PhD Position Testing Fundamental Physics with Quantum Gasses

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • PhD Position Testing Fundamental Physics with Quantum Gasses
  • University Graduate

Are you highly interested and enthusiastic to investigate fundamental physics with quantum gasses (helium at ultra-cold temperatures), to study the influence of the nucleus on the electronic energy structure of helium, test quantum-electrodynamic theory and the behaviour of trapped quantum-degenerate gasses with state-of-the-art laser methods and quantum-state control of matter? Then please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).


Job description

The PhD position is in experimental physics, and aims to investigate the influence of the nucleus and quantum-electrodynamics on the spectrum of helium atoms using highly advanced laser spectroscopy methods (based on e.g. a frequency comb laser connected to a caesium atomic clock, an ultra-stable laser, nonlinear optics, etc.), and equally advanced methods to control the state of matter (in the form of a Bose-Einstein condensate for 4He and a degenerate Fermi-gas for 3He) captured in an optical lattice trap at the 'magic' wavelength. This research is part of a larger program where we investigate calculable atoms (such as He+ and He) and molecules (such as H2, HD+) by precision spectroscopy in search of physics beyond the standard model. 
You can find more details at 

Your duties
  • experimental research, based on advanced lasers and quantum-state control, 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

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts 2,325 euro (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to 2,972 euro (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 total 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)

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. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavour – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 26,000 students. We employ over 4,600 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

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 department, institute, project
The project is at the LaserLaB of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Physics Department), a world-leading multi-disciplinary research institute with more than 120 scientists and support staff. You will work in a team with several PhD students and postdocs in the Ultrafast Laser Physics and Precision Metrology for Fundamental Tests group, which is a subdivision of the Quantum Metrology and Laser Applications group (formerly known as Atoms, Molecules and Lasers). You can find more information at


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. You can apply until 31 August 2020, but applications are evaluated continuously until the position is filled.

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. K.S.E. Eikema
Position: Group leader Ultrafast Laser Physics and Precision Metrology for Fundamental Tests / Director LaserLaB
Telephone: +31-20-5987957

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