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Searching for Quantization of Space-time with quantum-enhanced interferometers.


   Cardiff School of Physics and Astronomy

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  Prof H Grote, Dr K Dooley, Dr Keiko Kokeyama  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Cardiff United Kingdom Astronomy Astrophysics Experimental Physics Machine Learning Optical Physics Particle Physics Software Engineering

About the Project

Laser interferometers have long been used to probe fundamental physics phenomena, from disproving the existence of the theorized ether well over a hundred years ago to making the first direct detections of gravitational waves in recent years. Given the extraordinary measurement precision that can be achieved with the latest technological advances in laser interferometer design, they can now also be used for challenging questions in fundamental physics, such as searching for the potential quantization of spacetime [1], dark matter [2], and ultra-high frequency gravitational waves.

In our labs in Cardiff we are in the process of building the most sensitive table-top interferometer to date, including non-classical states of light such as squeezed light to improve sensitivity [1, 3]. Should you join our team, a potential project could be the development of our high-frequency data-acquisition system (which samples 8 channels with 500 Million samples per second each) and its data-analysis pipelines. These pipelines search for signs of quantization of spacetime, dark matter, and high-frequency gravitational waves. This unique precision experiment also provides exciting opportunities for working on other systems, such as adaptive optics that can be controlled with machine learning techniques, and adaptive interferometer feedback control and noise analysis techniques.

Our experiment is part of a collaboration of four experiments in the UK within the ‘Quantum-Enhanced Interferometry for New Physics’ Consortium. This gives many opportunities for you to learn in a wider scientific context and provides plenty of networking opportunities.

 Eligibility 

The typical academic requirement is a minimum of a 2:1 physics and astronomy or a relevant discipline.

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS) (https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/international/english-language-requirements)

Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics and Astronomy with a start date of 1st October 2022.

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages (https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research/programmes/programme/physics-and-astronomy) including:

• your academic CV

• a personal statement/covering letter

• two references, at least one of which should be academic

• Your degree certificates and transcripts to date.

In the "Research Proposal" section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project. You can apply for up to three of our advertised STFC projects by listing them in order of preference in the freetext area of the "Research Proposal" section of the online application form.

In the funding section, please select that you will not be self funding and write that the source of funding will be STFC.

Once the deadline for applications has passed we will review your application and advise your within a few weeks if you have been shortlisted for an interview.


Funding Notes

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) fully-funded scholarships cover the full cost of tuition fees, a UKRI standard stipend (£15,609 per annum for 2021/22 and expected to increase in line with inflation for 2022/23), and additional funding for training, research and conference expenses.
The scholarships are open to UK/home and international candidates.
For general enquiries regarding this funding, please contact [Email Address Removed]

References


[1] "An experiment for observing quantum gravity phenomena using twin table-top 3D interferometers" Classical and Quantum Gravity, 38(8):085008 (2021); https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6382/abe757
[2] “Direct limits for scalar field dark matter from a gravitational-wave detector" https://arxiv.org/abs/2103.03783
[3] "First Demonstration of 6 dB Quantum Noise Reduction in a Kilometer Scale Gravitational Wave Observatory" Physical Review Letters 126(4), 2021; https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.126.041102
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