PhD position in Experimental Gravitational-Wave Detection

Research / Academic

We have a vacancy for a PhD position at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam to develop instrumentation for gravitational wave observatories.

At the heart of the Virgo and LIGO gravitational-wave detectors there are laser interferometers that measure distances with unprecedented sensitivity. While the basic operating principles are simple, they are very complex instruments. Our group develops the main interferometer simulation software used within the community and builds new hardware for shielding the ‘test masses’ from external vibrations. We have just begun preparing the detailed design of the Einstein Telescope (ET), a proposed new gravitational wave observatory in Europe. ET will be capable of delivering new and fascinating science over several decades, but its realisation will required substantial improvements to the most sensitive instruments every built.

This position is with Dr Conor Mow-Lowry, as part of the ERC Consolidator-Grant project OmniSens, and it focusses on research and development of ultra-sensitive vibration isolation systems.
Your dutiesThe aim of this project is to apply laser interferometers to vibration isolation, allowing us to provide unprecedented performance improvements and extend the astrophysical reach of gravitational-wave observatories. Several big questions in astronomy can be answered observing the coalescence of heavy black holes deep in the universe. Unfortunately the gravitational-wave signals they create are at low frequencies, between 2 and 20 Hz, and they sit behind a wall of noise. Our new laser-interferometers provide a way to cancel this noise through a combination of novel design and extreme sensitivity. We will work to develop new instruments and techniques for the Virgo detector and design and build new hardware for ET.

The PhD position is affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and the successful candidates will be fully embedded in the gravitational-wave group at Nikhef in Science Park.

Work Hours:

40 hours per week


De Boelelaan 1105