Departement Physik


We currently have opportunities for

Post-Doctoral Fellow / Graduate Student Position

Post-doc Candidates should have a Ph. D. in experimental physics or similar and need a strong background in some of the following areas: mesoscopic physics and experiments, device nanofabrication, cryogenic experiments, low noise electronic measurements, molecular electronics, experiment control and data acquisition. German language proficiency is not necessary. The candidate is expected to work together with and help advise students.

Ph. D. Candidates need to hold a masters (or equivalent) degree, preferably in physics or nanosciences. Some prior experience in (experimental) physics would be helpful. German language proficiency is not necessary. Graduate students are expected to work together with postdoctoral fellows as well as graduate and undergraduate students.

Both graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in our Department are required to assume teaching assistant responsibilities during the semester (half a day to one day per week effort).

The Department of Physics in Basel offers a highly stimulating environment with active and internationally recognized research groups in both experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics.
To apply, please email a curriculum vitae, publications and/or a thesis as well as names and contact info of referees to Christian. A description of interests and skills would be helpful.

PhD-fellowship on Phononics in Nanowires

A fellowship for an experimental PhD thesis work is now available at the Departement of physics of the University of Basel funded by the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI).

With this PhD project we address phononics in nanodevices, a new field with great prospects for applications relating to sound and heat. While there is excellent control over electromagnetic degrees of freedom in nanodevices, the control of phonon transport is in its infancy. We propose a new scheme with which phonon transport in nanowires (NWs) can be studied with high spectroscopic resolution. This is done by using quantum dots (QDs) as phonon emitters and detectors. Double QDs will be embedded into a semiconducting NW, made e.g. from InAs. Inelastic transport through states in the DQDs can be used to both emit and detect phonons, see schematics in the figure below. This can be done energy resolved, allowing to characterize the energy-dependent phonon transmission in the NW between emitter and detector. Once established, a periodic axial material modulation can be realized during NW growth, allowing to tune the phonon bandstructure. A challenging milestone would be the demonstration and engineering of phononic band-gaps.

The described project is a collaborative effort between the group of Prof. Ilaria Zardo (Nanophononics group) and Prof. Christian Schönenberger (Nanoelectronics group). For further information on the activities of the group, see https://nanophononics.physik.unibas.ch/ and https://nanoelectronics.unibas.ch/

(a) An InAs NW device with bottom gates (yellow) and three contacts (red & blue) illustrating our capability to fabricate NW devices with gate-controlled quantum dots. The bottom gates are insulated by a thin Si-nitride layer. (b) Schematic illustration of the phonon emission and (c) phonon detection using two coupled quantum dots (QDs) each. (d) Sketch of the envisaged NW device where both a phonon emitter (left) and detector (right) are implemented on a single NW.


We look for a highly motivated student (preferably a physicist) who is keen to explore fundamental aspects of quantum devices. You will design and fabricate your own devices using state-of-the-art micro- and nanofabrication technologies.The nanowires will be grown by a collaborator, but you will be involved in the future designs and characterizations not limited to electrical measurements. Electric measurements, on which you will focus on, will be done down to millikelvin temperatures and include DC to up to 6 GHz radio-frequency techniques based on modern cryogenic circuitry (for example rf-resonators) and cold amplifiers.

All PhD fellows are expected to work in a team and collaborate with other PhD and postdoctoral fellows, as well as bachelor and master students joining the lab part of their time. Start of the project: January 2017. Duration 3-4 years. Requirement: you need to have a profound understanding of quantum and solid state physics as it is taught in a physics curriculum.

To apply, please email a short curriculum vitae including names and contact info of referees and scanned copies of grades. Please add a short statement (few lines only) on your motivation and your education / background in quantum physics and solid-state physics.

Email both to: Ilaria.Zardo@unibas.ch Christian.Schoenenberger-at-unibas.ch.

This project is funded by the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI). If selected, you will become a member of the SNI PhD schools. Further information can be found under www.nanoscience.ch.

Master thesis project in Graphene Spintronics

Nowadays, hundreds of billions of gigabyte of information is stored all around the world and the fundamental unit of storages is the electron spin as an elementary ‘nanomagnet’. The concept behind spintronics is to extend the role of electron spin towards information processing and achieve all spin based architectures. Novel low dimensional nanostructures hold a great promise to serve as a material platform for spintronic devices. Graphene is the perfect candidate for spintronics, due to its high mobility, low spin-orbit coupling and to the small or absent hyperfine fields.

Spin information can be transported by spin currents or spin polarized currents. One common way to inject and detect these currents is to use ferromagnetic electrodes (e.g. Co). For efficient spin injection tunnel barriers between the ferromagnetic electrodes and graphene are needed. Promising candidates for tunnel barriers are other two dimensional materials like hexagonal boron nitride which has the same crystal lattice as graphene. There are a lso alternative ways for spin injection and detection e.g. by using spin-pumping or spin-Seebeck effect. To manipulate the spin by electric fields, spin-orbit interaction in graphene has to be enhanced, e.g. by using a layered material with huge spin-orbit coupling as a substrate.

During the master thesis the candidate will learn how to fabricate state of the art nanoelectronic devices and get insight into room temperature as well as low temperature measurement methods.

Graphene spintronics Masters project


We are looking for someone who has a high interest in condensed matter physics/quantum physics, likes to work in the laboratory and likes team-work. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us (Simon Zihlmann, Office 1.25, simon.zihlmann-at-unibas.ch, Peter Makk, Office 1.15, peter.makk-at-unibas.ch). Applications should be sent to Prof. C. Schönenberger (Christian.Schoenenberger-at-unibas.ch).