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Simulation of quantum transport with cold atoms

School of Physics and Astronomy

Applications accepted all year round Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Quantum mechanics is believed to play a role in certain natural processes such as light harvesting. For example certain bacteria are capable of capturing the energy of an incoming photon and transporting the resulting excitation to the reaction centre with great efficiency. This process is an example of quantum transport, and the role of quantum mechanics in its efficiency is debated.
Quantum transport in natural systems is difficult to study experimentally, yet we should find a way to test the multiple theories trying to explain the high efficiency. The proposed solution is to engineer a system, controllable in the laboratory, which has the key properties of the natural system and can act as a simulator.

In this project, we use an ensemble of atoms cooled and trapped by lasers and manipulate their internal state to mimic quantum transport in a controlled and accessible way. Adding magnetic noise we can simulate the effect of the environment in a real life system and quantify its impact on the transport.

The project uses all the technology behind laser cooling and atoms and atom manipulation with light and magnetic field: optics, lasers, vacuum systems, computer control, electronics, electromagnetism, etc. It is an experimental project with a strong quantum mechanical background that touches a large number of topics and is guaranteed to stretch your understanding and give you many opportunities to learn something new. You will work in a small team, on a human-scale experiment.
To find out more about studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, including full details of the research undertaken in the School, the funding opportunities available for your subject, and guidance on making your application, you can order a copy of our Doctoral Research Prospectus, at:

Funding Notes

Funding is awarded by the school on a competitive basis, depending on the strength of the applicant. The funding is only available to UK/EU citizens.

Non-EU Students: If you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work on this project will be considered.

You can search for sources of funding at: View Website

For details of the funding available and advice on making your application, please contact:

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