-output channels such as those of multi-core and multi-mode optical fibres. Together with new transceivers capable of digital space modulation being developed in UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship “Beyond Exabit Optical Communications” ucl.ac.uk/iccs/exabit, the aim is to enable scalability of all data pathways and potentially reduce the cost and energy-consumption per bit.


Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a degree (1st or 2:1) in Physics, Electronic Engineering, or similar.

How to apply:

This studentship is available to start immediately. Applications should be made using the UCL postgraduate study application form and marked to the attention of Dr Filipe Ferreira, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. For further information, interested candidates may contact Dr Filipe Ferreira f.ferreira@ucl.ac.uk with a covering letter and a CV (including marks/grades achieved on current courses).

We will continue to advertise until this studentship has been filled.

About UCL and the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering

University College London (UCL) was founded in 1826 as the third university in England, after Oxford and Cambridge. UCL is the first university in England to admit students of any race, class or religion, and the first to welcome women on equal terms with men. UCL is organized into 11 constituent faculties, within which there are over 100 departments, institutes and research centres. UCL has 983 professors and more than 7000 academic staffs who are dedicated to research and teaching of the highest standards. Its student community is almost 36,000, the largest in the UK. There are 29 Nobel Prize winners and three Fields medalists amongst UCL’s alumni and current and former staff. UCL is the top rated university in the UK for research excellence (REF2014). It has a strong tradition and large knowledge base in medical research with a dedicated institute on Healthcare Engineering and 10+ hospitals. UCL has world-class support for researchers and has been voted the best place for postdoctoral researchers to work for consecutive years by The Scientist magazine. The main campus of UCL is located in central London, close to British Museum, West-End and Thames River.

The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL was established by Professor Sir Ambrose Fleming in 1885 and has a very strong research culture, state-of-the-art research equipment and facilities, and a very rich history of many fundamental research achievements in electronic and electrical engineering. The department has received top ratings in every UK research evaluation carried out to date.

Further information regarding UCL may be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/

Information about the department may be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/eee