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Levitation to Understand Physics at the Nanoscale

   Department of Physics

   Sunday, May 01, 2022  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

London United Kingdom Optical Physics Quantum Mechanics

About the Project

Join our international and diverse research group, studying the ways in which physics changes at the nanoscale. We aim to shed light on a range of phenomena, such as the limits of quantum physics, bio-energetics and nano-thermodynamics, and build new technologies with levitated nanoparticles at the core.

This project focuses on our unique platform for levitating charged microparticles using electrical fields. By controlling the charge of the particle, and shaping the electrical fields, we can exert a range of forces on the levitated objects. Due to its isolation in vacuum, we can study a wide range of physics by tracking the motion of these particles. We wish to build a physical simulator for understanding the mechanisms involved in the operation of vaccines, which is a complex mechano-biological process. We are pushing thermodynamics to its limits to design radically new nano-machines. We are also building tiny levitation devices into chips, to make ultra-sensitive sensors that could be used for navigation in driverless cars or for detecting tiny forces.

This project will benefit from your creativity and enthusiasm, with opportunities to learn and apply a wide range of skills, including experimental design, data analysis, vacuum engineering, programming and electronics. You will be supported by expert postdoctoral researchers, our collaborative team of PhD students and the group leader Dr. James Millen, who is a pioneer in the field of levitated nanoparticles. There will be opportunities for travel and public communication, and you are encouraged to develop skills through teaching in the Department of Physics.

Find more information by visiting or contacting Dr. Millen directly.

Candidate Requirements:

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

·      A passion for research, and motivation.

·      A desire to learn new skills; not being afraid to apply yourself to new problems.

·      Creativity and a collaborative spirit; the ability to work in a team.

·      The ability to clearly communicate your ideas to your colleagues and to people beyond our research group.

·      The ability to analyse data and test hypotheses.

·      Practical laboratory experience.

The following skills are desirable, but can be learned during your study:

·      Knowledge of data presentation / plotting software.

·      Programming skills (e.g. Matlab / Python).

·      Experience in working in a research environment.

·      Experience in working with optics.

·      Experience in working with vacuum systems.

Start date: October 2022

For enquiries please contact:

Millen, James -

For full information on how to apply:

The Physics department at King’s College London supports Diversity and Equality and we invite all eligible candidates to apply.

The Physics department at King’s College London was awarded the Silver Swan medal and Juno Champion award from IOP:

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