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PhD Studentship: Atom Matterwave Interferometry for Inertial Sensing and Quantum Computing

University of Southampton

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £15,009
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 28th May 2019
Closes: 31st August 2019

Supervisor:  Tim Freegarde

Project description

Atom interferometers schematically resemble their optical counterparts, but the atom’s de Broglie matterwave replaces the lightwave of the optical interferometer, and temporally-shaped laser beams play the roles of mirrors and beamsplitters. Using atoms at microkelvin temperatures, matterwave interferometers can surpass the sensitivity of even the best inertial sensors, and are able to sense a wider range of properties since, unlike photons, atoms have mass and can carry charge and magnetic moments.

Having previously explored the use of atom interferometry for velocimetry and ultracold cooling, we are now exploring applications of atom interferometric inertial sensors beyond the laboratory, in particular a prototype rotation sensor for navigation applications. At the same time, we are using optimal control theory to design better mirror and beamsplitter pulses for future generations of atom interferometric sensors; and we are able to test and validate our new designs with further experimental studies. We also wish to test experimentally our proposal to combine interferometer sequences to form a momentum-state quantum computer. The experimental PhD can be in any of these areas or a combination of them.

The studentship provides full funding, including an annual tax-free stipend of around £15,009. Students must have a relevant connection with the UK – usually established by residence – and have, or be about to obtain, a first or upper-second class degree in Physics or a related discipline.

For informal enquiries, contact Dr Tim Freegarde, telephone +44 (0)23 8059 2347,, or visit

Key facts

Entry requirements: first or upper second-class 4-year degree or Master degree in Physics, chemistry, materials or biology.

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2019 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Duration: four years (full-time)

Funding: full tuition fees, for UK/EU students, and a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per year

Assessment: Nine month and 18 month reports, viva voce and thesis examination

Start date: typically September

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