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Postdoctoral researcher Quantum Physics with Atoms and Trapped Ions

Faculty of Science – Institute of Physics

Postdoctoral researcher Quantum Physics with Atoms and Trapped Ions
Publicatiedatum 21 januari 2019
Sluitingsdatum 1 april 2019
Opleidingsniveau Gepromoveerd
Functieomvang 38 hours per week
Salarisindicatie €2,709 to €4,274 gross per month
Vacaturenummer 19-036

We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with excellent laboratory skills for performing state-of-the-art atomic physics experiments and supervising PhD students.

The hybrid atom-ion quantum systems lab, headed by Dr Rene Gerritsma, is part of the Quantum Gases and Quantum Information (QGQI) cluster at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The group studies mixtures of ultra-cold atomic gases that are interacting with trapped ions. The main focus of the group is to study the quantum dynamics of these systems while at the same time developing technology for emerging quantum applications, such as quantum computing and simulation. Besides the PI and the vacant post doc position, the group consists of four PhD students divided over two experimental setups.

Project description

You will work in a team that studies atomic quantum systems that are built up out of ultracold atoms and/or trapped ions. In particular, you will create and characterize a novel quantum system that is composed of a crystal of trapped ions interacting with a gas of ultracold atoms. Mixtures of trapped ions and atoms have been studied before in a number of groups, but reaching the low temperatures needed for entering the quantum regime has so far not been possible. Our system is at the verge of changing this by using an ion-atom combination with the largest mass ratio up until now: Yb+ and Li. This combination avoids previous limitations in attainable temperatures and calculations show that it should become the first atom-ion mixture to reach the quantum regime. Once created, we will study two applications of this new quantum system aimed at improving the trapped-ion quantum computer by buffer gas cooling it, and building a quantum simulator of fermion-phonon coupling and quantum impurity physics.

For these applications, it will be crucial to tune the interactions between the atoms and ions. For this, two novel schemes are at our disposal: (1) Feshbach resonances have been predicted to exist between the atoms and ions once the quantum regime has been reached. These can be used to tune the scattering cross section. (2) Our group pioneered the use of Rydberg coupling to tune the polarizability of the ultracold atoms and thereby the atom-ion interactions.

You will also be involved in a second experimental effort in our group, in which we seek to build a trapped ion quantum simulator using two-dimensional ion crystals. We will use novel optical microtraps generated by spatial light modulators to manipulate the sound waves in the ion crystal. This will allow us to engineer specific spin-spin interactions between the ions, or to engineer quantum gates between sub-crystals of ions. The resulting state-of-the-art trapped-ion platform can be programmed to perform quantum simulations of frustrated spin systems in triangular, hexagonal and kagome lattices. These complex systems are of key interest to understand emergent phenomena in solid-state physics, but are extremely hard to simulate on classical computers owing to the huge amount of entanglement contained in their ground states.

Relevant references:

  • M. Tomza et al., PRA 91, 042706 (2015)
  • H. Fürst et al., Phys. Rev. A 98, 012713 (2018)
  • N.V. Ewald et al., arXiv:1809.03987 (2018)
  • R. Nath et al., New J. Phys. 17, 065018 (2015)


  • You hold a PhD in Experimental Physics or Physical Chemistry and are requested to motivate why you apply for the position and to supply a CV;
  • proven excellence in experimental skills in an atomic physics lab;
  • proven leadership and supervision skills;
  • excellent English and oral and written communication skills.

Further information

For informal enquiries about the position please direct your questions to:


The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a period of 2 years. Based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week) the gross monthly salary will range from €2,709 to €4,274 gross per month.The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable. Favourable tax agreements may apply to non-Dutch applicants.

Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.

Applications should be submitted through the link below. All applications should include:

  • a CV;
  • a motivation letter that explains why you have chosen to apply for this specific position with a statement of your research experience and interests and how these relate to this project;
  • title and summary/abstract of your PhD thesis.

Applications will be processed on a rolling basis and the position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been identified (formal closing date: 1 April 2019). #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Apply now