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Quantum information and nanotechnology promise to revolutionise the modern world: from quantum computers that can solve complex problems much faster than classical computers, to two-dimensional materials that can pack circuitry into the smallest electrical and optical devices. Physicists are paving the way for new technology that is faster, more powerful, more functional and more secure.

This one-year masters course is designed to teach you the concepts behind the next generation of technology, and the lab skills that will help to make it a reality. It is taught by researchers who are working on the theoretical and experimental basis of quantum information technologies, using the quantum nature of light to enable quantum information processing. The course's particular focus is on developing novel semiconductor photonic nanostructures and 2D materials, such as graphene derived from bulk van der Waals materials, that could dramatically alter the optical and electronics industries.

Course structure

You will study the fundamental properties of light and matter, and how they interact with each other. This includes learning how semiconductors are used in electronic and optoelectronic devices, ranging from nanophotonic circuits, and micro- and nano-sources of quantum light, to photovoltaic solar cells.

By formulating complex equations that describe the theory, and seeing how it's put into practice with experiments in the lab, you'll develop expertise that can be applied to some of the biggest challenges in science and technology, from designing new semiconductor nanostructures and 2D materials to building an optical quantum computer. You'll learn how your specialist knowledge can be applied in the computing, electronics and telecommunications industries.

There are also optional modules to choose from, including quantum mechanics, magnetic resonance, soft condensed matter, biological physics and statistical physics. 

The biggest part of your degree is your research project. You will choose your own topic, and work closely with a member of academic staff from Department of Physics and Astronomy, who is an expert in the area you want to explore. Possible topics include:

  • Theory of quantum optical information processing
  • Spin phenomena in semiconductor nanostructures
  • Integrated photonic structures for QIP
  • Novel atomically thin 2D materials for optoelectronic applications
  • Nonlinear and hybrid-light matter phases in photonic geometries
  • Perovskites and organic semiconductor for photovoltaics
  • Organic sensor devices
  • Physics of polymer crystallisation

You will take part in a research training programme that teaches you how to interpret and evaluate research papers, and how to communicate your own findings. There is also optional enterprise training, where you can use your physics expertise to develop an idea for a new business and pitch it to a panel of experts.

Compulsory modules:

  • Advanced Electrodynamics (10 credits)
  • Optical Properties of Solids (10 credits)
  • Semiconductor Physics and Technology (10 credits)
  • Solid State Physics (10 credits)
  • Physics Research Skills (30 credits)
  • Research Project in Physics (90 credits)

Optional modules – students take two:

  • Advanced Quantum Mechanics (10 credits)
  • Biological Physics (10 credits)
  • Further Quantum Mechanics (10 credits)
  • Magnetic Resonance: Principles and Applications (10 credits)
  • Physics in an Enterprise Culture (10 credits)
  • Statistical Physics (10 credits)
  • The Physics of Soft Condensed Matter (10 credits)

Learning and teaching

You will learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials and your research project, supervised by one of our academic staff.


Assessments include examinations, coursework, essays and other written work, presentations, and your research project.

After your degree

The advanced topics covered and the extensive research training make this degree programme great preparation for a PhD. The specialist knowledge you'll gain can also be applied in the computing, electronics and telecommunications industries.

Physics graduates develop numerical, problem solving and data analysis skills that are useful in many other careers too, such as computer programming, software engineering or data science or technology research and development.

How to apply

To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

Postgraduate online application form

Early applications are encouraged. Any applications received after all places have been filled will be deferred for entry the following year.

Visit the MSc(Res) Quantum Photonics and Nanomaterials page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!





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