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Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physicist

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Oxfordshire, UK
£42,840 - £47,124 dependent on experience
Posting live until
2 Jun 2024

Job Details

Job Title: Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physicist

Salary: UKRI Band D S1 £42,840 - £47,124 dependent on experience

Location: RAL - Oxfordshire

Contract Type: 2 x Permanent Positions

Hours: Full Time (We understand the importance of work-life balance, and are happy to discuss the possibility of flexible working with applicants)

Visa Sponsorship: We are able to sponsor Visa applications, reimburse application fees, and encourage international candidates to apply. A relocation package may be available.

Come and do the kind of science that made you want to become a scientist. Explore the unknown and get to grips with the biggest challenges in Big Science. And, alongside world class engineers, technicians and technologists, use everything you've learnt to find real-answers that shape society and improve lives.

Put simply, discover the kind of impact you can make when you work with some of the best facilities and brightest scientists in the world.

As part of the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme (NQTP), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is leading a programme to establish a National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC). This includes a commitment of £93m over 5 years, dedicated to drive development in the field of Quantum Computing and to place the UK at the forefront of the field.

Our primary purpose is to fill a key gap in the research and innovation landscape addressing the challenge of scaling quantum computing.

About the Role:

As an experimental AMO physicist, you will work as part of the Neutral Atom Quantum Computing team within the Research division of NQCC. Utilizing your skills in atomic, molecular and optical physics, you will support UK development of quantum computing resources based on neutral atoms. You will develop and deploy robust and re-usable quantum computing platforms to support our technology roadmap, building scalable quantum computing capabilities and making progress against the NQCC technology roadmap.

You will join an expanding tweezer array quantum computing (TAQC) team, developing and pushing the limits of the TAQC platform in the UK.  The team focus on building UK capability in TAQC, through development of experimental hardware, utilization of QCaaS and in-house commercial platforms, road mapping the development of the TAQC platform, and collaboration with both academia and industry. Our in-house software team will provide control systems to support your work, and our applications engineers will help to explore early applications of your technology.

The wide range of activity undertaken by the team offers many opportunities for personal development. The role will center on designing and building cutting-edge experimental tweezer array quantum computing hardware in our world-class laboratory space, tackling problems that span physics and engineering. However, the role goes far beyond experimental physics. It might also involve chairing a national debate on the future of the TAQC platform. You might collaborate with an industrial partner to improve the reliability of the neutral atom platform by solving complex engineering challenges. Or you might demonstrate early quantum advantage on a commercial NISQ device.

We are keen to support professional development and if desired, you will be supported in obtaining professional accreditation through IOP CPhys or similar professional accreditation. Additionally, there are other opportunities to develop leadership skills through participation in Hackathons, Summer-Studentships, Apprenticeships, Masters and PhD programs. 

While deep technical expertise in quantum computing is not required for this role, it would be considered valuable.

Key responsibilities:

Developing and testing experimental TAQC designs and architectures in-house. Proof-of-concept / engineering projects that overcome TAQC performance bottlenecks. Contributing to a roadmap that can scale TAQC platforms towards quantum advantage. Analyzing and reporting on commercial TAQC performance. Input into software and control architecture design, working with the NQCC software team. Running events & colloquia for the UK neutral atom quantum computing community. Collaboration across platforms within NQCC and with external commercial or academic partners. Publishing non-confidential results. Promoting best practice software development across the NQCC. 

Person Specification: 

You will be able to work/travel within the UK and overseas as and when required to attend international meetings with collaborators.

Educated to masters-level (or equivalent professional experience) in computing, physics, engineering or a related discipline Experience of research in atomic, molecular or optical physics Experience of some experimental or theoretical methods relevant to tweezer array quantum computing e.g. laser cooling, atom trapping, applied optics, simulation e.t.c Conceptual understanding of tweezer array quantum computing Experience of collaborative research Familiar with R&D or laboratory environments Appreciation of Health, Safety and Environment   Choosing to come to work at UKRI means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits including a flexible working scheme, a Career Average Revalued Earnings pension scheme, 30 days annual leave allowance, access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme. 

Join us and discover what’s possible!


STFC imageAt the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), research is driven by practical applications and a curiosity to create a world-leading hub of scientific and engineering excellence. Our science and facilities enable researchers to answer fundamental questions about the nature of the universe. Success typically requires long-term strategic investment, international collaboration on a global scale and the capability to push the limits of technology and engineering. To remain internationally competitive in our areas of science and to keep our facilities at the leading edge, we have to develop bespoke technology that cannot be reliably sourced on the open market, for example in detectors and instrumentation, accelerators, specialist engineering, optics and e-infrastructure. These technologies are often also applied to address broader societal and industrial challenges and we actively promote their translation and commercialization.

Why work for us
When you join STFC, you become a key part of one of Europe’s largest research organizations. We are trusted to support, enable, and undertake cutting-edge projects in an amazing diversity of fields that you could be a part of. With access to our world-class facilities, people like you are helping us to drive ground-breaking advances in science, engineering, computing and technology.

  • The Particle Physics Department (PPD) is one of the largest particle physics groups in the UK. We design, construct and operate some of the most sensitive scientific instruments in the world, collaborating with partners in academia, industry and international laboratories such as CERN. We currently work with the ATLAS, CMS, LHCb, DUNE, Hyper-K, T2K, MICE, Lux-Zeplin, DEAP-3600, CERN RD50, Electron Ion Collider and AION collaborations.
  • The National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) is a £93m UKRI investment over five years based at the Harwell Campus. This is a strategic element within the overall £1bn, 10-year investment into quantum technologies made by the UK since 2014.

Our benefits

  • 30 days annual leave plus 10.5 public and privilege days.
  • Flexible or hybrid working may be available dependent on role.
  • Defined benefit pension scheme (employer contribution – currently up to 26%).
  • Sport and social groups across campus with access to an on-site gym.

For more information on all of our employee benefits, visit

Who we are looking for
The UK has a world-class research and innovation system. Our expertise spans all fields of knowledge, from the discovery of penicillin and monoclonal antibodies, to the jet engine and the World Wide Web. Therefore it is vital for us to have the best people at all levels throughout UKRI. We want to continue to attract a mix of talented professionals, scientists and engineers.


Number of employees
STFC has 2594 staff members across the UK and UKRI has approx. 8000

Main areas of research
Our work encompasses everything from the physical, biological and social
sciences, to innovation, engineering, medicine, the environment, as well as arts and the humanities

Positions recently recruited for
Electronic engineers, data scientists, research associates CMS/DUNE, research associate on electron ion collider (EiC), ion trap physicists

Desired degree disciplines/class
A STEM degree

How to apply
Apply online at 

Closing date
All year round

Quantum physics and computing vacancies: E-mail
Particle physics vacancies: E-mail

Company info
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
OX11 0QX

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