Deadline: 2015-06-30
Level Of Study: PhD

PhD Fundamental physics with cold molecules

At the Van Swinderen Institute of the physics department of the University of Groningen a PhD position is available in the Cold Molecules research group of Dr Steven Hoekstra, funded through a VIDI grant of the Dutch NWO funding agency. Inside every molecule ticks an intricate quantum-mechanical clockwork, emerging from the interplay of its constituent elementary particles and their fundamental interactions. This complex system of discrete energy states and the transitions between them reflects the strength and character of the electromagnetic, strong and weak forces, and is uniquely dependent on the values of the constants of nature. As a result, a very accurate measurement of the ‘beats of this clock’ has the power to confirm or reject the predictions of the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics.
The possibility of finding a difference between the measurement and the predictions of the Standard Model is tantalizing: it would signify the existence of physics beyond the Standard Model, and it would open a gateway to address some of the most important open questions about the foundations of our world:
Where is the anti-matter?
What is dark matter?
In this PhD project, selected diatomic molecules will be brought in a state that acts as a very sensitive antenna to signals from physics beyond the Standard Model. The key to this sensitivity is the occurrence of close-lying rotational states with a different dependence on physical constants and symmetries. However, so far this sensitivity could not be exploited; the main obstacle to reach a sufficiently high precision in molecular spectroscopy is the limited control over the molecules and their internal states. We have started an experimental program to bring clouds of molecules to a complete standstill, prepare and trap them in a single quantum state and use lasers to cool them to a temperature of ~200 microKelvin. Your role in this team effort will be to hold these ultracold molecules using intense focussed laser beams. In a next step you will use high-resolution spectroscopy to detect parity violation for the first time in a molecule, and thereby demonstrate the full potential of these molecules for the next generation of low-energy precision Standard Model tests. a master degree (or equivalent) in physics
preferably with a strong background in experimental techniques
specific experience with atomic and molecular spectroscopy is desirable
the ability to work in a team and collaborate closely with colleagues is a must
proficiency with the English language is required.
The University of Groningen offers a salary of € 2,083 gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2,664 gross per month in the final year according to the salary scales of the Dutch Universities. We offer initially a temporary position of 1 year with possible extension of another 3 years, depending on satisfactory performance during the first year. A research plan that the candidate specifically needs will be made up together with the supervisor.

Apply Now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *