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Quantum nanomechanics with vibrating carbon nanotubes

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

We are seeking two talented and highly motivated PhD candidates for a new experimental project in quantum electronics and nanomechanics. The project uses the outstanding force-sensing properties of carbon nanotubes to study quantum physics in regimes that have not yet been accessed experimentally.

One project focuses on measuring the effects of quantum superposition in an electromechanical circuit. The particle under test will be a vibrating carbon nanotube, consisting of approximately one million nucleons. To study its quantum behaviour, you will incorporate it first into a superconducting junction, and then into a superconducting qubit. The ultimate aim is to realise a new kind of matter-wave interferometer, in which the wavefunction of the entire nanotube is separated, recombined, and measured. This would dramatically push the boundary of quantum superposition from the realm of molecules towards the realm of fabricated objects.

The second experiment will study one of the most fascinating known manifestations of collective quantum behaviour, namely superfluidity in helium. There is at present no experimental tool to measure superfluids on the mesoscopic scale, i.e. between the size of atoms and the superfluid coherence length. A vibrating nanotube, working as a tiny moving-wire viscometer, can measure superfluidity on this tiny scale. You will measure viscous damping first in the well-understood superfluid helium-4, and then in its exotic cousin helium-3, whose emergent behaviour mimics fundamental properties of our universe.

We seek candidates with an excellent academic record in physics or a related field, equivalent to at least a first-class degree from Lancaster, and a good grounding in condensed-matter physics, quantum mechanics, and electromagnetism. Specific experimental skills are not required, but self-motivation and a can-do attitude are. For suitable candidates, full funding is available regardless of nationality.

Students will have access to the excellent low-temperature measurement and nanofabrication facilities of Lancaster University Physics Department, including new equipment dedicated to this project. Research is funded by the European Research Council as part of the €2.7M project “Vibrating carbon nanotubes for probing quantum systems at the mesoscale”.

The Physics Department is holder of an Athena SWAN Silver award and JUNO Championship status and is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department.

Interested candidates should contact Dr Edward Laird for further information. For general information about PhD studies in Physics at Lancaster please contact our postgraduate admissions staff at . You can apply directly at stating the title of the project and the name of the supervisor in your application.

Closing Date
Applications will be accepted until the post is filled.

Funding Notes

Funding for this project is available to students worldwide. The PhD starting date is 1 October 2019, for 3.5 years and will cover full fees and a maintenance stipend. The funding will be awarded on a competitive basis.


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