Doctoral Student (Ph.D.) position in Quantum optics and atomic physics

Job type: 


Application deadline: 

Friday, February 27, 2015

ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences (, in collaboration with the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech (UPC), is offering a predoctoral fellowship to well-qualified graduate students who wish to enhance his/her scientific career in a friendly and stimulating environment, as well as to obtain a doctoral degree in any of the photonics-related research fields. ICFO PhD students are enrolled in the PhD Program in Photonics that targets the most advanced topics in optical sciences and technologies, and have access to cutting-edge experimental infrastructures, specialized seminars, tailor-made training programs and active mentoring by ICFO Group Leaders. Entrepreneurship, commercialization techniques and seminars in the area of professional and personal development are also an integral part of the curricula.

The successful candidate will be part of the Atomic Quantum Optics group led by ICREA Professor Morgan W. Mitchell. The group pioneer in quantum-enhanced sensing with atoms, interaction of quantum states of light with atoms, and application of quantum optics to contemporary atomic physics, e.g. quantum simulation of condensed matter. The projects are supported by a European Research Council Starting Grant.

We are looking for candidates to start a PhD on the following topics:

Generation of extreme entanglement in cold atomic ensembles using quantum non-demolition measurements. Relevant publications:

Generation of macroscopic singlet states in a cold atomic ensemble
N. Behbood, F. Martin Ciurana, G. Colangelo, M. Napolitano, Geza Toth, R. J. Sewell, M. W. Mitchell
Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 093601 (2014)

Ultrasensitive atomic spin measurements with a nonlinear interferometer
R. J. Sewell, M. Napolitano, N. Behbood, G. Colangelo, F. Martin Ciurana, M. W. Mitchell
Phys. Rev. X 4, 021045 (2014)

Detection of ultra-faint magnetic signals for bio-magnetic applications using squeezed light and squeezed atoms. Relevant publications:

Squeezed-light optical magnetometry
F. Wolfgramm, A. Cere, F. A. Beduini, A. Predojević, M. Koschorreck, M. W. Mitchell
Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 053601 (2010)

Magnetic sensitivity beyond the projection noise limit by spin squeezing
R. J. Sewell, M. Koschorreck, M. Napolitano, B. Dubost, N. Behbood, M. W. Mitchell
Phys. Rev. Lett. 109, 253605 (2012)

Magnetic superfluids. This is a new experiment to generate a spinor Bose-Einstein condensate, in order to observe new phenomena and new phases of matter.

All projects are experimental in nature, use state-of-the-art techniques and equipment, and will require initiative, creativity, and hard work on the part of the students. Candidates with an experimental background are particularly welcome, but the group also has a record of training good theory students to be great experimentalists.

Information about the group can be found at:


Candidates must hold an internationally-recognized master degree (or evidence of its completion in the nearest future) in Physics, Engineering, or related fields. The candidate should have a proven track record of excellence in academics and research, and a strong interest in performing challenging experiments at the forefront of quantum physics.

No restrictions of citizenship or gender apply to the ICFO PhD fellowships.

The fellowships are offered for periods of one year, renewable for a total of four years. The annual renewal of the ICFO-UPC fellowship is conditional on satisfactory performance in research and teaching activities, as well as on positive evaluation by the thesis director and the ICFO Board.


Note that the formal application shall be submitted online via

Suitable candidates are requested to submit:
- A presentation letter with declaration of research interests,
- A Curriculum Vitae, including contact details,
- A scanned copy of your University academic transcripts in English, Catalan or Spanish,
- A scanned copy of the degree, if available at the time of application,
- The contact e-mail of two potential referees.
- If available, a scanned copy of standardized GRE test results. Note that submission of GRE test results is optional, but they can be particularly helpful for evaluating candidates with degrees obtained outside the European Higher Education Area.

Please note that candidates should be willing to be contacted by phone during the entire selection process.

Candidates may contact for informal enquiries regarding the application, as well as address specific enquiries to Prof. Morgan Mitchell at

The call will remain open until suitable candidates are identified.

For updated information about ICFO, please visit