Research Fellow (x2) in condensed-matter atomic clocks

Lancaster, Lancashire, UK
£43,434 to £50,296
15 Jun 2022
15 Jul 2022

We are seeking two Research Fellows to develop a condensed-matter atomic clock. They will join a new and ambitious effort, in collaboration between Lancaster University and LocatorX, Inc., to apply new developments in electron spin resonance to clock technology.

The project exploits spin resonance in nitrogen endofullerene molecules, whose spin states possess long quantum coherence times and therefore a well-defined transition frequency even at room temperature. We have discovered a clock transition in this material, meaning that the frequency (unlike that of most spin resonance transitions) is insensitive to magnetic-field fluctuations. This is the key discovery that underpins this technology. The aim of this project is to advance the technology readiness of the device from TRL3 to TRL5. To do this, we will construct and characterise a table-top prototype clock, then incorporate new techniques to stabilise and track the transition frequency even under environmental perturbations such as fluctuations of magnetic field and temperature. We seek experimental physicists with knowledge of spin resonance and electronic measurements who are motivated to use fundamental physical principles to create a new technology.

Precision timekeeping is essential for navigation, communication, and radar. An atomic clock that is small, low-power, and cheap will have many important applications in these fields. However, existing clocks based on atomic vapours contain optical and vacuum elements that are difficult to miniaturise further. This is an exciting opportunity to develop a new class of clock by drawing on rapid scientific progress and on strong technology pull from a committed industrial collaborator. The appointment is at Research Fellow grade, i.e. above the usual grade for postdoctoral researchers , reflecting the commitment of our industrial partner to this project, and its importance.

You will join us on an indefinite contract. However, the role remains contingent on external funding, which at this time is to 31 March 2024.

The Laird group moved to Lancaster in in 2018. This project takes advantage of newly purchased equipment and recently renovated lab space, and forms part of the research cluster centred on the Quantum Technology Centre. For more information about the group and this research area, see

Lancaster University is consistently ranked in the top 10 in the UK university league tables. It is located on a beautiful campus in the North-West of England close to the Lake District National Park.

The Physics Department is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department and welcome applications from people in all diversity groups.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Edward Laird ( It is anticipated that the appointments will be made from July 2022 or soon afterwards, but we intend to extend the closing date if necessary until the posts are filled.

We welcome applications from people in all diversity groups.

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