PhD positions in “Experimental quantum simulation and computation with neutral atom arrays”

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

Prof. Wenchao Xu is an assistant professor of Experimental Quantum Engineering in the Department of Physics at ETH Zurich and a group leader at Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). She received her Bachelor's degree from Nanjing University, China and received her PhD in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the USA in 2018. Before joining ETH Zurich, she was a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Project background

Our group is developing new technologies in quantum simulation and quantum computation with experimental platforms based on neutral atoms. The goal of this project is to build a hybrid programmable quantum system consisting of an array of atomic ensembles and an array of individually trapped atoms. This new architecture enables ensemble-assisted initialization and a rapid nondestructive readout of quantum states. With this new architecture, we aim for two main scientific directions:

  1. Quantum simulation on out-of-equilibrium dynamics in quantum many-body systems. Many phenomena exhibited in out-of-equilibrium quantum systems are yet to be fully understood, such as quantum thermalization and the dynamical quantum phases in strongly-correlated systems. Our platform realizes a programmable quantum simulator with precise controllability and great scalability for investigating out-of-equilibrium dynamics.
  2. Quantum computation with dual-atomic species. Harnessing the features of quantum effects, quantum computers can outperform any classical technology. Realizing a large-scale fault-tolerant quantum computer is an outstanding challenge. By encoding qubits with individual atoms, and using atomic ensembles for ancillary operations such as detecting error syndromes, our novel platform fulfils the prerequisite (such as well-controlled coherent qubits) for quantum computation and mitigates some difficulties in rapid, non-destructive qubit readout.

Job description

Your main task will be the planning and execution of experimental lab work as well as the formal analysis and processing of data. Examples of your tasks include:

  • Vacuum system and high-resolution microscopy system design
  • Laser cooling and trapping neutral atoms in optical tweezers
  • Individual precise control over the atomic states with optical laser beams and external electromagnetic fields
  • Characterization of the fidelity of quantum operations
  • Detailed study on the dynamical process in a quantum many-body system

Your profile

We are looking for PhDs and master's students who are enthusiastic about building up new apparatus from scratch. We value creativity and the ability to work well with others. Applications from all relevant fields are welcome. Previous research experience in the following fields is appreciated:

  • experimental experience in quantum optics (broadly defined) and atomic/molecular physics
  • experience in designing lab control systems (software and hardware)
  • knowledge in theoretical many-body physics and/or quantum information

Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We are looking forward to receiving your application with the following documents:

  • transcript
  • CV (with publication list if applicable)
  • brief description of your previous research project(s)

We only accept applications submitted through the ETH online application portal below. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Ms Wenchao Xu, at (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.