Atomic, Molecular, Optical and Positron Physics


PhD studentships

PhD project currently available

The interpretation of quantum mechanics is still an open question. Recently there has been considerable interest in the new notion of a 'weak measurement' introduced by Aharonov, Albert and Vaidman to reveal more details of quantum processes than the traditional Von Neumann or strong measurement. A strong measurement involves the collapse of the wavefunction in the final stage of the experiment producing an eigenvalue of some operator A. In contrast, a weak measurement of an operator A involves inducing a phase change to the wavefunction that can ultimately be revealed in a strong measurement of a different complimentary operator B. In this way we can gain information about quantum systems.
To date the weak measurement technique has only been applied to optical experiments. However, weak measurements for particles with non-zero rest mass such as atomic systems have not yet been demonstrated. We will carry out two experiments, supported by two PhD students that will explore weak measurements. This includes a modified Stern-Gerlach experiment and atomic interferometry using cold argon atoms.
This will be the first time the weak measurement technique will have been demonstrated on atomic systems. Not only will this be a world first will open up new kinds of measurement. The students will take a major role in experiments that will manipulate the internal and external states of atoms. They will additionally acquire skills in the design and construction of vacuum and optical systems as well as data acquisition and analysis.

Award amount
Stipend + fees
This award is available for UK and EU students only.
You will need a strong desire to carry out ground breaking experiments in the area of foundations of quantum mechanics. You should have a good UK degree in physics or a closely-related subject, or an equivalent non-UK qualification.

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