PhD Position in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD Position in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
  • University Graduate
Are you fascinated by quantum physics and advanced experimental tools to manipulate quantum systems, such as single atoms and molecules? Do you aspire to obtain your PhD in atomic, molecular and laser physics? Would you like to work in an internationally oriented team of physics experts in a stimulating academic environment? Then please consider applying at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 1

Job description

This PhD position was created to extend and upgrade our existing HD+ laser spectroscopy experiment, to enable extremely precise measurements in our search for possible 'new physics' beyond the Standard Model. As a PhD student, you will be designing and carrying out much of the upgrade, and play a key role in the subsequent measurements and analysis of the results. 

Your duties
  • putting textbook quantum mechanics, optics and electronics into practice by designing, conducting, and analyzing measurements with lasers on trapped atomic and molecular ions
  • building and upgrading laser systems for laser cooling and laser spectroscopy of atomic and molecular ions stored in an ion trap
  • designing and carrying out numerical simulations of quantum systems
  • operating and improving the experimental setup, including experiment automation and control software


You are in possession of:
  • a MSc degree in Physics or Applied Physics, preferably specializing in atomic, molecular, and/or optical physics
  • a fascination for physics and cutting-edge technology 
  • a creative mind and independent 'self-starting' attitude, with the ability to see beyond boundaries, and develop your skills through self-study where needed
  • demonstrated hands-on experience in optics, electronics, lasers, vacuum systems, and system automation
  • knowledge of and experience with numerical simulation tools and software development

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a stimulating and 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 at least 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
  • solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • a wide range of sports facilities which staff may use at a modest charge
  • discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance)

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,500 students. We employ more than 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the Atomic, Molecular and Laser Physics group at LaserLaB VU
The research in our group gravitates around experimental tests of the foundations of physical law through high-precision studies of simple atoms and molecules, using the most advanced experimental tools currently available. Thanks to a vast infrastructure of lasers and unique measurement equipment, complemented by many decades of experience of its staff members, the group has held several world records in precision measurement.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter before 31 December 2020.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

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

Name: Dr Jeroen Koelemeij
Position: Assistant Professor

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