Research Associate AION Project

Job summary

The High Energy Physics Group at Imperial College London invites applications for a Research Associate position. The primary focus will be on the novel Atom Interferometer Observatory and Network (AION) project (website, paper), where the Group has major responsibilities in building a new Ultracold Strontium Laboratory at Imperial and to perform essential research and development of the underlying Strontium atom interferometry. 

Job listing information

  • Reference NAT00820
  • Date posted 6 January 2021
  • Closing date 22 January 2021

Job description

Job summary

The High Energy Physics Group at Imperial College London invites applications for a Research Associate position. The primary focus will be on the novel Atom Interferometer Observatory and Network (AION) project (websitepaper), where the Group has major responsibilities in building a new Ultracold Strontium Laboratory at Imperial and to perform essential research and development of the underlying Strontium atom interferometry. 

Duties and responsibilities

The AION project was recently funded by EPSRC and STFC via the Quantum Technology for Fundamental Science (QTFP) call. This programme will deliver deployable quantum technology to study dark matter and gravitational waves by constructing 10m and 100m scale instruments, paving the way for a km-scale facility, and eventually a space based detector.

The institutions involved in AION are: University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London (lead), Kings College London, University of Liverpool, University of Oxford, and STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. In addition, the project is in partnership with UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Timing, Birmingham, UK, the MAGIS Collaboration, US and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, US.

The post will be based primarily in London, with work also taking place at other AION sites in the UK and MAGIS in the US. The London experiment will focus on the challenge of minimising atom shot noise, through the fast creation of large, cold, squeezed samples of Sr. The proposed experimental methods include: (1) cavity-based quantum nondemolition measurement to create squeezed states, using high, near-uniform atom-cavity cooperativity to approach the limits of unitary squeezing; (2) the continuous preparation of large samples of ultracold Sr, replacing time-separated cooling stages by stages separated in space or by internal atomic state.

You will build on the High Energy Physics and Quantum Optics and Laser Science Groups’ significant existing experience as well as the diverse expertise in the AION collaboration to help produce independent and original research, to build the new Ultra-Cold Strontium Laboratory, and to support the work and management of the AION work package hosted at Imperial.

Essential requirements

You will hold a PhD in Experimental Physics or have an equivalent level of professional qualifications and experience.

You must have the following essential criteria:

  • A strong background in experimental atomic, molecular and optical physics
  • Technical knowledge of CW laser systems and the control of laser light
  • Experience in leadership or evidence of future leadership potential
  • A strong research record with clearly defined individual contributions
  • Experience in taking initiative and/or developing own ideas independently

In addition, it would be desirable if you had:

  • Experience working with cold atoms or molecules
  • Experience in simulation of experiments
  • A strong background in data analysis methods
  • A strong background in the construction of new apparatus
  • Experience using cold atoms for precision measurement (e.g. interferometry/clocks) or in cavity QED systems
  • Experience with ultra-high vacuum systems and mechanical design
  • Experience with analog electronics, RF electronics, and control loops
  • Experience with laser frequency stabilisation
  • Experience with data acquisition hardware and software
  • Experience of working in the environment of a large international science collaboration

Further information

This is a full time, fixed term position available for two years in the first instance with the possibility of extension dependent on future funding. The position is available from 1st February 2021. 

*Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £35,477 - £38,566 per annum.

The Imperial College High Energy Physics Group has a strong ongoing experimental programme encompassing the T2K, Super-Kamiokande and future Hyper-Kamiokande experiments in Japan; the future neutrino oscillation experiment DUNE at Fermilab and SURF in the USA; the search for sterile neutrinos with SoLid in Belgium; the search for charged lepton flavour violation with COMET in Japan; the CMS and LHCb experiments at the LHC; the search for dark matter with the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment in the USA; the MICE experiment in the UK; the Atom Interferometer Observatory and Network (AION) project in the UK and the USA; SHiP and SuperNEMO activities and the development of future experiments. There are also significant accelerator, phenomenology and Grid computing programmes.

More information about the Department of Physics and the High Energy Physics Group can be found on our webpages.

The Department of Physics is an IoP Juno Practitioner and an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner reflecting our commitment to building a supportive, inclusive and highly motivated community.

Further details about the position are available from Oliver Buchmueller, Professor of Physics,  o.buchmueller@imperial.ac.uk and Professor Ben Sauer, Professor of Physics, ben.sauer@imperial.ac.uk

Should you have any queries about the application process please contact Paula Brown, Section Administrator, paula.brown@imperial.ac.uk.

If you experience any technical issues when applying online please email recruitment@imperial.ac.uk

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published. For more information, see https://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-evaluation/

The College believes that the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

Documents

About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

All Imperial employees are expected to follow the 7 principles of Imperial Expectations: 

  • Champion a positive approach to change and opportunity
  • Communicate regularly and effectively within, and across, teams
  • Consider the thoughts and expectations of others
  • Deliver positive outcomes
  • Encourage inclusive participation and eliminate discrimination
  • Develop and grow skills and expertise
  • Work in a planned and managed way 

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.