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  Superfluid Optomechanics for Quantum Sensing Applications


   Department of Physics

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

About the Project

Funded PhD programme in Quantum Science and Technology

The London Low Temperature Laboratory at Royal Holloway University of London is offering a 4-year PhD studentship in the field of experimental quantum optomechanics.

The PhD programme is part of the Quantum Simulators for Fundamental Physics (qSimFP) initiative, funded through the UK Quantum Technologies for Fundamental Physics programme (QTFP). qSimFP explores the interplay between general relativity and quantum fields in extreme situations, which are difficult to observe and impossible to experiment with. Current theoretical predictions for these regimes are based on major extrapolations of laboratory-tested physics, and existing theoretical approaches are based on approximations, which are limited in the range of observable phenomena. By uniting quantum technology and fundamental physics communities, we aim to employ analogue quantum simulators to tackle this problem. 

The proposed PhD programme will take a unique approach to developing quantum sensing applications for simulating black hole processes in a controlled laboratory environment. The successful candidate will work on developing innovative superfluid-based quantum optomechanical systems operating at very low temperatures. Superfluid helium exhibits macroscopic quantum coherence and is an ideal material for quantum simulators, as it allows mapping the dynamics of rotating black holes from macro- to nanoscales, with the additional feature of quantised angular momentum. Exploiting our recent progress in superfluid optomechanics, the PhD student will develop new techniques for manipulating and detecting superfluid waves using microwave fields. This research has significant potential impact, with possible applications that span from addressing fundamental physics problems to implementing practical solutions in quantum technologies.

Research activities include

·      numerical simulation, design of experimental devices

·      nanofabrication/cleanroom experience

·      low temperature operation and instrumentation

·      data acquisition/analysis

·      scientific communication at conferences, workshops, and meetings

Scientific Environment

The PhD is based in the London Low Temperature Laboratory (LLTL) at Royal Holloway, a member of the European Microkelvin Platform. Accessible nanofabrication facilities for the project are the Superfab and the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN). The PhD student will benefit from all the network activities of the QSimFP consortium (Cambridge, KCL, Nottingham, Newcastle, RHUL, St. Andrews, UCL), several national and international collaborations and training opportunities, and be included in the postgraduate teaching programme of GRADnet of the South East Physics network (SEPnet), which organizes training sessions, workshops, and student-led conferences.

How to apply

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

This studentship is open until filled. Early application is strongly encouraged. PhD provisional start date in Summer 2024, or Autumn 2024 at the latest. Please see our website for more information on the application process.

To express your interest or for more information, please contact Dr Xavier Rojas ().

Funding notes

This 4-year PhD programme, co-funded by The Royal Society, covers tuition fees and provides a stipend for living expenses, as well as research training support. The project is open to home and international candidates, but international students may need to secure funding to pay additional fees.


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