Postdoctoral Fellowship: Atomistic modeling of amorphous films with exceptionally low mechanical loss

The two four km long Advanced LIGO interferometers in the U.S., the most sensitive gravitational wave detectors in the world, have registered the signals of more than 50 black hole and neutron star mergers. The detection sensitivity is fundamentally limited by the rate at which mechanical vibrations are damped in the highly reflective coatings on fused silica mirrors. The next generation of detectors, including Voyager, Cosmic Explorer, and the Einstein Telescope, require a significant improvement in mechanical loss in the most sensitive (10-1000 Hz) frequency range. Low mechanical loss materials are also urgently needed in many other nanoscale applications, for instance in optomechanical resonators and in quantum information components.

To address this challenge, the LIGO group and the The Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (SBQMI) at the University of British Columbia are building an integrated design framework to discover new materials with exceptionally low mechanical loss. In support of this effort, we seek a computational scientist with experience in atomistic simulations of condensed matter systems. The successful candidate will join an interdisciplinary team of (astro-)physicists and solid state chemists, and help setting up a closed feedback loop between materials modeling, synthesis, and experimental characterization. The postdoctoral fellow will focus on identifying and characterizing sources of internal friction (two level systems) in amorphous metal oxide films that have been identified as promising candidate materials. Of particular importance will be improving on existing modeling strategies by implementing advanced sampling and emergent machine learning methods. 

A PhD in Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science or a related discipline is required. Good oral and written communication skills and the ability to work on a team project are essential. Prior experience with atomistic simulation techniques (DFT, molecular dynamics, etc.) is desired.

Interested candidates can contact Prof. Joerg Rottler (jrottler at for further details, and should send:

  • a brief cover letter,
  • summary of research interests (1 page),
  • CV with list of publications,
  • diversity statement, and
  • the names of three potential referees (preferably in one pdf file) to the same address.

We will consider applications until the position is filled.



Reference Number

Please mention reference number GPS-55115 in all your correspondence about this Postdoctoral Fellow position.

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