PhD Studentship in Molecular Physics and Physical Chemistry (2016)

3.5 year PhD positions are available in the Ion Trap Cavity-QED and Molecular Physics (ITCM) Group in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex.

The positions come with an annual stipend of £14,057 which can be supplemented by tutoring. The position includes an additional yearly travel allowance for conferences and workshops.

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in physics, chemistry or similar.

For more information please contact Dr Matthias Keller ( and visit the group's web page at

The laws of physics are governed by a set of fundamental constants which determine the structure of the universe from sub-atomic particles to large galaxy clusters. Many theories which aim to unify all fundamental forces and cosmological models predict that fundamental constants change in time. Two particularly interesting constants are the fine structure constant and the proton-to-electron mass ratio. At the ITCM group at Sussex, we have set up an experiment which aims to measure how the proton-to-electron mass ratio changes with time to a higher accuracy than currently possible by employing high resolution spectroscopy of molecular ions. By using quantum logic spectroscopy the state of the molecule is transferred to a co-trapped atomic ion via the ions' joint motion in the trapping potential through the phononic quantum bus. In this way the ion's quantum state is measured without destroying it. This method can also be employed to entangle the quantum state of the molecule and atom to enhance the accuracy.

The PhD project will include the investigation of multi-photonionisation of various molecular species, implementation of destructive and non-destructive molecular state detection and the development and implementation of sophisticated techniques to manipulate the internal molecular state. The project is part of an interdisciplinary collaboration between the ITCM research group at Sussex and the research of Prof Tim Softley (University of Birmingham).

What you get

£14057(2015-16) per annum tax-free bursary and waiver of UK/EU fees each year for 3.5 years.Full-time study

Type of award

Postgraduate Research


First class degree in Physics or a 2.1 degree with a Masters or equivalent non-UK qualifications.

Non-UK students must have English at IELTS 6.0 or equivalent, and Overseas students requiring a visa must have an English certificate.

The costs covered are for UK and EU student fees only of £4068 p.a. Overseas (ex-EU) students can apply but must have a plan for raising the addition sums required for the higher fees of £17850 p.a


31 August 2016 23:59

How to apply

Send your CV to Dr Matthias Keller at


This is a full-time studentship. With agreement of the supervisor the student may take on a limited amount of teaching, for which additional payment will be made.

The award includes an additional training grant of £1250 p.a. for short courses, books, travel, conferences etc.

The on Trap Cavity-QED and Molecular Physics Group webpages can be found here:

Contact us

Informal enquiries should be sent to Dr Matthias Keller

Enquiries about your eligibility, the progress of your application and admission to Sussex, should be sent to Rebecca Foster


Early application is advised. The studentship will be allocated as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

The expected start date at Sussex is September 2016 although other starts dates may be negotiable.


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
31 August 2016 23:59 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired