Postdoc position in trapped ions and ultracold atoms

Post doc position: In our group, we study ultracold 6Li atoms that are interacting with trapped ions (see picture). You will study the quantum physics of a single impurity ion inside a degenerate Fermi gas. You will probe the coupling of the ion spin and motion to this quantum bath. We can tune the properties of the bath from a weakly interacting degenerate Fermi gas, via a strongly interacting (unitary) gas, to a Bose-Einstein condensate of weakly bound Li2 molecules. We will also be able to control the impurity-bath interaction by laser-induced tuning of the polarizability of the atomic cloud by weak coupling to Rydberg states. Once we have understood the quantum physics of the single impurity-bath system, we can scale up and use it in a number of applications, such as the buffer-gas cooling of the trapped ion quantum computer.

Part of our experimental setup for trapping atoms and ions.

You will also work on a new quantum simulation and computation platform: trapped ions that are pinned by SLM-controlled optical tweezers. You will answer two questions: 1) Can we scale up the trapped ion quantum simulator by using two-dimensional ion crystals? 2) Can we use optical tweezers to tune the soundwave spectrum of the crystal and use this to simulate quantum magnets? You will develop experimental tools to detect the soundwave spectrum of the ion crystal, to laser cool away thermally excited soundwaves and to implement soundwave-mediated spin-spin interactions. For this, you will build up a new laser system that can be used to couple the spin of the ions to the soundwaves. The project also has a strong theoretical component that will be co-supervised by Dr. Philippe Corboz and aims at developing numerical tools for finding realistic optical tweezer settings.

A two-dimensional ion crystal (spheres) is held in a Paul trap. Optical tweezers are created by a spatial light modulator (red array). In this way, the soundwave spectrum of the crystal can be controlled. The soundwaves in turn mediate spin-spin interactions between the ions, simulating a quantum magnet.

The research is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and the Institute of Physics. The postdoc will be strongly involved in the daily experimental supervision of 4 PhD students working on the two experimental setups. Experience in trapping ions and/or ultracold atoms is highly recommended. Applications should be submitted via the University link:


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For further information please contact: Rene Gerritsma –