A number of undergraduate research projects will be offered within Atomic & Laser Physics, as described below. Students working on these projects will be paid the Oxford Living Wage (from April 2023 £11.35 per hour) and subject to tax and National Insurance deductions). The projects may vary in duration and in the number of hours required per week.


Undergraduate research projects are available to (i) current undergraduates; and (ii) students on taught Masters courses. Preference is likely to be given to candidates who are not due to start a PhD programme in 2023.

Applications are very welcome from students of universities and institutes outside Oxford.

Please note that we are only able to accept applications from candidates who do not require a visa to work in the UK. For the avoidance of doubt, EU students currently studying in the UK who have applied for Pre-Settled status are welcome to apply along with current students in the UK on a Tier 4 visa that allows vacation employment.

How to apply

To apply for these projects please email a single PDF document to alpadmin@physics.ox.ac.uk

This document should contain the following:

  1. a statement (of fewer than 500 words) explaining why you want to do a project, describing the previous experience, and stating the research topics or projects you are interested in 
  2. a one-page CV
  3. names of two referees who may be approached for reference letters

Candidates are advised to submit their applications by the advised closing date. Applications received after this date may be considered, but candidates should be aware that projects may already have been allocated.

Projects offered:

Trapped ion quantum computing

Supervisor(s): Gabriel Araneda, Mario Gely, Joe Goodwin, Fabian Pokorny, Raghavendra Srinivas
Project Duration (weeks): 6-10
Closing Date: 12 noon Monday 27 March 2023

Our group explores quantum computing with trapped ions, where we can store and manipulate information in charged atoms. We work on new techniques for manipulating and entangling these ions with lasers or microwaves. We can not only entangle ions in the same traps, but ions in separate ones as well to create elementary quantum networks. We welcome any student eager to get their hands dirty with experimental work; a summer project in our lab will involve some combination of optics and lasers, vacuum systems, electronics, and programming for experimental control and data analysis. More theory-based projects are also possible. 


Assessing symbolic regression algorithms

Supervisor: Gianluca Gregori
Project Duration (weeks): 6-10
Closing Date: 12 noon Monday 27 March 2023

Symbolic regression is a new machine learning application that allows retrieving the latent representation of data in a symbolic form. Currently, there are different approaches to symbolic regressions - either applying genetic algorithms, reinforcement learning or a combination of them. However, it remains unclear which of these is able to best perform and produce expressions that have minimal complexity. The student will be involved in deploying some of these algorithms and testing their performance over simple problems.

Requirements: Previous experience with Python/Matlab and familiarity with Unix/Linux is desirable.


Ultracold atom laboratory

Supervisor: Robert Smith
Project Duration (weeks): 5-10

Closing Date: Friday 31 March 2023

The project will be based in our ultracold atom laboratory in which we cool erbium and potassium atoms down to nK temperatures to study of many-body quantum phenomena. The details of the project you will be working on will depend on progress in the lab and will be finalised later but could involve design and construction of optical setups for cooling and trapping ultracold atoms, generation of custom magnetic fields for manipulation of atomic properties or numerical simulation of ultracold atom clouds.