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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dark Matter Detection with Levitated Optomechanics

University College London
London, England
£38308 - £46155 per annum + plus benefits
Closing date
20 Dec 2022
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Job Details

About us

The Physics and Astronomy Department at UCL is located in the heart of the historical area of Bloomsbury. UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the top departments in the UK for this subject area: UCL is consistently placed in the global top 20 across a wide range of university rankings - and is currently 8th in the QS World University Rankings 2020, and 4th in the UK for Physics & Astronomy.

We have forged an internationally renowned reputation for being at the forefront of world leading research and providing high class teaching. Those joining us can expect to be part of a dynamic community of Physicists and Astronomers whose enthusiasm for science and innovation is exceptional.

About the role

The optomechanics and the dark groups of Peter Barker and Chamkaur Ghag have recently been awarded STFC funding to develop quantum levitated optomechanical sensors for directional detection of dark matter. The aim of this research programme is to deliver discovery or world leading constraints on dark matter by exploring significant new parameter space using optically and electrodynamically levitated sensors. In particular, the project will perform both technical and theoretical R&D to explore innovative and cutting-edge methodologies to increase sensitivity to composite dark matter. We will also demonstrate directional capability and deliver sensitivity studies for theoretical models of dark sector physics.

Main purpose of the Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dark Matter Detection with Levitated Optomechanics

To take a leading role in the design and construction of these experiments and take part in data analysis. You will also provide day-to-day assistance and guidance to the PhD students involved the project.

The successful candidate will also:

  • contribute to the preparation and drafting of research bids and proposals;
  • contribute to the overall activities of the research team and department as required;
  • undertake a limited amount of teaching in relation to subject area;
  • contribute to the induction and direction of other research staff and students as requested;
  • be responsible for ensuring that equipment is safe and maintained in working order.

The experiments will take place within a state-of-the art laboratory in the new Photon Science Hub at UCL.

This position is funded for 2 years in the first instance.

About you

The successful applicant will have or about to obtain a PhD in Physics. It is desirable to have following experience, knowledge and attributes:

  • experience in levitated optomechanical methods;
  • knowledge of dark matter physics and detection;
  • expertise in high vacuum, lasers and optical methods;
  • programming skills for data acquisition, analysis and feedback methods;
  • excellent written and verbal communication;
  • ability to analyse and write up data and to present complex information effectively to a range of audiences;
  • able to work in a team;
  • commitment to high quality research;
  • commitment to UCL's policy of equal opportunity and the ability to work harmoniously with colleagues and students of all cultures and backgrounds.

What we offer

At UCL, we offer a competitive benefits package including 27 days annual leave plus six days (bank holidays are in addition), hybrid and flexible working, final salary pension scheme, season ticket loan, cycle to work scheme, enhanced maternity/ paternity/ adoption pay, workplace nursery, employee assistance programme and much more.

For more information on our benefits, please visit

We will consider applications to work on a part-time, flexible and job share basis wherever possible.

Our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

At London's Global University, we know diversity fosters creativity and innovation, and we want our community to represent the diversity of the world's talent. We are committed to equality of opportunity, to being fair and inclusive, and to being a place where we all belong.

We therefore particularly encourage applications from candidates who are likely to be underrepresented in UCL's workforce. These include people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds; disabled people; LGBTQI+ people; and for our Grade 9 and 10 roles, women.


Founded in 1826 in the heart of London, UCL is London's leading multidisciplinary university, with more than 13,000 staff and 42,000 students from 150 different countries.

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United Kingdom
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