Scientific Internship: Spontaneous symmetry breaking in coupled nonlinear optical micro-cavities

Date posted March 13, 2019
Type Scientific Internships

Spontaneous symmetry breaking (SSB) occurs when a tiny perturbation leads a symmetric system to an asymmetric state. SSB is one of the most fundamental processes in physics, underlying for example the Higgs mechanism, Bose-Einstein condensation, and the laser. In this project, you will explore the SSB phase transition of two coupled nonlinear optical micro-cavities.  To probe this effect experimentally, you will use a state-of-the-art tunable cavity setup which our group recently constructed. The system already enjoys a strong nonlinearity (necessary for SSB), and we can measure the cavity dynamics across ~6 orders of magnitude in time.  You will extend the capabilities of the setup so that you can measure cavity-resolved dynamics of two strongly coupled micro-cavities. You will model your experiments  with coupled nonlinear stochastic differential equations. This project is a first and decisive step towards the long-term goals of the group, which involve building a quantum simulator based on nonlinear optical cavity arrays.

About the group

In the Interacting Photons group we are interested in nonlinear and quantum behaviour of light.  We focus on tunable systems where light and matter interact strongly, thereby leading to effective photon-photon interactions. We have strong connections to other groups in the Netherlands, France, and UK. You will have extensive support from the group leader and the technical staff at AMOLF. You will have access to state-of-the-art tunable cavity setups & lasers, and numerical techniques for dealing with nonlinear & stochastic systems.


You have a BSc in Physics or closely-related discipline. Lab experience in optics/photonics is not necessary— you will get it here.  A background or strong interest in any of the following is appreciated: condensed matter, nonlinearity, stochastic systems, quantum optics. This project involves collaborative work, so we are looking for a team-player.  Due to EU and Dutch regulations, you must be of EU nationality or enrolled in a Dutch university to apply for this position.

Terms of employment

At the start of the traineeship your trainee plan will be set out, in consultation with your AMOLF supervisor.

Contact info

Dr. Said R. K. Rodriguez
Group leader Interacting Photons
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the AMOLF website.
Please annex your:
–  Resume;
–  Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).
Applications without this motivation will not be taken into account. However, with this motivation your application will receive our full attention.