Precision magnetometry and the neutron electric dipole moment project at PSI

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


February 14, 2022


Precision magnetometry and the neutron electric dipole moment project at


(ref. BAP-2022-15)

Last modification : Friday, January 14, 2022

At the "Instituut voor Kern- en Stralingsfysica" (Inst. for Nuclear and Radiation Physics), Department of Physics and Astronomy, a postdoc position (Leuven-based) is open for research on precision Cs-based magnetometry and active involvement in the neutron electric dipole moment project at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), in Villigen, Switzerland. The experimental nuclear physics research program at the "Instituut voor Kern- en Stralingsfysica" focuses on the study of the fundamental interactions at play in the atomic nucleus. The research in the weak interaction group has an international track record in precision measurements at the border between nuclear and particle physics to gain in-depth understanding of the properties of the weak interaction. The team investigates the symmetries and detailed structure of the weak interaction at low energies, using neutron and nuclear beta decay as well as ultracold neutrons.

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The project you will join is embedded in the international nEDM collaboration of about 15 institutes searching for the electric dipole moment (EDM) of the neutron at the ultracold neutron facility of the Paul Scherrer Institute. Neutron EDM experiments have a long history and experimental sensitivity has over the years increased by about six orders of magnitude. The most precise result to date has been obtained by our nEDM collaboration and was published in (https: //

Based on the expertise gained during the first-phase, a new and much improved apparatus is currently being installed and tested, with data taking starting in 2023. With this effort an improvement of another factor of 5 to10 in sensitivity is aimed at. Apart from improving statistics, improved control and stability of the magnetic field in the neutron precession chamber are key aspects of this new project. The KU Leuven team is focusing on the latter. For this we are investigating the detailed operational characteristics of cesium- based magnetometers with a sensitivity at the 100 femtoTesla level.

You will be involved in the research related to improving the operational characteristics of these Cs-magnetometers, as well as in the further development and optimization of a system using them to stabilize an electric current source at the 10-9 level. This requires frequent changes of parameters and subsequent characterization in order to find the best operation mode. The system will be a key component of the n2EDM experiment that is now being installed at the PSI.

You will be responsible for the day-to-day organization and coordination of the magnetometry work in our team, the coordination of our team's collaboration with foreign colleagues working on cesium-based magnetometry, the installation and testing at the PSI of the equipment developed here in Leuven, participation in beam times for n2EDM data-taking at the PSI, and the guidance of master students and PhD students. The position thus requires frequent short and long-term stays at the Paul Scherrer Institute,as well as participation in collaboration meetings and international conferences and workshops.


We are searching for somebody with a PhD in physics, ideally with a nuclear or atomic physics background, an interest in and basic knowledge of the symmetries and properties of the weak interaction, and good organizational qualities. Research experience with magnetometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, or ultracold neutron research, and good computational skills, are an important advantage.


The contract will be for one year and can be extended to a second year and possibly a third year. The starting date aimed at is April 1st, 2022


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Nathal Severijns, tel.: +32 16 32 72 65, mail:

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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