PostDoc position in Gravitational Wave Physics

PostDoc position in Gravitational Wave Physics

Published Deadline Location
9 Nov 19 Jan Amsterdam

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Job description

PostDoc position in Gravitational Wave Physics (simulation/experiment)  
Nikhef invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher position on optical simulations of gravitational-wave detectors, for a fixed term of two years, under the joint supervision of Prof. Dr. Andreas Freise and Dr. Sebastian Steinlechner.

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, we deliver hardware for the Virgo detector and provide research and technology development towards future detectors such as the Einstein Telescope. 
In this project, we will pursue the challenging task of simulating AdvancedVirgo’s optical behaviour during the O4 observation run, and prepare easy-to-access models anticipating the transition to the next phase of the AdvancedVirgo hardware upgrade. For this task we are looking for a hands-on PostDoc in the interferometer simulation team.
The position
We expect the following activities to be part of this role:
●      you will create and maintain full-interferometer optical simulations of AdvancedVirgo using the software Finesse 3,
●      you will interact with Virgo commissioners to adjust existing models to match observed behaviour,
●      you will travel to the Virgo detector to learn about detector operations and create simulations that are matched to the needs of commissioners,
●      you will anticipate and prepare simulation needs of the next Advanced Virgo upgrade,
●      you will support documentation and teaching activities surrounding Finesse 3, supporting new users, and
●      you will work directly with the colleagues of the Nikhef Gravitational Waves team in Amsterdam and Maastricht.




A PhD in Physics or Engineering, excellent analysis skills, and an analytical mind-set are all required. You must also have good communication skills, including written English language proficiency. You must be capable of independent research that can integrate with the needs of a large research team. A collaborative attitude is strongly desired. Very good programming skills and demonstrated experience with modelling complex interferometers (ideally in the gravitational wave context) are required.

Conditions of employment

Nikhef is a unique and inspiring place to work. The selected candidate will be employed by the NWO-I Foundation. A two-year contract is offered. The remuneration is between € 4.000 and € 5.141 based on full-time employment and depending on your education and seniority. Furthermore, NWO-I offers a fixed 13th month and more than 8 weeks of paid holiday leave per year. The terms of employment of the NWO-I Foundation are excellent and can be found at:

Questions and application
Interested candidates can send in their applications by clicking the 'Apply now' button below. Please be prepared to upload a cv, a cover letter and the names and email addresses of at least two references who are willing to upload a reference letter on your behalf.  Deadline for applications is 19/01/2024. We may contact good candidates before this deadline.
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact Andreas Freise,, or Sebastian Steinlechner,
About Nikhef
At Nikhef, approximately 195 physicists and 85 technical staff members work together in an open and international scientific environment. Together, they perform theoretical and experimental research in the fields of particle and astroparticle physics. The Nikhef institute is a collaboration between six major Dutch universities and the Dutch Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO). 
Nikhef participates in large research collaborations, such as at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and in experiments in the research fields of gravitational waves, cosmic rays and astroparticle physics. Knowledge and technology transfer to third parties, i.e. industry, society and the general public, is an integral part of Nikhef’s mission.


  • Postdoc
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • 1216617


Science Park 105, 1098 XG, Amsterdam

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