First-principles calculations of defects in solids for quantum technologies

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Atomic defects in solids are one of the most promising single-photon sources or “quantum emitters”, an important building block for many quantum technologies. As no single-photon source displays all ideal properties, a significant effort is being devoted to the discovery and development of candidate defects and host materials. In order to design and engineer better quantum emitters, a fundamental understanding of their optical and electronic properties, as well as defect formation and migration, is essential.

In this project, first-principles quantum mechanical calculations combined with machine-learning techniques will be used to provide a detailed understanding of key properties such as optical emission spectra and their temperature dependence, defect dynamics and formation mechanisms. The focus will be on defects in layered two-dimensional materials such as hexagonal boron nitride. The computational tools and theoretical insights developed in the project aim to inform the design of atomic defects systems for tailored applications as quantum emitters.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Dr Carla Verdi

School of Mathematics & Physics

Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of computational materials physics, especially ab initio materials modelling based on density-functional theory would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of solid state physics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of ab initio materials modelling is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2024. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process