PhD Studentship - Fundamental Tests of Antimatter Gravitation with Antihydrogen

The University of Manchester - School of Physics and Astronomy

PhD Research Topic at the University of Manchester 2017

Fundamental tests of antimatter gravitation with antihydrogen

Supervisor: Dr. William Bertsche

One of the outstanding grand challenges in physics is to understand the fundamental differences between matter and antimatter that have left us with a universe that is largely composed of matter. The ALPHA experiment at CERN seeks to address this question by performing precise atomic physics measurements on trapped antihydrogen atoms in order to seek minute differences with equivalent measurements in hydrogen. The collaboration is building ALPHA-g, the next generation of antihydrogen traps intended to measure antimatter gravitation.

We are seeking a PhD student to design and perform gravitational free-fall measurements on antihydrogen atoms in order to directly measure antimatter gravitational acceleration as a test of the weak equivalence principle. The student will design and analyse experimental protocol and diagnostic technique for use in ALPHA-g intended to measure the gravitational acceleration g of antimatter on Earth. The student will also be expected to participate in ALPHA’s general experimental programme with trapped antihydrogen atoms.

This is an interdisciplinary experimental project based at CERN with underpinnings spanning plasma, atomic and particle physics. The successful realisation of this project will require both experimental efforts as well as development of diagnostic tools for measuring and controlling the probe and background magnetic fields in the experiment. Particle and field behavior will be modeled using software such as GPT, Opera, ANSYS and COMSOL. This is a 3.5 – year fully-funded PhD studentship with the University of Manchester where the majority of the studentship would be based at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

Interested students should contact Dr. Will Bertsche (

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