PhD position in Astronomical Instrumentation – Astrophotonics

Job Summary

Pre-doctoral / Graduate Positions
Universität zu Köln
Institute of Physics
Number of Positions Available
3 Years
Work Arrangement
In-Person Location(s)



Milano MI

Job Description

Applications are invited for a doctoral student under the supervision of Prof. Lucas Labadie at the Institute for Astrophysics of the University of Cologne (Germany).

The project: The proposed position is linked to the field of astrophotonics, a synergetic partnership between astronomy and photonics to enable groundbreaking instrumentation for modern telescopes and interferometric arrays (e.g., ELT, VLTI). The project is offered in the context of the project NAIR (“Novel Astronomical Instrumentation through photonic Reformatting”) between the University of Cologne, the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam and the Durham University. NAIR aims at enabling significant progress in the on-sky deployment of innovative photonic-based solutions, leveraging the technology transfer from manufacturing platform to astronomical instrumentation. These technologies will be integrated in future astronomical instruments at observatories such as the CHARA array in the US, or the VLTI array in Chile, giving the student unique opportunities to access the most advanced astronomy facilities worldwide.

The role: The doctoral student is primarily based at the Institute for Astrophysics. He will pursue an experimental project to develop discrete beam combiners (DBCs) for astronomical interferometry. The DBCs will be manufactured at the Politecnico di Milano/CNR in the group of Prof. Osellame, bringing the student in close contact with state-of-the-art photonic manufacturing platforms. She/He will lead the research and development phase using the astrophotonics lab at the University of Cologne and at the AIP/Potsdam. Finally, the DBCs will be integrated to the testbed CHARIOT a CHARA and tested on astronomical sources. In parallel, they will be qualified in the framework of the instrument suite ASGARD at the VLTI. The candidate will also contribute the development of 3D-printed micro-dispersers directly integrated on to the chip surface.

The candidate: The applicant should have a Master of Science (MSc) in physics, engineering or related discipline. She/He should be motivated by the fields of research associated with astronomical instrumentation, optics, photonics and lab demonstrators. A first experience with the technique of ultrafast laser writing is an asset. The working language is English.

Compensation and Benefits


Application Details

Application Instructions
The position is for 3 years starting at earliest convenience. The salary is based on the (60%-65%) E13 scale of German civil service. Applicants should send to [email protected] a single PDF including a CV, educational titles and transcripts and a brief statement of research interests. They must arrange the email addresses of two referees that can be contacted directly. Further inquiries can be made at the same address. The deadline for submission is 15.05.2024, with the review of applications starting immediately following reception. Late applications will be considered until position is filled. The University of Cologne is an equal opportunity employer in accordance with German laws. Women, minorities and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
Publication Start Date
2024 Apr 04
Application Deadline
2024 May 15


Prof. Dr. Lucas Labadie