Ultra-sensitive Far-IR Bolometers

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Astrophysics/Space Science
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Program (Postdoc)


JPL is unique among NASA Centers in that its staff are Caltech employees, yet can access NASA technical resources.  Cross-discipline teamwork is standard here: colleagues across JPL's science and engineering organizations and on Caltech's academic campus often work together. Learning to speak and understand other disciplines' languages is a doorway to the creativity needed to do what has not been done before.  JPL staff are encouraged to create mission concepts that address humanity's core questions through a combination of science and technology.  They are supported in developing ideas into proposals and hardware, and in communicating funded missions' results to the scientific community and the broader public. JPL seeks to employ scientists and engineers who are passionate about lifelong learning and excited to both contribute to and lead team efforts.  We emphasize the importance of partnering across discipline boundaries and creating a friendly, constructive work environment to overcome space exploration's challenges.  The Postdoctoral scholars at JPL benefit from an informal mentoring network, an annual conference showcasing their results, a dedicated seminar series, exposure to diverse career paths, and social connections across the JPL and Caltech community for advice on housing, childcare and other aspects of living in southern California.


We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to lead the demonstration of the world's most sensitive far-IR detectors. We are building transition-edge sensor (TES) arrays with per-pixel noise equivalent power of 10^-19 W/sqrt(Hz) in the JPL micro devices lab (MDL) in preparation for space-borne astrophysics missions including SPICA and the Origins Space Telescope. We are characterizing the prototype TES arrays electrically and optically in our dilution-cooled test facility using a frequency-domain multiplexing readout. The postdoc will work closely with our dynamic group of scientists, technologists and engineers in Pasadena, as well as our collaborators at SRON, Holland. Key people in the JPL detector group include Drs. Matt Kenyon, Pierre Echternach, and Roger O'Brient. For qualified and interested candidates, opportunities also exist for collaboration on ongoing and proposed ground-based and balloon-borne instruments targeting the early Universe. Experiments include SuperSpec (a millimeter-wave spectrometer on a chip slated for the large millimeter telescope targeting individual high-redshift galaxies ), TIME (a mm-wave tomographic intensity mapper targeting ionized carbon fro the Reionzation epoch), and TIM ((formerly STARFIRE), a proposed balloon-borne far-IR imaging spectrometer targeting the history of star formation when the Universe was half its current age).  Dr. Matt Bradford will serve as the postdoctoral advisor. The appointee will carry out research in collaboration with the JPL advisor and others, resulting in publications in the open literature.


Candidates should have a recent PhD in Physics or a closely related field with a demonstrated aptitude in experimental aspects of superconductivity, low-noise detectors, background-limited instrumentation, and/or low-noise electronics. Willingness to travel internationally is expected. Candidates who have received their PhD within the past five years since the date of their application are eligible. Postdoctoral Scholar positions are awarded for a minimum of one-year period and may be renewed up to a maximum duration of three years.

Candidates should submit the following to this site: CV, representative publications, contact information for three references, and a cover letter stating their research accomplishments and interests.


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