JPL Postdoctoral Positions in the areas of compact clocks and atom interferometers

Job Details

Job ID: 12608

JPL is unique among NASA Centers in that its staff are Caltech employees, yet can access NASA technical resources.  Cross-discipline teamwork is standard here: colleagues across JPL's science and engineering organizations and on Caltech's academic campus often work together. Learning to speak and understand other disciplines' languages is a doorway to the creativity needed to do what has not been done before.  JPL staff are encouraged to create mission concepts that address humanity's core questions through a combination of science and technology.  They are supported in developing ideas into proposals and hardware, and in communicating funded missions' results to the scientific community and the broader public. JPL seeks to employ scientists and engineers who are passionate about lifelong learning and excited to both contribute to and lead team efforts.  We emphasize the importance of partnering across discipline boundaries and creating a friendly, constructive work environment to overcome space exploration's challenges.  The Postdoctoral scholars at JPL benefit from an informal mentoring network, an annual conference showcasing their results, a dedicated seminar series, exposure to diverse career paths, and social connections across the JPL and Caltech community for advice on housing, childcare and other aspects of living in southern California.


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) invites applications for multiple open postdoctoral research positions in the Quantum Sciences and Technology Group (QSTG). Developing new and enabling atomic quantum sensors and clocks, and applying them to precision measurements and fundamental are the primary focus of our research efforts. Research activities range from basic concept study, proof-of-principle demonstration, to instrument prototype development. Major areas of interest include a) Atomic frequency standards and clocks, b) Atom interferometry and quantum sensors, c) Laser and quantum communication and links, and d) Precision measurements and fundamental physics experiments in space. Currently we are looking for one or more highly motivated and capable postdoctoral researchers in the projects of i) Miniature Space Optical Clock based on singly trapped Yb+ ions (mSOC), ii) Micro Mercury Trapped Ion Clock (M2TIC) and ii) Atom ultra-low frequency seismometer (ALS) based on atom interferometer approaches.

The successful candidate(s) will have the opportunities join and participate in one or more existing research projects. In mSOC, M2TIC and ALS, the candidates will join the existing research and development teams for the instrument design study, all aspects of experimental investigation and implementation, and experiments and analyses, as well as exploration of science applications of the instruments. The candidates are also encouraged to participate and contribute to other relevant activities in the group as opportunities and interests arise. The candidate will have the technical group supervisor, Dr. Nan Yu, as the advisor, and work closely with other staff members and postdocs, and be a part of the active group.


The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor, resulting in publications in the open literature. 


Candidates should have a recent PhD in Physics, Electric Engineering, Optics, or related physical science discipline with a strong background in relevant fields of atomic, molecular, optical, and quantum physics. Prior experiences and demonstrated experimental research abilities in ultra-cold atoms, Bose Einstein condensate, laser cooling and ion trapping, and atom interferometer and clocks research and instrument development are of great value. Background in precision measurements and fundamental physics are also desired. U.S.-person candidates are preferred for the M2TIC project. Candidates with their PhD within the past five years since the date of their application are eligible. Postdoctoral Scholar positions are awarded for a minimum of one-year period and may be renewed up to a maximum of three years.

Inquiries should be directed to Dr. Yu. Applicants, please send a letter describing your research interests, a curriculum vitae, a list of three references (with telephone numbers, postal and email address) and arrange the reference letters to be sent to:


Name: Dr. Nan Yu
Address: JPL, MS 298 / 4800 Oak Grove Dr. / Pasadena CA 91109-8099
Telephone: 818-354-4093
Fax: (818) 393-6773


Applicants may be subject to additional program requirements by NASA. Postdoctoral Scholar positions are awarded for a minimum of one-year period and may be renewed up to a maximum of three years. Candidates should submit the following to this site: CV, representative publications, contact information for three references, and a cover letter stating their research accomplishments and interests.

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JPL is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, pregnancy or perceived pregnancy, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, protected military or veteran status or any other characteristic or condition protected by Federal, state or local law.

In addition, JPL is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federal facility. Due to rules imposed by NASA, JPL will not accept applications from citizens of designated countries or those born in a designated country unless they are Legal Permanent Residents of the U.S or have other protected status under 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). The Designated Countries List is available here.