This description has been updated to include an additional theme: Quantum technology for finance and other commercial applications (Dan Hunt studentship)
Quantum technology for finance and other commercial applications (Dan Hunt studentship)]
Five 3.5 year PhD positions are available in the Ion Quantum Technology Group in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex. The group is part of the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies. The positions consist of current UK/EU fees, a yearly stipend of £14296 which can be supplemented by tutoring. The positions also include a yearly travel allowance. You should have a physics or related degree. The positions are part of the UK National Quantum Technologies programme.
Application deadline: Please apply as soon as possible and the latest by 15 March 2017
Research in novel quantum technologies will likely lead to step changing innovations which will affect many areas of modern sciences. Implementing such technologies with trapped ion quantum bits has been widely accepted as one of the most promising pathways.
Theme 1: Developing a trapped-ion quantum computer demonstrator device
Impressive progress has been made in the implementation of quantum technologies with trapped ions. This includes the realisation of high-fidelity quantum gates, quantum error correction, teleportation and many quantum algorithms. As part of the UK Quantum Technology Hub on Networked Quantum Technologies, our group is involved in the development of two complementary trapped-ion quantum computer demonstrator devices. Ion transport within ion trap arrays is a critical ingredient for an ion trap quantum computer. As part of this project, you will develop reliable shuttling protocols for ion transport within X-junction ion trap arrays. The project includes both relevant theoretical simulations and experimental implementation. Outcomes from the project will include diabatic and adiabatic shuttling protocols and experimental demonstrations. You will focus on separation and recombination of ion chains and transport through junctions. You will also develop shuttling protocols for mixed species transport. You will participate in the experimental realisation of quantum algorithms making use of the ion transport capabilities you develop.
Theme 2: Quantum algorithms on a trapped-ion quantum co-processor
Large-scale quantum computers may require in excess of millions of individual quantum bits. This would require aligning millions of laser beams with micron accuracy. At Sussex we have developed an alternative approach where quantum gates are executed by the application of voltages on an ion trap quantum computing microchip replacing laser beams required for quantum gate implementation. We have already developed the capability to carry out two-qubit quantum gates with fidelities close to the fault-tolerant threshold and single qubit gates well below the fault-tolerant threshold. In parallel we are developing shuttling capabilities in order to reliably transport ions on an ion microchip. Combing shuttling with the realisation of quantum gates allows for the realisation of quantum algorithms with a few trapped ions. This project will consolidate these individual capabilities to develop an ion quantum trap co-processor with a small number of ions. We will develop a reprogrammable and reconfigurable device maximizing its versatility for a broad range of applications.
Theme 3: Advanced microchips for quantum technology devices
Trapped ions are one of the most mature implementation to deliver practical quantum technologies. At the core of quantum technology devices we develop are sophisticated quantum microchips that are being developed in-house and are fabricated by our own group members in our own as well as other leading cleanroom facilities around the world. The group produces state-of-the-art microchips and holds the world record for a number of chip specifications. This project involves designing, fabricating, characterising and operating complex quantum microchips to be used in trapped-ion quantum computing, simulation and sensing quantum devices. This will include the development of through silicon vertical interconnects and on-chip features such as photon detectors, and integrated digital-to-analogue converters. The work will focus on silicon manufacturing technologies. Some of the typical tasks for this position include process development, microchip microfabrication and the operation of ion trapping experiments. You will also participate in the operation of practical quantum computers and quantum simulators.
Theme 4: Developing a portable quantum sensor
Quantum sensing with trapped ions is a powerful new technology that may have step changing impact for numerous applications such as breast cancer detection, mineral, oil exploration and national security. As part of this project you will develop a portable quantum sensor with world-record magnetic field sensitivity. After constructing a laboratory demonstrator device, you will then participate developing a portable sensor capable of airborne and field application. You will work with industry towards making a commercial device capable of being operated in a variety of environments. This device will also have applications as ultrastable portable atomic clock and the technology you develop will be critical for the realization of practical quantum computers. The work will be carried out as part of the UK Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology. The position includes a thorough 1-year training program along with a 3-year research component. For the 1-year training program, you will be awarded an MRes in Translational Quantum Technology.
Theme 5: Quantum technology for finance and other commercial applications (Dan Hunt studentship)
The project aims to explore commercial applications of quantum computing and quantum simulation. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with the finance sector and scientists from other disciplines such as biology and material science. You will work on understanding the opportunities provided by quantum simulation and quantum computing by identifying problems from other fields and map them to known quantum algorithms and quantum simulations and you will determine appropriate hardware requirements for a trapped-ion quantum computer. While the project is of theoretical nature, you will be embedded in an experimental group in order to understand hardware opportunities and constraints. You will also work towards implementing first algorithms and quantum simulations on a microwave trapped-ion quantum computer demonstrator device currently being constructed at the University of Sussex. You will interact closely with experimentalists in the group, as well as the group of Dr Diego Porras, one of the world-leading theorists in the field of quantum simulation with trapped ions. You should enjoy interdisciplinary theoretical research with close connections to an experimental group.
The Ion Quantum Technology Group is one of the world’s leading centres for the implementation of trapped-ion quantum computing and simulation. The group is part of the UK Quantum Technology Hub on Networked Quantum Technologies and the UK Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology. The group currently spans 4 Postdoctoral Fellows, 14 PhD students and 6 undergraduate students.
The city of Brighton & Hove has everything - sun, sea, brilliant clubs, great places to eat, fabulous shops, a truly cosmopolitan vibe and is located only 50min from central London. Located on the beach, Brighton boasts beautiful seaside views and beaches, boating, sports and beach activities. The South Downs provide breathtaking views, tranquil walks and plenty of opportunities for mountain biking, hiking or picnics.
You can find out more about the group at:
A short film about Professor Hensinger’s work can be found here. A popular science lecture given by Prof. Hensinger explaining the principles of quantum computing at the US Department of Energy can be found here.
Some recent media coverage about the group’s work can be found here:
Profile interview with Prof Winfried Hensinger
BBC Radio 4 Today
International Business Times
BBC WORLD SERVICE World Update
Detailled reading about our research can be found here, including:
- Trapped-ion quantum logic with global radiation fields, S. Weidt, J. Randall, S. C. Webster, K. Lake, A. E. Webb, I. Cohen, T. Navickas, B. Lekitsch, A. Retzker, and W. K. Hensinger, Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 220501 (2016)
- Blueprint for a microwave trapped-ion quantum computer, B. Lekitsch, S. Weidt, A.G. Fowler, K. Mølmer, S.J. Devitt, Ch. Wunderlich, and W.K. Hensinger, arXiv:1508.00420 [quant-ph] (2015)
For more information, please email the head of group,
Prof Winfried Hensinger
(Professor of Quantum Technologies)
To apply please email a CV, and your degree results as soon as possible or the latest by 15 March 2017 to the email address above. Please indicate which research theme you would prefer. Note in order to qualify for these positions you must have resided in the UK for three years prior to the start of the position (for theme 1, 2 and 4) or UK or Europe for three years prior to the start of the position (for theme 3 and 5). If you are from outside Europe, you may apply for a non-funded position in the group, however, you will need to have a funding source for tuition fees and living expenses.