Open CFP Postdoctoral appointments
CFP postdocs make the CFP an exciting, productive and visible center of excellence. There are currently multiple openings for CFP Postdoctoral Fellows. These Fellows will play key roles in new measurements that test the standard model of particle physics and probe for physics beyond the standard model (e.g. searches for dark matter and quantum gravity). Specific projects and associated opportunities are listed below:
- A CFP Postdoctoral Fellow is sought to lead a new experiment to search for ultralight dark matter, a strongly motivated dark matter candidate, by precisely comparing the lengths of two high-finesse, cryogenic optical cavities--one rigid and the other with independently suspended mirrors as in LIGO (non-rigid). The dark matter signal of interest would induce an oscillating strain in the rigid cavity but not in the non-rigid cavity, so that the non-rigid cavity can serve as an ultrastable length reference for the rigid cavity. The experiment will operate cryogenically to reduce background noise arising from thermal fluctuations in the mirror substrates and coatings, rigid cavity spacer, and non-rigid cavity suspension system. Moreover, an advanced vibration isolation system, based on techniques developed by LIGO and related experiments, will be developed to suppress the influence of vibrations on the cavity lengths. This project will involve collaboration between all four CFP research groups.
For more information as well as application instructions, please contact Professors Gabrielse, Odom, Geraci, and/or Kovachy.
- A CFP Postdoctoral Fellow is sought to lead a new effort to develop and experimentally implement techniques to dramatically enhance the sensitivity of atom interferometers by using optimal quantum control protocols to manipulate the atoms' quantum states. The postdoc will apply these techniques to ultralight dark matter searches and fundamental tests of gravity, leveraging an atom interferometer at Northwestern optimized for precise gravitational measurements and a 100-meter-tall atom interferometer at nearby Fermilab (MAGIS-100) designed to search for dark matter and serve as a prototype gravitational wave detector in an unexplored frequency range. This project will be led by that Kovachy group and will involve collaborative work with several research groups in the newly established Department of Energy Superconducting Quantum Materials and Systems National Quantum Initiative Center, which brings together expertise in atom interferometry and in optimal quantum control as part of its quantum sensing thrust.
For more information as well as application instructions, please contact Prof. Tim Kovachy.
- A CFP Postdoctoral Fellow is sought to lead a new effort to develop a novel low-vibration cryogenic apparatus that is suitable for matter-wave interferometry and wave-packet expansion measurements with optically trapped nanoparticles. Optically levitated dielectric objects in ultra-high vacuum exhibit excellent decoupling from their environment, making them ideal for precision sensing. The Geraci group has demonstrated calibrated force sensitivity of order 10-21 N in such systems. These systems are also well suited as sensors of extremely feeble accelerations and torques, and for tests of quantum foundations. The postdoc will conduct work on matter-wave expansion of ultra-cold nanoparticles which will pave the way for future experiments on using macroscopic superpositions of levitated nanoparticles to experimentally test whether the gravitational field can mediate entanglement in quantum systems.
For more information as well as application instructions, please contact Prof. Andy Geraci.
- A CFP Postdoctoral Fellow is sought to join a new effort to develop use of doped cryogenic crystals for fundamental physics applications. Chemists for decades have performed spectroscopy on reactive molecules imbedded in frozen host matrices made of inert atoms. Now physicists are wondering if this method of “trapping” might be improved sufficiently to study molecules better than can be done in beams or electromagnetic traps. The advantage would be that we could study many orders of magnitude more molecules per experimental cycle, thereby greatly enhancing our sensitivity to physics beyond the Standard Model. Possibilities include searching for an electric dipole moment of the electron and searching for dark matter.
For more information as well as application instructions, please contact Prof. Brian Odom.
For potential graduate students
Graduate students are the backbone
and strength of the CFP, and fundamental physics provides
wonderful laboratory training that can be widely applied.
Prospective graduate students interested in joining one or
more of the CFP research groups should apply for admission
to the Northwestern Department of Physics and Astronomy
before Dec. 31. Applications should indicate the CFP groups of
interest, and applicants should email their interest to the
research group leaders.
For Northwestern undergraduates
The CFP welcomes undergraduate
students who are interested in working in the CFP
laboratories. Please contact any of the CFP faculty members,
along with the CFP
Program Assistant). For information about obtaining
undergraduate research grants, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Research website.
For potential CFP visitors
- Science visitors are welcome at the CFP. Those interested
in spending research time at the CFP should contact the CFP
director or research group leaders (with a copy to the CFP Program
- Interdisciplinary visitors are also welcome at the CFP.
Those interested can apply for funding to the CFP director
(with a copy to the CFP Program