Casimir PhD positions 2019 awarded to Damian Bouwmeester and Stefano Polla


After finishing their Casimir Pre-PhD track, Damian Bouwmeester and Stefano Polla will start a PhD project that they have composed themselves, the so called Casimir PhD positions. Three weeks ago, they have successfully defended their proposal before a jury of three PIs from our research school. We are very happy to add these talented young researchers to our research school soon. The Casimir Board wishes them all the best with their projects. In the below, Damian and Stefano briefly introduce themselves.    

Damian Bouwmeester received his Bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics at Delft university of technology and is currently finalizing his Master’s studies in Applied Physics at Delft university of technology. For his PhD studies Damian will join the group of Herre van der Zant in Delft, where he will study magnetic order in modified atomically precise graphene nanoribbons made by bottom-up synthesis in FET devices with superconducting contacts. He is strongly interested in studying the interplay between superconductivity and spiral magnetic order, which could lead to topological superconductivity with Majorana end states in these graphene nanoribbons. 


Stefano Polla wrote his thesis about algorithmic state preparation in quantum computers, under the supervision of Thomas O'Brien. Stefano did his BSc in Milan, and graduated with a thesis in quantum optics and information, results of experimental work he did at INO in Florence (M Bellini) in collaboration with the AQM group in Milan (M Paris). In Leiden, besides taking courses with a mix of theoretical and experimental orientation, Stefano worked on quantum dot single photon sources and cluster state production in the Loeffler group.


About the Casimir PhD positions
The Casimir PhD positions are funded through the NWO-Gravitation program ‘NanoFront.’ Casimir PhD positions are awarded to outstanding students of the Casimir Pre-PhD track. Between 2011 and 2018, the following eighteen alumni of the track received a Casimir PhD position:

  1. Tim Baart (now researcher at Shell),
  2. Julia Cramer (now postdoc in science commmunication at Leiden University and communications officer at QuTech),
  3. Chris Smiet (now postdoc at Princeton),
  4. Jelmer Wagenaar (now lecturer Physics at Leiden University and physics teacher at Stedelijk Gymnasium Leiden),
  5. Henk Snijders (now postdoc at Leiden University),
  6. Misha Klein,
  7. Tom van der Reep,
  8. Marios Kounalakis,
  9. Guoji Zheng,
  10. Joeri de Bruijckere,
  11. Michiel Bakker (Michiel decided to accept a PhD position at MIT instead),
  12. Eduardo Pavinato Olimpio (due to personal circumstances, Eduardo did not finish his PhD project),
  13. Remko Fermin,
  14. Jingkun Guo,
  15. Tobias de Jong,
  16. Hans Bartling,
  17. Tjerk Benschop, and
  18. Joris Carmiggelt.

The Casimir Pre-PhD track focuses on preparing MSc students for a PhD position, either at Leiden, Delft or elsewhere. You can read more about the Casimir Pre-PhD track here.