Quantum Simulators for Fundamental Physics

News

Seven postdoctoral and three PhD positions on the interface between Quantum Technology and Fundamental Physics

We are announcing the opening of seven postdoctoral and three PhD positions for addressing fundamental questions related to the early universe and black holes. The essential physical processes of interest occur when gravitational interactions are strong, and quantum effects are important. These situations are difficult to observe and impossible to experiment with. The pressing need for experimental verification of these ideas coincides with huge experimental advances by the quantum technology community. We have formed an interdisciplinary consortium uniting the quantum technology and fundamental physics communities to merge these strands of investigation by employing analogue quantum simulators. The consortium is an interactive network of scientists from seven UK-based research organisations located in St.Andrews, Cambridge, King's College London, Newcastle, Nottingham, University College London and Royal Holloway University of London.

Postdoctoral fellowships will be available in the following areas:

Field Theory Modelling for Laboratory Analogues of the Early Universe (University College London): one postdoctoral position to work on computational modelling of non-linear and non-equilibrium phenomena, as related to quantum simulators of the early universe based on ultra-cold atom experiments. Contacts: Hiranya Peiris (h.peiris@ucl.ac.uk) and Andrew Pontzen (a.pontzen@ucl.ac.uk) Deadline: end of January 2021 (TBC)

Black Hole Theory Modelling for Laboratory Analogues of Black Holes (King’s College London): one position to work on modelling of quantum black hole processes related to the experimental quantum black hole simulators in optical fibres and hybrid superfluid optomechanical devices at low temperature. Contact: Ruth Gregory (ruth.gregory@kcl.ac.uk) Deadline: end of January 2021 (TBC)

Experimental ultra-cold atoms systems for Laboratory Analogues of the Early Universe (Cambridge University): one postdoctoral position to work on an ultracold-atom experiment for quantum simulation of non-linear and non-equilibrium processes in the early universe. This work will be based on cold-atom technology, and in particular optical box traps. Contact: Zoran Hadzibabic (zh10001@cam.ac.uk) Deadline: end of March 2021 (TBC)

Experimental fibre optics systems for Laboratory Analogues of Black Holes (St. Andrews University): one postdoctoral position to work on the measurement of oscillations of analogue optical black holes. This system is based on nonlinear fibre optics and tools from quantum optics. Contact: Friedrich Koenig (fewk@st-andrews.ac.uk) Deadline: 14 February 2021 (TBC)

Experimental Superfluid Optomechanics systems, Interferometry and Nanofabrication for Laboratory Analogues of Black Holes (Royal Holloway University of London and Nottingham University): three open postdoctoral and three PhD positions to work on the measurement of hybrid superfluid optomechanical devices at low temperature. This work involves the development of experimental tools to build analog systems of black holes. The experimental tools in place include state-of-the-art nanofabrication and low temperature facilities, and quantum optomechanics (RF & Optical) platforms. Contacts: Xavier Rojas (xavier.rojas@rhul.ac.uk) and Silke Weinfurtner (silke.weinfurtner@nottingham.ac.uk). Deadline: 14 February 2021 (TBC)

For enquiries about a specific position use the contact details listed above. For general information you may also contact Silke Weinfurtner (silke.weinfurtner@nottingham.ac.uk).

Motivation

The dynamics of the early universe and black holes are fundamental reflections of the interplay between general relativity and quantum fields. The essential physical processes occur when gravitational interactions are strong, and quantum effects are important. These situations are difficult to observe and impossible to experiment with. Further, current theoretical predictions for these regimes are based on major extrapolations of laboratory-tested physics. In many of these extreme regimes, existing theoretical approaches are based on approximations and are thus highly limited in the range of observable phenomena for which they are able to provide predictions.

The pressing need for experimental verification of these ideas coincides with huge experimental advances by the quantum technology community. Moreover, the motivation for breakthrough experiments probing collective quantum phenomena has often been provided by questions in fundamental physics. We propose to unite the quantum technology and fundamental physics communities to merge these strands of investigation by employing analogue quantum simulators.

Science Goals

We propose to investigate the following processes in a controlled laboratory environment:

Quantum Black Holes

  • We will perform the first experiments that will allow systematic study of quantum wave-modes around quantised analogue black holes.

Quantum Vacuum

  • We will perform experiments for quantum simulation of false vacuum decay in an inflationary multiverse setting.

Team

World-leading researchers in the following STFC and EPSRC areas:
  • Experimentalist
  • Theorist
  • Experimentalist/Theorist
Cosmology, Gravity and non-equilibrium Field Thoery
  • Jonathan Braden (Canada, CITA)
  • Hiranya Peiris (UK, UCL)
  • Andrew Pontzen (UK, UCL)
  • Mathew Johnson (Canada, Perimter Institute)
  • Ian Moss (UK, Newcastle)
  • Ruth Gregory (UK, Durham)
  • Jorma Louko (UK, Nottingham)
  • Ralf Schuetzhold (Germany, Helmholz Centre)
  • Bill Unruh (Canada, Vancouver)
  • Silke Weinfurtner (UK, Nottingham)
Ultracold Atoms
  • Thomas Billam (UK, Newcastel)
  • Zoran Hadzibabic (UK, Cambridge)
  • Joerg Schmiedmayer (Austria, Vienna)
Superfluid 4He
  • Carlo Barenghi (UK, Newcastle)
  • John Owers-Bradley (UK, Nottingham)
Superfluid Nanofabrication
  • Gregoire Ithier (UK, Royal Holloway London)
  • Xavier Rojas (UK, Royal Holloway London)
Opto-mechanics
  • Pierre Verlot (UK, Nottingham University)
Qunatum Optics
  • Friedrich Koenig (UK, St. Andrews University)

Workshops

Contact

Silke Weinfurtner The University of Nottingham