A Quantum Receiver for Classical Wireless Communication Systems

The aim of this study is to investigate Rydberg atoms as a receiver for classical digital communication systems. Rydberg atoms have very large radius and their valence electrons are very loosely bound. Thus, the quantum properties of a Rydberg atom is altered when it encounters electromagnetic fields, giving it the potential to form a very sensitive wireless receiver. The resulting strong electric-dipole coupling of the Rydberg atoms to the electromagnetic field can be retrieved quantum-optically using electromagnetically induced transparency. These interesting properties make a Rydberg atom a potential quantum receiver for receiving radio waves over a very wide band.

A Rydberg atom quantum receiver promises higher sensitivity than the conventional electrical antenna and does not require the use of local oscillators, mixers and so on that make up the traditional radio receiver. As a result, thermal noise and interference associated with these electronic sub-systems are not present.  The Rydberg atom quantum receiver for radio signals is new, radical and has the potential to transform wireless communication.

This research will involve a detailed study of the response of a Rydberg atom quantum receiver to a modulated radio wave. Specifically, this project will develop an experimental test-bed to investigate the: (i) linearity of the response of a Rydberg atom quantum receiver; (ii) impact of a Rydberg atom concentration on the quantum receiver sensitivity, linearity and dynamic range; (iii) demodulation of digital data impressed on the phase and amplitude of a radio wave as well as on multiple sub-bands.

The ideal candidate for this project would have a first degree in physics, electronic and electrical engineering or a related discipline. A passion for experimental work and capability to develop/apply mathematical modelling techniques will be particularly important for this project.

Closing Date: 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.

Undergraduate degree in Physics, Electronic and Electrical Engineering or related discipline.


Further information and other funding options.

EPSRC funded (see EPSRC student eligibility). Tuition fees + stipend available for Home students or EU students who have been resident in the UK for 3 years (International students not eligible)

Applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere

Informal Enquiries: