Steven Hoekstra


Van Swinderen Institute

University of Groningen

Zernikelaan 25, 9747 AA, Groningen

Student research projects

At the moment we focus our activity on two fronts: 1) a measurement of the electron’s electric dipole moment using a gas of cold molecules, and 2) the use of optically levitated nanoparticles as very sensitive sensors. In addition to these two topics, there is also currently a project to accurately characterise arrays of nanopores using optical diffraction, in collaboration with a company that innovates dairy conservation methods. For our projects we typically work in teams consisting of one or two PhD students, master students and bachelor students. 

The topic of the master projects is directly related to ongoing research, and I always aim to match the nature of the project to the interests of the student. Therefore, instead of mentioning specifics of projects here, I would encourage you to get in touch, so we can talk and see what research topic would fit you best. Then we can make sure that you learn a lot from your research project! We can typically tune the amount of theory, computer simulations and hands-on lab work. All projects have in common that you become an integral part of the research group, joining us in meetings, social activities, paper discussion, etc. In your research project you will learn the skills it takes to function well in such an environment. 

To give you some specific ideas of possible topics, you can find titles of recently completed research projects in our group listed below.  If you want to know more, get in touch through email.
  • 2021
    • Exploring shortcuts to adiabaticity in levitated nanospheres - Carlos Alarcon Robledo (Msc)
    • Optical manipulation of Stark-decelerated molecules - Joost van Hofslot (Msc)
    • Optimizing an electrostatic guide - Gerben Hijlkema (Bsc)
    • Dynamics of nanospheres in modulated potentials - Manal Alsairafi (Bsc)
    • Transverse lasercooling of a beam of molecules - Oisin Moyne (Bsc)
    • Limits of lasercooling of BaF molecules - Miriam Catalon Merino (Bsc)
    • Simulating dynamics of nanospheres in modulated potentials - Nithesh Balasubramanian (Honours project)
  • 2020
    • Theoretical and experimental investigations of improved eEDM measurements - Koen Ohlsen (Msc) (with Anastasia Borschevsky)
    • Reaching low frequencies in nanoparticle trapping experiments - Laura Tidmarsh (Bsc)
    • Modulation of the trapping potential created by optical tweezers - Lara Skrabal (Bsc)
    • Electrostatic hexapole and quadrupole for guiding slow BaF molecules -Thijs Niemeijer (Bsc)
    • Stability of simulating decelerating cold particles in a Stark decelerator - Luuk Wester (Bsc math and physics) (with Alef Sterk)
    • An analytical analysis of traveling-wave Stark deceleration - Bart Schellenberg (Bsc)
    • Deceleration to standstill of SrF molecules - Robin Bredemus (Bsc)
    • Design and test of optics for the electron's electric dipole moment experiments - Celine Lemaire (Erasmus visiting student)
    • An engineering help to electron EDM searching experiments - Guillaume Esnouf (Erasmus visiting student)
  • 2019
    • Production of a cryogenic beam and prospects for traveling-wave deceleration of BaOH - Kees Steinebach (Msc)
    • Reassembling a traveling-wave Stark decelerator and testing its performance - Hidde Makaske (Msc)
    • Barry: a scalable data acquisition system for future eEDM measurements - Mark Buisman (Msc)
    • Optical levitation and cooling of silica nanospheres - Lucas van Sloten (Bsc)
    • Feedback cooling of levitated nanospheres - Kyriakos Pellidis (Bsc)
    • Allignment and assembly of a traveling-wave Stark decelerator - Mairead O'Shea Scanlan (Bsc)
    • Optical pumping of BaF - Attie Hendriks (Honours college project)
  • 2018
    • Time-resolved fluorescence signals of barium monofluoride - Sander Vermeulen (Msc) (with Lorenz Willmann)
    • Slow molecular beams from a cryogenic buffer gas source - Rutger Hof (Msc)
    • Final steps towards narrow-line cooling of YO - Marit Fiechter (Bsc) (international, at Univ. Colora with Jun Ye)
    • Engineering challenges with cold molecules Thya Messaouden (Erasmus visiting student)
    • Optical levitation of silica nanoparticles - Joost van Hofslot (Bsc)
    • The limits of mass probing of supersymmetric particles by the electrons EDM and the LHC - Koen Ohlsen (Bsc) (with Rob Timmermans)
    • The influence of magnetic fields in a traveling-wave decelerator on stability - Bas Schoonbeek (Bsc)
    • Stability in driven potential in Stark decelerators - Carlos Alarcon Robledo (Bsc)