About the Project
Our Research Group
Our team uses neutral atomic ensembles for studying a variety of aspects of quantum physics and quantum technology, across a series of experiments in our laboratories at the University of Sussex. The research ranges from more applied investigations utilising the sensitivity of atomic systems for magnetic field measurements (of both microscopy of surfaces and materials, as well as the magnetic signals from the brain) to more fundamental studies of complex quantum phenomena in ultracold gases both in and out of equilibrium.
Compact Cold Atom Sources
Samples of ultracold atoms and quantum matter offer an unprecedented level of sensitivity and control. They have been demonstrated to make excellent sensors of their environment, including atom interferometers for inertial, gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields, as well as in timing and atomic clock applications - outperforming their classical counterparts in many cases. Although research on ultracold atom physics began with the advent of laser cooling several decades ago, the field has now reached such a level of maturity that there is a large focus on building systems aimed more towards applications [1,2], even bringing such systems outside the laboratory. For all these quantum technology applications, the starting point is to collect atoms in a trap and pre-cool them using a combination of electromagnetic fields.
The aim of the project is to design and realise a compact source of Bose-Einstein condensates, which is sufficiently modular to be able to act as a versatile starting point for a range of research experiments or quantum sensors. The project will involve integrating together a variety of existing state-of-the-art laser cooling and atomic physics techniques, such as diffraction grating magneto-optical traps, miniature vacuum cells, microfabricated atom chips, and printed circuit boards, into a single system capable of producing a sample of atoms at sub-microkelvin temperatures with a repetition rate on the order of 1 Hz.
This project will involve a combination of experimental, theoretical, and numerical work, and so in addition to a good Honours or Master’s degree, the candidate should have experience in (and enjoy!) experimental physics or engineering, or a background in atomic and quantum physics. From this project, the student will learn a wide range of experimental skills, including optics and lasers, 3D mechanical CAD design, electronics, ultrahigh vacuum, numerical modelling techniques, and gain a deeper understanding of atomic physics and quantum technology.
• A tax-free bursary for living costs for three and a half years. From October 2021/22 this is expected to be £15560 per year
• A support grant for three and a half years of £1,650 per year for travel and conferences.
• If you are not a UK national, nor an EU national with UK settled/pre-settled status, you will need to apply for a student study visa before admission
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