PhD Position – Quantum Sensing with Levitated Particles – TU Delft – Delft

  • Delft

TU Delft

Job description

Quantum technology encompasses all new technologies that require quantum physics to work [1]. Sensors based on oscillating mechanical systems are an important class of these emerging technologies. They are promising candidates to improve current technology such as positioning systems, inertial navigation and force sensing; and to advance fundamental research, such as the search for the quantum nature of gravity.


For these vibrating systems to enter the quantum realm, a high degree of decoupling from the environment is required [2]. One viable way is to use electromagnetic radiation to levitate these objects in vacuum. Levitation also has other advantages, such as a high degree of dynamic control and a sensor mass range spanning several orders of magnitude, from femtograms to nanograms [3].

In the recent years, we have made great progresses in controlling the motion of such levitated systems down to the level of single quanta [4,5]. This has allowed us, for example, to generate non-classical states of the surrounding electromagnetic environment [6]. The next challenge is to extend quantum control to sensing applications [7].


You will answer the question “ How can quantum measurements and control techniques be used in macroscopic sensors? ”. First, you will set up a table-top experiment using optical tweezers to trap nano- and microspheres in vacuum, a quantum-limited detector to measure their motion and opto-electrical control actuations to generate the motion ground state. Then, you will implement new control schemes to generate non-classical motional states, in order to enhance our sensitivity to detect forces of both coherent and impulsive nature. With your work, you will enrich the family of quantum sensors and open up new applications for levitated systems, such as gas sensing and gravimetry [7,8].


  1. Kurizki, G. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 112, 3866–3873 (2015).
  2. Aspelmeyer, M. et al. Rev. Mod. Phys. 86, 1391–1452 (2014).
  3. Gonzalez-Ballestero, C. et al. Science 374, eabg3027 (2021).
  4. Tebbenjohanns, F. et al. Nature 595, 378–382 (2021).
  5. Magrini, L. et al. Nature 595, 373–377 (2021).
  6. Militaru, A. et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 129, 053602 (2022).
  7. Degen, C. L. et al. Rev. Mod. Phys. 89, 035002 (2017).
  8. Rademacher, M. et al. Advanced Optical Technologies 9, 227–239 (2020).

Job requirements

To be considered for the position, you must have

  • MSc degree in Physics or a closely related field.
  • Excellent communication in English, both written and oral.
  • Passion for doing experimental research.
  • Interest in theoretical modelling of your experiment.

In addition, we appreciate experience in general experimental physics, optics and laser, nanomechanics and electronics, but it is not a requirement for applicants.

conditions of employement

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from €2541 per month in the first year to €3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

TU Delft

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core and we actively to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


With more than 1,100 employees, including 150 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,600 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we educate innovative students in broad Bachelor’s and specialist Master’s programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers.

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