Alexander Valavanis

Alexander Valavanis


I received my MEng (Hons) degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of York and my PhD degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from the University of Leeds in 2004 and 2009 respectively.

From 2004–2005, I worked with STFC Daresbury Laboratories, Cheshire, developing X-ray detector systems. From 2005–2009, my PhD with the Quantum Electronics Group in the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds, focused on the development of numerical simulations, in C/C++, of quantum-cascade lasers (QCLs) in the silicon–germanium material system. Since 2009, I have worked in the Terahertz (THz) Photonics Laboratory within the same institute, developing new THz imaging and sensing techniques.  In 2016, I was appointed as a University Academic Fellow in THz instrumentation.  In this role, I will focus on the development of THz sources and systems for satellite-based Atmospheric and Space science applications, and for new lab-based high-precision chemical sensing techniques.

In 2019, I was awarded one of the first UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships, which will support my work over the next four years, and enable me to build a new research group in THz space research, with a network of academic and industrial collaborators.  I also lead contracts for the UK Space Agency and Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation, which aim to deliver high-precision THz sources for future satellite applications.

My research has been recognised through awards including the IET Electronics Letters Premium Award (2015) for developing the world-record-holding highest-powered THz QCL, the BNFL Peter Wilson Award (2009) for Materials Engineering research, and the GW Carter (2008) and FW Carter (2009) prizes for my PhD research at Leeds.


  • Level 2 Year Tutor

Research interests

  • THz sources for space and atmospheric science
  • Trace-gas detection
  • Quantum-cascade lasers
  • THz imaging and sensing
  • Self-mixing (feedback) interferometry
  • Charge transport and band-structure in semiconductor nanostructures 
  • Numerical methods for quantum electronics simulations
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds (2009)
  • MEng (Hons) in Electronic Engineering, University of York (2004)

Professional memberships

  • Member of Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)
  • Member of Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Student education

I am the Level 2 Year Tutor within the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.  I undertake a range of teaching activities within the theme of physical electronics and optoelectronics, both at Leeds and at the joint Leeds/Southwest Jiaotong University engineering school in Chengdu, China.  I am currently leading a module within this theme in Chengdu, and I also supervise student projects at Leeds within the theme of optomechanics.  Recent examples of projects I have supervised include the development of an infrared video-rate imaging system, a laser-power stabilisation system, and a laser projector system.  I am also a personal tutor to undergraduate students throughout the degree programme.

Research groups and institutes

  • Pollard Institute
  • Terahertz electronics and photonics

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//">Real-time gas sensing using terahertz quantum-cascade lasers</a></li>