Post-doctoral research opportunity in Low-Temperature Detectors

The x-ray microcalorimeter group at the X-ray Astrophysics Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has two immediate openings for postdoctoral research associates to support a multifaceted research program developing and implementing arrays of microcalorimeters. These sensors will enable high-resolution, high-throughput, non-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, which will be instrumental in studying how ordinary matter assembles into the large-scale structures we see today, how the elements are produced and recycled, and how black holes grow and shape the Universe. The primary technology effort at present is the development of large arrays (thousands of pixels) of superconducting transition-edge sensors (TES) with better than 2.5 eV resolution at energies up to 7 keV and rates up to 10 counts/s/pixel. We are also expanding the capability of these devices by optimizing the pixel design for other energy ranges and higher rates. We are involved in a variety of projects requiring different pixel sizes and array geometries. Essentially we are developing specialized x-ray cameras sensitive to tens of thousands of x-ray colors. This technology is being developed principally for space applications (both orbital and sub-orbital), but we also apply these sensors to a vigorous program in laboratory astrophysics using an electron-beam ion trap to simulate astrophysical plasmas. In addition to the research focussed on specific instruments, we are engaged in more fundamental characterization and manipulation of the mesoscopic properties of the superconducting transition with the goal to enhance the capabilities of future instruments. We have multiple cryogenic facilities that can cool to below 50 mK and access to state-of-the-art processing facilities for device fabrication.

Candidates should have experience in low-temperature experimental techniques and the operation of cryogenic apparatus. Prior experience with low-temperature detectors and SQUIDs and SQUID electronics is highly desirable. Initial term would be for one year, with likely renewal. There are several programs available for hiring post-doctoral researchers at Goddard (e.g the NASA Postdoctoral Program and the Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology), with the choice depending on an applicant’s schedule and experience level. 

Candidates should contact Caroline Kilbourne at for more information.


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