Postdoctoral Research Associate in Quantum Light and matter, Physics Department

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: Durham, ENGLAND

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Quantum Light and matter, Physics Department (
Job Number:
Department of Physics
Grade 7: - £35,333 per annum
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contract Duration: 12 month
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date
: 20-Jan-2023, 6:59:00 PM
Disclosure and Barring Service Requirement: Not Applicable. 


The Department

The Department of Physics at Durham University is one of the leading UK Physics departments with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students.


The Department is committed to advancing equality and we aim to ensure that our culture is inclusive, and that our systems support flexible and family-friendly working, as recognized by our Juno Champion and Athena SWAN Silver awards. We recognise and value the benefits of diversity throughout our staff and students.


The Role


A Postdoctoral Research Associate position is available to pursue experimental research in the field of atomic and laser physics within the Durham Quantum Light and Matter group. The position is associated with a project funded by Innovate UK, in collaboration with industry partners, Cold Quanta UK Ltd. and Leonardo.


The post holder will be expected to display the initiative and creativity, together with the appropriate skills and knowledge, required to lead and develop experiments to meet the project goals. The post holder will be expected to be familiar with narrowband and tunable scientific lasers, and have experience in atomic physics, quantum optics or laser cooling and trapping. The post holder is expected to be able to work effectively both independently and as part of a small research team. It is expected that the post holder will enhance the international contacts of the group through the presentation of work at international conferences. The post holder will also be expected to aid in the supervision of graduate students within the group as well as contributing to the undergraduate teaching within the Department.


The goal of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of using ultracold atoms in Rydberg states to detect radio-frequency radiation in the very high-frequency and ultra-high frequency bands.  This will pave the way to field-deployable devices which significantly reduce the space, spectral, and polarisation constraints of conventional detection systems.


The successful candidate will be required to take a lead role in all aspects of their project, contributing directly to the experiment and working closely with Profs Kevin Weatherill, Stuart Adams, industrial project partners, and graduate students as well as other members of the research group and will be expected to undertake an active role in the laboratory activity.


The Department of Physics is committed to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment. It is pledged to the Athena SWAN charter, where we hold a silver award, and has the status of IoP Juno Champion. We embrace equality and particularly welcome applications from women, black and minority ethnic candidates, and members of other groups that are under-represented in physics. Durham University provides a range of benefits including pension, flexible and/or part time working hours, shared parental leave policy and childcare provision.




•             To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.

•             To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.

•             To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.

•             To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.

•             To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.

•             To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.

•             To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.

•             To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.

•             To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.

•             To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.

•             To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.

•             To contribute to fostering a collegial working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.

•             To engage in citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.

•             To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.   


The post is for a fixed term of 12 months.


The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.


Successful applicants will ideally be in post by April 2023.


The Requirements




1.            Qualifications

•             A good first degree in physics.

•             A PhD (or be close to submission) in atomic physics or related area.


2.            Experience

•             Experience in conducting high quality academic research.

•             Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.

•             Demonstrable ability to present research papers at international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.

•             Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career

•             To have experience with narrowband, tunable scientific lasers.


3.            Skills

•             Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.

•             Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.

•             Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.





4.            Experience

•             Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics.

•             Experience of overseeing students with respect to the development of their practical/research skills e.g. acting as a demonstrator; supervising student projects.

•             Experimental experience of laser optics, including Gaussian beam optics, acousto- and electro-optics.

•             Experimental experience of laser frequency stabilization techniques.

•             Knowledge of electronics.

•             Knowledge of Labview and/or Python software.


How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Kevin Weatherill ( or Stuart Adams ( All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

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