Postdoc: Stochastic thermodynamics of information processing with light

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What is the minimum energy required to switch or erase an optical bit in finite time? And does the energy requirement change if the bit is quantum instead of classical?  Answering these questions, which are vital to information processing with optical systems, is the goal of this project.

 Optical systems have recently emerged as promising platforms for energy efficient computing. However, fundamental limits to their information processing are largely unknown. In this project, you will address this problem by experimentally quantifying energy costs for two of the most fundamental operations, namely switching and erasing an optical bit. The system you will experiment with is a state-of-the-art tunable micro-cavity in a closed-cycle cryostat. You will control the switching/erasing process by varying the laser power and/or the cavity length. Beyond quantifying energy costs, you will seek to understand fundamental trade-offs between energy efficiency, speed, and accuracy in optical operations. You will also develop methods to increase the optical nonlinearity of the system, in order to reach the quantum regime. After succeeding in this, you will assess whether and how quantum effects can modify any of the results you previously obtained. Your main focus will be on experiments, but you will closely collaborate with Christopher Jarzynski and a PhD student in his group at the University of Maryland. Together, you will develop a stochastic thermodynamic framework for optical systems across the semiclassical to quantum transition.

About the group

In the Interacting Photons group we search for new physics emerging from photon-photon interactions and noise in optical resonators.  We are fascinated by emergent phenomena and novel functionalities of optical systems. Most of our group members enjoy both experiment and theory. We value an inclusive and diverse environment. We regularly interact with colleagues from very different fields and backgrounds in AMOLF and beyond. You will have extensive support from the group leader, other group members, and technical staff (software, electronics, mechanics, etc.) at AMOLF.  And you will have access to state-of-the-art experimental systems that will uniquely enable you to reach the goals of this project.


You need to meet the requirements for a doctors-degree and must have research experience in a non-Dutch academic environment.

Ideally, you have a PhD degree in physics or a closely related field, and you:
- Have experimental background in optics/nanophotonics, stochastic thermodynamics, or a closely related field;
- Enjoy working in a small team, and supervising students;
- Are interested in statistical physics, nonlinear optics, thermodynamics, and quantum;
- Are enthusiastic about exploring “boundaries between fields”.

The group strongly values diversity, and researchers from all backgrounds are invited to apply.

Terms of employment

The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of 2.5 years, with a salary in scale 10 (CAO-OI) and a range of employment benefits. AMOLF assists any new foreign Postdoc with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

Prof.dr. Rodriguez
Group leader Interacting Photons
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please send your:
–  Resume;
–  Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).
It is important to us to know why you want to join our team. This means that we will only consider your application if it entails your motivation letter.

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and as soon as an excellent match is made, the position will be filled.

Online screening may be part of the selection.

AMOLF is highly committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment. Hence, we greatly encourage candidates from any personal background and perspective to apply.

Commercial activities in response to this ad are not appreciated.

Job details

Postdoc: Stochastic thermodynamics of information processing with light
Science Park 104 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Application deadline
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AMOLF carries out fundamental physics with an open eye for applications. The researchers work closely with universities, institutes, and companies.

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