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Deadline: 2021-03-12
Location: Hannover, Germany

Five PhD student positions in the field of Laser Interferometry, Hannover, Germany

In the Collaborative Research Center 1464 TerraQ (“Relativistic and quantum-based geodesy” ), the Laser Interferometry in Space division of the Institute for Gravitational Physics invites applications for 5 positions of a Research Assistant (PhD Position, m/f/d) in the field of physics (Salary Scale 13 TV-L, 75 %) starting as soon as possible. The positions are initially limited to 3 years.

Responsibilities and duties
The successful candidates will be responsible for the independent work on one of the following research projects:

B01 New Measurement Concepts with Laser Interferometers: Study of novel laser-interferometric instrument concepts for gravimetric satellite missions based on inter-satellite laser ranging, identification and trade-off of design options aiming on enhancing the dynamic range (satellite pointing and relative velocity), modelling and analysis of optical accelerometers with regard to sensing of the baseline angular velocity in order to obtain an additional gravity information, contribution to development of novel satellite mission concepts.

B03 Optical Design Methods for Low-Noise Interferometers: Enhance current beam profiling methods, in order to improve the wavefront modelling for the received light at a remote spacecraft. Investigate in optical simulations, how a beam’s mode content affects the interferometric readout signals, and how the readout signals can be optimized. This project is thereby focused on computer simulations aspects for precision interferometry with space application.

B04 Advancing Inter-Spacecraft laser interferometry: Building on the successful GRACE Follow-On mission, in this project optical configurations for the next generation of satellite-based Earth gravity missions are designed, analyzed, built as prototypes and tested. This includes experimental optics, data analysis and electronics.

B05 Compact Multichannel Optical Test Mass Sensing: Research and development of novel optical readout methods based on deep frequency interferometry for inertial sensing and optical accelerometers applications. This project deals with experimental optics and data analysis. The successful candidate will join our group pursuing the technology development towards a next generation of compact instruments as envisaged for future gravity space projects.

B06 Optical Control of a Torsion Balance as a Low-Noise Test Platform: Development of laser interferometry to readout and control a torsion pendulum with the goal of testing and characterizing novel accelerometers and inertial sensors for future gravity field missions. The focus of this project, which will be carried out in close collaboration with B05, is on optics, mechanics, electronics, digital signal processing, and numerical simulations.

Employment conditions
To qualify for the position, applicants must hold a scientific university degree (Master, Diploma, or equivalent) in one the following fields: physics, aerospace engineering, mathematics, informatics or a related field. In addition, very good knowledge in mathematics, programming, simulations, optics and geodesy (some of which are project dependent) is expected. We require very good written and spoken English, organisational skills, initiative and the ability and willingness to familiarise oneself with new areas of work.

What we offer
The DFG Collaborative Research Centre CRC 1464 “TerraQ – relativistic and quantum-based geodesy” is characterised by its unique interdisciplinarity of quantum physics and geodesy. TerraQ aims to advance quantum-based measurement concepts for monitoring mass changes from space and on ground, combined with the corresponding data analysis and modelling, in order to provide sophisticated tools that significantly enhance our knowledge on the involved change processes in the system Earth.
The Institute for Gravitational Physics (IGP) of the Leibniz University Hannover is part of TerraQ. The IGP cooperates closely with the Max-Planck-Institute for Gravitational Physics, also known as Albert-Einstein-Institute (AEI). For further information on the institute and its activities, please refer to:

We offer PhD students research challenges at the highest level, project responsibility and a top-class international network. With our integrated graduate school, we offer a wide range of further education opportunities in our interdisciplinary research field and soft skills to prepare for a successful career.

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