The School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow is highly rated by the UK government for its research, and our research groups are internationally renowned for their work.  The strong links with other institutions in SUPA, as well as across the UK and internationally in major research collaborations contribute to an excellent environment for top quality research.  The Postgraduate Research Opportunities make it an excellent place to study for a PhD and our undergraduate courses offer the chance to get involved in research projects in cutting edge science.



Institute for Gravitional Research (IGR)

The work at the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow, supported by STFC funding, is concentrated on the development of detectors to search for gravitational waves from astrophysical sources. The main areas of research are precision novel interferometric techniques and the development of systems of ultra low mechanical loss for the suspensions of mirror test masses. The group is also involved in the space-based LISA mission as well as data analysis activities within the LIGO Scientific Collaboration.




Optics research group

Optical tweezers
Light from a laser pointer can move microscopic particles like individual cells and bacteria. The group uses computer controlled holograms to split a single laser into many beams each controlling a particle. Using high-speed cameras scientists watch, listen and through advanced interfaces feel the micro world.

Professor Miles Padgett heads the Optics research group at the University of Glasgow. His 15-person team covers a wide spectrum from blue-sky research to applied commercial development, funded by a combination of government charity and industry. The group is best known for its work on optical angular momentum (where light beams can spin microscopic objects) and the development of optical tweezers (which use laser beams to manipulate the microscopic world). They also study how tiny prisms and lenses can create strange optical transformations and how optical beams interact with cold atoms and gases. The group´s research also includes an optical spanner for spinning micron-sized cells, use of orbital angular momentum to increase the data capacity of communication systems and an angular form of the quantum Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paradox.



Quantum theory group

The Quantum theory group has many years of experience and expertise in quantum optics and quantum information and specialises in quantum limits in metrology and imaging, quantum communications and in the mechanical effects of light. Our interests are very broad, however, and include recent contributions in the theory of gravitational waves and in the study of chiral molecules. We delight in working closely with experimental teams and have made a speciality of the modelling and interpretation of challenging optics experiments.





Quantum sensors group

Professor Robert Hadfield leads the Quantum Sensors group at the University of Glasgow. His team are developing the world’s most advanced detectors for infrared light. These exquisitely sensitive devices, based on superconducting nanowires, are capable of registering the arrival of a single infrared photon with low noise and excellent timing resolution. These devices can be mounted in practical closed-cycle refrigerator platforms and have been deployed in advanced photon counting applications including quantum cryptography, time-of-flight ranging, distributed fibre sensing and laser medicine. Using the state-of-the-art facilities of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre, Professor Hadfield and his team are fabricating superconducting nanowires directly atop integrated photon circuits – a new paradigm for compact, scalable quantum information processing devices.