PhD positions within the context of the NL-eEDM research program (6.0 FTE)

University of Groningen
January 23, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2,541
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A
PhD positions within the context of the NL-eEDM research program (6.0 FTE)


Job description

We use cold molecules to probe fundamental physics - specifically the electron's electric dipole moment (EDM). We are looking for motivated PhD students with a strong interest the relevant fields of physics. The experiment is set up at the Van Swinderen Institute (VSI) at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. The NL-eEDM program is a collaboration of the University of Groningen, Vrije University Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam. Information on this research program can be found on https:// www. The program is part of the research mission of Nikhef, which is the Dutch national institute for subatomic physics. The scientific staff involved in this project is Rick Bethlem, Anastasia Borschevsky, Steven Jones, Steven Hoekstra, Rob Timmermans, Wim Ubachs, Jordy de Vries and Lorenz Willmann. PhD position 3 is at the VU in Amsterdam, all others are at the VSI Groningen.

A brief description of the specific projects (with the main supervisor, whom you can contact for more details) is given below.

PhD position 1: A bright and cold beam of slow molecules (Steven Hoekstra, s.hoekstra The sensitivity of the measurements to the electron's EDM is increased when using slowly moving molecules. In this subproject we make use a combination of cooling techniques to form a bright and slow molecular beam for eEDM measurements.

PhD position 2: Spin precession for EDM searches (Lorenz Willmann, l.willmann In this subproject we focus on the all-optical state preparation, spin precession and the readout. In particular the dependence of the EDM sensitive signal on the experimental parameters such as laser intensities, detunings and polarizations will be characterised. The measurement cycle will be implemented to separate experimental asymmetries and to provide a new stringent limit on the CP-violating eEDM.

PhD position 3: A fountain of BaF molecules (Rick Bethlem, h.l.bethlem A lens / mirror / cooling system based on electric fields and resonant light will be designed and constructed that will deflect a Stark decelerated molecular beam upwards in a fountain. The system should allow continuous operation. The system will be tested and optimized using a slow beam of MgF molecules before applying it to BaF. This PhD position is stationed in Amsterdam.

PhD position 4: Polyatomic molecules (Steven Hoekstra, s.hoekstra We have recently demonstrated the deceleration and electrostatic trapping of the heavy diatomic neutral molecule SrF. This approach is general: it does not rely on a closed optical cycle and can therefore be applied to many molecules. We will apply this technique to eEDM-sensitive polyatomic molecules. Polyatomic molecules are promising for eEDM measurements since they offer internal co-magnetometers and can be completely polarized at relatively low electric fields.

PhD position 5: Molecular theory (Anastasia Borschevsky, a.borschevsky We will perform high accuracy relativistic coupled cluster calculations of key properties of the diatomic and polyatomic molecules investigated in the experiment. Knowledge of these properties is crucial for determining the best experimental strategy and for interpreting the experimental results. In parallel, we will use approximate computational methods (relativistic DFT) to scan the vast and varied landscape of small (3-7 atoms) polyatomic molecules in the search for further promising candidates for future measurements.

PhD position 6: An effective field theory framework for EDMs (Jordy de Vries, j.devries4 The impressive progress in EDM searches with polar molecules requires a new theoretical framework that goes beyond the interpretation in terms of only the electron EDM. We will construct an effective field theory framework to interpret the BaF measurements in terms of fundamental CP-violating operators. We will not only include CP-odd effects among the nucleons and electrons that constitute the BaF molecule, but also leptonic, semi-leptonic, and hadronic CP-violating operators involving heavier fundamental fields (such as muons, top quarks, and Higgs bosons) that contribute through quantum loop effects. The position will be based at the RUG in close collaboration with the UvA and Nikhef in Amsterdam

More experienced candidates interested in a postdoc position (on theory or experiment) are also invited to contact us to discuss opportunities.


We seek excellent students with a strong background in the physical sciences who desire to obtain a PhD degree from a top European university. A successful candidate must hold a Masters degree in Physics or a related field, or equivalent by the starting date of the position. Previous research experience and skills will be important criteria for the selection.


The University of G

Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month (based on fulltime employment) in the fourth and final year. The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. All PhD positions are funded for four years. • a full-time position (1.0 FTE) • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income • an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and participation in a pension scheme for employees.


Please send your application to us, by submitting the following documents:

1. A general cover-letter motivating your application and detailing the motivation to apply for one or more of the proposed PhD projects. Please clearly indicate which projects you apply for, why you apply for them, and rank them in your order of preference. Without motivation and ranking, your application will be harder to assess (1 page max) 2. Your CV/resume 3. A research statement (2 pages max) describing your personal research interests and previous research projects 4. A certified list of grades from your undergraduate degree(s) up to the moment of application (in case your degree has not yet been awarded).

Please upload the single PDF file under the option 'Fill form manually' as your letter of motivation and leave all others empty.

Candidates have to arrange for two reference letters from researchers to s.hoekstra

You can apply until 15 January 11:59pm / before 16 January 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the online application form. For the experimental PhD positions 1-4 we have a joint application procedure, which can be accessed through the following link: https: // For the PhD positions 5 and 6 on theory, interested candidates can apply through https: // (for position 5) and https: // (for position 6). Only submissions via these application forms will be considered. The selection of candidates will continue until all positions are filled.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https: // www. strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https: // www. and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https: //

We provide career services for partners of new faculty members moving to Groningen.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


For information you can contact:

  • the main supervisor,
  • Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

    From this employer

    Recent blogs

    Recent news