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Design and modelling of new quantum sensors

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

Project Description

This project is hosted by the Astrophysics and Space Research group within the framework of the National Quantum Technology Hub led by Professor Kai Bongs. The Quantum Hub targets cutting-edge interdisciplinary research of cold atom and optical physics as well as various engineering pushing the frontier of quantum sensing and metrology technologies in collaboration with over 70 industry partners.

In the last decade the field of atom interferometry has come of age. Advances and miniaturisation of laser cooling and trapping methods (Nobel Prize 1997), that are used to prepare atoms and ions in a well-controlled state, have allowed the development of numerous forms of cold-atom sensor. The mission of the Quantum Hub is to take this laboratory-tested corner stone of quantum mechanics and develop prototypes for marketable devices that out-perform conventional sensors. We are also developing new interferometric sensors for precision measurements, for example, a cold-atom based quantum sensor for precision measurements of gravity, laser interferometers for the detection of gravitational waves, and cold-atom based rotation sensors for inertial navigation systems.

The aim of this project is to develop a new numerical modelling tool for the design and evaluation of precision instruments at the quantum level. In particular, we will integrate a model for cold-atom based sensors within our existing numerical simulation framework. The models will be developed in tandem with experimental efforts both in our own group and with our partners in the Quantum Hub. We will collaborate closely with industrial partners to create a commercial sensor.

Our group has significant experience in experimental physics and a successful track record in developing and maintaining one of the main software tools in the field, Finesse. The laser interferometers in current gravitational-wave detectors are the most sensitive interferometric length sensors ever built. Their sensitivity is limited by fundamental noise, such as the quantum fluctuations of the laser light itself. However, even quantum fluctuations can be reduced with new quantum optics techniques. These techniques often rely on very high laser powers at that change the behaviour of an interferometer through radiation pressure effects on the optical components. This is a new regime of interferometry that we are only now are beginning to explore.

We continue to develop new numerical algorithms to study the such systems, in particular their quantum behaviour, the dynamic opto-mechanical coupling and the limiting noise sources. This project will provide an interesting mix of theoretical quantum physics, numerical modelling of physical systems for the design of optical and atom interferometers, and testing the results with world-leading experiments.


Funding Notes

This research project is one of a number of projects at this institution. It is in competition for funding with one or more of these projects. Usually the project which receives the best applicant will be awarded the funding. The funding is only available to UK citizens or those who have been resident in the UK for a period of 3 years or more.

Non-UK 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.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 39.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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