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Quantum optomechanics with superfluid-based hybrid architectures

   Department of Physics

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Funded PhD pogramme in Quantum Science and Technology

This 4-year PhD programme, co-funded by The Royal Society, will be based at Royal Holloway, University of London and supervised by Dr Xavier Rojas.

Project description

Quantum optomechanics is an emerging and active area of research, which has enabled the measurement and precise control of mechanical motion at the quantum limit. By harnessing the coupling of light to mechanical motion, quantum optomechanics provides new opportunities to further our understanding of quantum theory and develop new quantum technology applications.

Superfluid helium 4 has shown exciting prospects as a mechanical component for quantum optomechanical systems. Superfluid helium, the only natural quantum fluid, offers several advantages for a mechanical element, such as vanishing losses at low temperature. However, a significant challenge for superfluid optomechanical systems is enhancing the optomechanical coupling strength.

This PhD project proposes a new approach to enhance the coupling strength. By coupling superfluid-based optomechanical systems to high-Q nanomechanical membranes into hybrid architectures, one can enhance the coupling strength without deteriorating the exquisite properties of the superfluid.

We aim to study the quantum coherent coupling regime in superfluid optomechanics for the first time by exploring these hybrid architectures. Using the great flexibility in design provided by these devices, we will be able to investigate a broad range of quantum sensing applications such as the detection of single superfluid’s excitations (e.g. vortex, phonons).

For this programme, we are looking for a PhD student to join our experimental work on superfluid optomechanics.

Scientific Environment

The PhD is based in the London Low Temperature Laboratory (LLTL) at Royal Holloway, a member of the European Microkelvin Platform (EMP). Nanofabrication facilities for the project are Superfab and London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN). 

The PhD programme is part of the Quantum Simulators for Fundamental Physics (qSimFP) initiative, which is one of seven proposals funded through the UK Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics (QTFP) programme.

The qSimFP consortium is a collaborative network of scientists from seven UK-based research organisations located in St.Andrews, Cambridge, King's College London, Newcastle, Nottingham, University College London and Royal Holloway University London. The PhD student will benefit from all network activities and are expected to closely collaborate with the University of Nottingham and King’s College London.


The student will be included in the postgraduate teaching programme of GRADnet of the South East Physics network (SEPnet), which organise training sessions, workshops, and student-led conferences.

This proposed PhD project benefits from several national and international collaborations and training opportunities.

How to apply

We will consider applications from candidates with an excellent academic record in Physics, Engineering, or a closely related subject at the MSc. level or equivalent.

We encourage you to contact Dr Xavier Rojas () and express your interest before you apply. More details about the application process can be found here.

This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged. PhD provisional start date in Autumn 2022.

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