Postdoctoral position in Mathematical Physics, Sheffield, UK

More info:  external link
Deadline:  2023-07-26

Location:  Sheffield, UK

Research Associate in Mathematical Physics (University of Sheffield, UK).

Duration: 12 months.
Salary: Grade 7, GBP 36,333 pa.
Job application link:    Job reference: UOS037707

Closing date: 26th July 2023.

This postdoctoral position arises from a recently awarded STFC grant “Penrose processes in an analogue black hole formed in hybrid light-matter (polariton) superfluid” in Sheffield. The researcher will work in the Cosmology and Relativity group with Dr Sam Dolan (School of Mathematics and Statistics) on topics in analogue gravity, and they will provide theoretical modelling for the experimental group led by Prof Dmitry Krizhanovskii (Department of Physics and Astronomy).

The aim of the project is to recreate a Penrose-like process in a laboratory quantum system, by using exciton-polaritons in semiconductor photonic structures based on III-V semiconductors. The condensation and superfluidity of polaritons generates a large draining vortex in a superfluid, emulating the “flow” of space-time into a black hole. The experimental team aim to image the trajectories of excitations (e.g. vortices) in this flow. The theory team, to include the postdoctoral researcher, will seek to describe the motion and dynamics of excitations using tools originally developed in General Relativity, as well as through simulations of the polariton fluid. The overall success of the project hinges, first, on establishing a robust theoretical map between trajectories in the laboratory system and the worldlines of particles or strings in an effective spacetime; and, second, on showing that excitations can extract energy from the system in a way analogous to the Penrose process in the context of black holes. The contribution of the postdoctoral researcher will be essential in meeting these goals.

Overall, the project addresses fundamental physics questions with state-of-the art semiconductor quantum technologies developed in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the National Epitaxy Facility at the University of Sheffield: it relates general relativity to hydrodynamics and physics of macroscopically ordered light-matter states in solids, and it opens up new avenues in the study of quantum phenomena and gravity effects on the microscale.

The successful applicant will have a PhD or equivalent experience relevant to mathematical modelling and physics. Experience of solving ordinary and partial differential equations with exact, approximation and numerical methods is essential. A background in general relativity, analogue gravity and/or modelling of quantum fluids will be highly advantageous. You must display outstanding motivation, enthusiasm and commitment to undertake research in a fast-moving, interdisciplinary and international field. You will be expected to have excellent collaboration and communication skills, and to be able to work to a high standard both independently and as part of a team, while meeting project deadlines.