Job details

Job posted by Institut für Experimentalphysik - Universität Düsseldorf (31/03/2014 19.18)

PhD student: Precision spectroscopy of ultracold atoms and molecules and application to fundamental physics

Experimental quantum optics studies related to two transportable optical atomic clocks and to an ion trap for molecular spectroscopy. The Ph.D. student shall in particular develop, characterize and integrate novel laser systems emitting in the mid-infrared and in the visible. The lasers will be used for the cooling of atoms and high-resolution spectroscopy of atoms and molecules.


Our group is involved in international collaborations around the development of two transportable optical lattice clocks (based on strontium and ytterbium neutral atoms) and also aims to contribute to measurement campaigns in different laboratories, with the goal of demonstrating robust technology and high accuracy, for future geodesy and satellite experiments. We are also part of a consortium that performs the basic developments for an optical clock mission on the ISS, with Prof. Schiller as coordinator.

The two transportable clocks are in advanced stages of development. One of the clocks is currently operating in the Italian metrology laboratory (INRIM), the other in the German metrology laboratory (PTB). See and for publications and further information.

The Ph.D. student will contribute with approximately 50% of his time to the further development of the clocks by developing improved subsytems (especially lasers), and characterize their performance.

The Ph.D. student will contribute with the remaining work time to a second project. This project is devoted to a cryogenic ion trap that will combine cold Helium buffer gas cooling with sympathetic cooling by laser-cooled Beryllium ions. The application will be precision vibrational spectroscopy of quantum-state-prepared simple molecular ions such as HD+, H2+, D2+, with the goals of testing QED theory in molecules and determining fundamental constants.
The project requires the application of new laser sources for spectroscopy, including their frequency stabilization and optical frequency measurement. This will be a main task of the Ph.D. student.

The project is an extension of our long-standing research on quantum optics of cold molecular hydrogen ions. The work performed so far can be seen in the publication list on the group’s website (

The above two activities integrate with the activities of 4 other Ph.D. students.

In the course of the work, the Ph.D. student will develop his/her skills in lasers (diode lasers and femtosecond frequency comb), electronics, spectroscopy, data analysis and modelling.

Nr of positions available : 1

Research Fields

Physics - Quantum mechanics

Career Stage

Early stage researcher or 0-4 yrs (Post graduate)

Research Profiles

First Stage Researcher (R1)


Fellowship, approx. 15.000 € per year.

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Required Education Level
Degree Master Degree or equivalent
Degree Field Physics
Required Research Experiences
Main Research Field Physics
Sub Research Field Optics
Years of Research Experience 1
Required Languages
Language ENGLISH
Language Level Excellent
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Institut für Experimentalphysik - Universität Düsseldorf





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Universitätsstr. 1/25.42.O1.22

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Institut für Experimentalphysik - Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

Wissenschaftliche Einrichtung Physik
Prof. S. Schiller, Institut für Experimentalphysik, Universitätsstr. 1/25.42.O1.22
40225 - Düsseldorf
mobile +49-176-43049716