PhD position in Atomic Quantum Physics

Research / Academic

Are you a highly motivated student who likes performing state-of-the-art atomic physics experiments as well as numerical simulations? Then we are looking for you.

The hybrid atom-ion Quantum Systems lab, headed by Dr Rene Gerritsma, is part of the Quantum Gases and Quantum Information (QGQI) cluster at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The main focus of the group is to study the quantum dynamics in trapped ions while at the same time developing technology for emerging quantum applications, such as quantum computing and simulation. Dr Arghavan Safavi-Naini has recently joined the Institute of Physics (IoP) at the University of Amsterdam and is part of the QuSoft initiative.

What are you going to do?

You will work in a team that develops a new quantum simulation and computation platform: trapped ions that are pinned by optical microtraps. We aim to use this system as a programmable quantum simulator for quantum many-body dynamics and quantum computation applications. Your project will center on investigation of the role of interaction range, connectivity, and dimensionality in transport and entanglement dynamics in quantum many-body systems both theoretically and experimentally. The project will consist of several interrelated sub-projects that aim to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the functional form of equilibration in systems with long-range vs short-range interactions?
  2. What is the appropriate controlled approximation that captures the transport dynamics in higher dimensional systems?
  3. What is the most experimentally accessible way to create flexible connectivity and create patterns of interest?

In order to explore these topics you will develop state of the art numerical methods based on Matrix Product States (MPS) and Tensor networks. This will allow you to address questions 1 and 2. You will then use both the exact numerics, as well as the approximate techniques, to address question 1 for a variety of connectivity patterns and dimensionality, including 2D triangular lattices, the Bethe lattice, and models such as the SYK model. The methods you develop here will have very broad applications and have the potential to allow for numerical simulation of systems where even the current best exact methods cannot address.

Once we have characterized the behavior of our models theoretically, you will shift your attention to implementing them on the quantum simulation platform. The successful realization of the aforementioned models will be a significant progress in the level of programmability of the trapped ion quantum simulation platforms and on of the first experimental realizations of paradigmatic models such as the SYK model. You will work in a team of two PhD students and a post doc with the aim of implementing quantum simulation models in a trapped ion quantum simulator that is operated in our lab. The work will involve setting up optics, lasers and electronics as well as programming. We will focus in particular on implementing optical forces on the ion crystal that cause local stress or strain on the crystal and use these to further tune the interactions between the ions.

Relevant references:

  • R. Nath et al., New J. Phys. 17, 065018 (2015)
  • Zhang et al., Nature 551, 601 (2017)


What do we require?

We require a MSc. in (theoretical or experimental) Physics or Physical Chemistry and you are requested to motivate why you apply for the position and to supply a CV.

Other skills/experiences/documents that would benefit your application are:

  • previous laboratory experience in an atomic physics lab;
  • solid programming skills (in Python, MATLAB, or equivalent) and previous experience in a numerical project;
  • excellent communication skills (English);
  • scientific publications.

To foster diversity in our research group, we will especially appreciate applications from female candidates.

Salary Benefits:

Our offer

We offer a temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and Master students. 

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a full-time contract of 38 hours a week. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.

Work Hours:

38 hours per week


Science Park 904