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.
Out-of-equilibrium quantum gases
By using a combination of magnetic, optical, and electric fields, ultracold atom systems can allow a remarkable degree of precise control over the states of the particles, and therefore act as an ideal testing ground for various theoretical models with tunable parameters. The ultralow temperatures (and therefore correspondingly low energy scales) involved, along with weak interactions and excellent isolation from the environment, often gives rise to relatively slow dynamics - which can then be probed on timescales that are easily experimentally accessible. This makes ultracold atoms a useful tool for studying quantum many-body systems that have been brought out of their equilibrium state (usually by an applied perturbation or a “quench”), a topic which is being actively studied, with many open questions [1,2].
Our lab currently creates Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC) trapped with tailored magnetic fields near the surface of a microfabricated atom chip device. The aims of this project are to develop further the experimental systems, to investigate protocols for bringing BECs out of equilibrium, and to study their subsequent behaviour. This will initially involve the implementation of a combination of optical and radio-frequency fields to the system, to allow a new level of flexible control over the trapping potentials, facilitating a variety of non-equilibrium experiments.
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 a background in atomic and quantum physics with programming skills. From this project, the student will learn a wide range of experimental skills, including optics and lasers, 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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