Postdoc: Stochastic thermodynamics of an optical bit

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According to Landauer, information is physical. And erasing one bit of information costs at least kT ln(2) of energy. This fundamental limit to the energy efficiency of irreversible classical computing has been verified many times, but only in systems where energy and information are stored in matter. In this project, you will measure the minimum energy required for bit erasure in systems where energy and information are stored in light. Such optical systems have recently emerged as promising platforms for energy efficient computing. However, fundamental limits to information processing in such systems are largely unknown. To gain insight into this problem, you will perform experiments with a laser-driven nonlinear optical cavity working as a bit.  You will set and reset (i.e, erase) this bit by varying the laser power and/or the cavity length. Your main goal is to quantify and reach the fundamental limits to the energy efficiency, speed, and accuracy of resetting an optical bit. Moreover, you will develop methods to increase the optical nonlinearity of the system, so that quantum effects emerge and the bit becomes a qubit. Your ultimate goal is assess whether and how quantum effects modify fundamental limits to classical bit erasure. 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 both emergent phenomena and functionalities of optical systems. Most of our group members enjoy both experiment and theory. We strongly value an inclusive and diverse environment. We regularly interact with colleagues from very different fields and backgrounds in AMOLF and beyond. For experiments, we use nano- and micron-scale systems where light and matter interact strongly. Such systems, embedded in world-wide unique experimental setups, will also be available for your project.  You will have extensive support from the group leader, other group members, and the technical staff (software, electronics, mechanics, etc.) at AMOLF.


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

You have a PhD in physics or a closely related field. Ideally, you have:
- A background in optics/nanophotonics or stochastic thermodynamics
- An affinity for experiments
- An ability to work in a small team, and to supervise younger students
- Enthusiasm for exploring “boundaries between fields”
- Interest in statistical physics, nonlinear optics, thermodynamics, and quantum

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

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.


Postdoc: Stochastic thermodynamics of an optical bit
Science Park 104 Amsterdam, Niederlande
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