PhD position: Cold Ion-Molecule Hybrid Systems

A PhD position is available in the group of Prof. Stefan Willitsch, University of Basel, Switzerland ( The project aims at investigating ion-neutral interactions, collisions and chemical reactions in the millikelvin temperature regime using new experimental methods for the the combined trapping of cold neutral molecules with cold molecular ions. 

Project description

Enabled by the recent development of experimental techniques for the simultaneous trapping of translationally cold ions and atoms, the study of interactions between these species at temperatures down to the millikelvin range has emerged as a new scientific field at the interface between chemistry and physics over the past few years. These ”hybrid” systems of cold ions and atoms have formed the basis of exciting new avenues of research for investigating interactions between these species at extremely low energies, for engineering new types of quantum systems and for exploring collisional and chemical processes in a new physical regime. The present project will employ a newly developed experiment which for the first time allows the simultaneous trapping of cold neutral molecules and cold molecular ions which substantially enhances the scientific scope of hybrid trapping experiments. It combines techniques established in the domains of quantum optics and atomic and molecular physics in a new fashion in order to investigate problems of molecular and chemical dynamics.

The present project aims at studying cold collisions in a range of prototypical and fundamental ion-molecule hybrid systems. It will utilise new experimental techniques for studies of the collisional and chemical dynamics of ionic processes which enable a precise level of control over collision parameters such as collision energies and molecular quantum states. We thus expect that the project will provide new insights into fundamental principles of molecular energy transfer, chemical reactivity and cold collision dynamics.

Further information and applications

For further information and recent publications on the topic, please contact or refer to the website of the group at

Candidates should have (or soon obtain) a masters degree in atomic/molecular/chemical physics, physical chemistry or a related field. Inquiries and applications should be sent to and include a curriculum vitae, transcripts of degree certificates and grades, a letter of motivation and the contact details of at least two referees.