APPLICATION DEADLINE: Apply through the myCareers by February 14, 2023.  Applicants must include a resume, brief cover letter, and an unofficial transcript when applying.

SWEP position 131951

Brief description:

Queen’s has recently established through a $7 million grant the NanoPhotonics Research Centre (NPRC) in the departments of Physics and Chemistry.  Its mandate is to foster research in phenomena that occur when light is confined to small nanometer-scale dimensions.  Research in this area has the promise to revolutionize communications and computations – by using the transmission and control of light the way we currently use electronics.

As part of this centre, professor Rob Knobel in the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy is leading a group who are exploiting two-dimensional (2D) materials such as graphene, the single atomic layer of graphite.  This material has a host of amazing properties:  stability, strength, stretchiness, electrical conductivity – all exotic behaviours not seen in bulk material.  We are working as well with similarly exciting 2D materials, building artificial structures a single atomic layer at a time. 

In a group of interlinked projects we want to build structures where light interacts strongly with the 2D membrane.  This strong interaction can allow us to work with the single photons, to control the motion of a vibrating membrane, or to detect miniscule amounts of energy. 

We are looking for a summer research assistant who will work with Professor Knobel and a team of graduate students to work in the NPRC, to use advanced experimental tools, who will help take careful data, and write reports.

Job Description:

We are seeking a student who will work under the supervision of Prof. Rob Knobel to work 35 hours per week for 16 weeks this summer.

The specific responsibilities of the SWEP students are:

  • To work to build new artificial structures using 2D membranes
  • To make optical and electronic measurements on these structures
  • To help design, select, and begin using new apparatus for NPRC
  • To help create experimental apparatus for vacuum and cryogenic measurements
  • To take careful notes and write clear instructions for future users
  • To work closely with graduate students and faculty, assisting in technical jobs where required


Students should have completed at least two years of a physical science or engineering program – with a preference for Chemistry, Physics or Engineering Physics.  Knowledge of chemistry, physics and engineering principles are key, but the ability to tinker, to keep a careful lab book, follow (and develop) recipes, to work in a team and to be willing to learn new skills are essential.