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PhD position Laser Quantum Metrology of Helium to Resolve Nuclear Size Puzzles

Are you highly interested and enthusiastic to investigate fundamental physics with state-of-the-art laser methods and quantum-state control of matter? Then please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

12 maanden geleden


De Boelelaan, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


The PhD position is in experimental physics, and involves precision spectroscopy of helium using advanced lasers and methods, such as a frequency comb laser, nonlinear optics, laser cooling, Bose-Einstein condensation (4He), Degenerate Fermi-gasses (3He), and optical trapping of ultra-cold meta-stable helium atoms. The idea is to precisely measure the 4He-3He isotope shift frequency at a wavelength of 1557 nm, from which the nuclear charge radius (squared) difference can be derived with an unprecedented precision. The measurement is performed on quantum degenerate helium, leading to all sorts of interesting phenomena. The results can be compared with experiments performed with muonic-helium+ ions at PSI in Switzerland, to help solve the "Proton Radius Puzzle", and search for physics beyond the Standard Model.

Your duties

  • experimental research, based on advanced lasers and quantum-state control of meta-stable helium, leading to scientific papers, a finished thesis, and a PhD degree
  • you can be asked to perform educational duties for the department for up to 10% of your time


  • MSc in Physics, Technical Physics, Optical Physics, or similar
  • knowledge of, and experience with, lasers and atomic physics is an advantage, but not required
  • proficiency in written and spoken English
  • show a proactive research orientation


A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • contribution to commuting expenses
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance);

Additional information

Are you interested in this position?
Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter (letter of motivation) and provide the name and email address of 2 references until 15 October 2019.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. dr. Kjeld S.E. Eikema
Position: group leader Ultrafast Laser Physics and Precision Metrology & LaserLaB director
E-mail: k.s.e.eikema@vu.nl
Telephone: 020-5987957

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