Experimental Quantum Simulations based on Trapped Ions (& Atoms)
Direct experimental access to the most intriguing and puzzling quantum phenomena is extremely difficult and their numerical simulation on conventional computers can easily become computationally intractable. However, one might gain deeper insight into complex quantum dynamics via experimentally simulating and modelling the quantum behaviour of interest in a second quantum system. There, the significant parameters and interactions are precisely controlled and underlying quantum effects can be detected sufficiently well, thus, their relevance might be revealed. Trapped atomic ions have been shown to be a unique platform for quantum control, evidenced by the most precise operations of quantum information processing and their performance as best atomic clocks. Still, scaling is the major challenge – i.e. the endeavour to control increasingly large systems of particles at the quantum level will be one of the driving forces for physical sciences in the coming decades. We aim to control charged atoms at the highest level possible to further scale many-body (model) systems ion by ion. This approach is, in a way, the ultimate form of engineering - in radio-frequency traps, as well as in all-optical traps, when combined with ultracold atoms.
Here we propose two alternative experimental projects, both in close collaboration with theorists: (i) We aim at exploiting the extended-dimensionality and tuneable interaction at long range in our basic array of individually trapped and controlled ions, scalable in established CMOS technology [Nat.Commun.7, 11839 (2016), Phys.Rev.Lett.123, 213605 (2019) and Phys.Rev.Lett.123 100504 (2019)]. The plan is to first further investigate the correlations of complexity and scaling, ion by ion, followed by tackling paradigmatic effects in solid-state physics, such as spin-frustration in triangular lattices or quantum dynamics of tunnelling phonons and related Aharonov-Bohm physics to simulate artificial gauge fields [Phys.Rev.Lett.107, 150501 (2011)]. (ii) Complementarily, we seek to gain insight into the interaction between ultra-cold atoms and ions in purely optical traps [Phys. Rev. Lett. 124, 053402 (2020)] and into the counter-intuitive emergence of thermalisation in closed quantum systems and its timescales [Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 170401 (2016), Nature 551, 20 (2017)].
Supervisor: Prof. Tobias Schaetz
Eligibility criteria and requirements
Experience in AMO-physics and knowledge in quantum control are appreciated, however, not required. Vivid interest in quantum effects and technologies are prerequisites.
QUSTEC programme follows MSCA eligibility criteria: Required level of experience is ‘Early Stage Researcher’ according to the definition in the work programme of the 2018-2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions: Applicants must, at the date of the respective call deadline of QUSTEC, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree. Mobility criterion: The applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the future host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the call deadline of QUSTEC. Short stays such as holidays are not taken into account. For refugees under the Geneva Convention, the refugee procedure (i.e. before refugee status is conferred) will not be counted as a period of residence/activity in the country of the host organisation.
The proposed PhD position is part of the QUSTEC doctoral programme, funded by the MSCA-COFUND scheme, coordinated by Eucor – The European Campus, and implemented by Eucor partner institutions (University of Basel, University of Freiburg, University of Strasbourg and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), which are joined by IBM-Research in Zurich, and WMI in Munich. The complete description of the programme as well as the full list of research topics can be found on the project website. Candidates are encouraged to indicate two additional research topics that they are interested in, in addition to the selected PhD offer, from the list of available topics that can be found on the programme website.
Please, submit your application exclusively via an electronic submission system.
The deadline for applications is September 30, 2020 at 17.00 (Brussels time)
Before submitting the application, please contact the scientific supervisors (obligatory). For any other issues, please address your request to the programme coordinator (contact details can be found in the Guide for applicants).
Working conditions: All PhD candidates will be employed under a 4-years full-time PhD contract following the national regulations.