LION PI Tjerk Oosterkamp receives 2.5M Euro NWO Investment Grant


Tjerk Oosterkamp is awarded an Investment Grant NWO Large of 2.5 million euro to build a machine that offers an environment with ultra-high vacuum and very low temperatures, only one thousandth of a degree above absolute zero. This will provide many research groups with the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research under unprecedented conditions. The facility will be unique in the world and its future place in the low-vibration lab at the new Leiden science campus gives it even larger capabilities.

On the level of the quantum world at room temperature, particles swarm and vibrate wildly. Physicists learn about this miniature world by very precisely studying a small sample plate containing ‘entangled’ particles. Surely they are unhappy with the chaotic situation at room temperature that quickly destroys the very fragile entwined state that they want their particles to be in. Just imagine gluing a broken pot back together in a hurricane. And without a proper vacuum, the sample plate will get contaminated immediately by unwanted atoms on the sample surface. So add a dust storm to the hurricane scenario.

Quantum physicists need extremely low temperatures and an ultra-high vacuum to perform their research. Only then, their sample will stay clean and its particles stay entangled. Oosterkamp’s new machine will offer exactly that when it’s in function, in just over a year from now.