The Astronomy Instrumentation Group (AIG) at Cardiff University is seeking applications for a new postdoctoral research associate in experimental cosmology. This position forms a central part of a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship to develop and demonstrate novel superconducting detector technology and measurement techniques for line intensity mapping (LIM) at millimetre and sub-millimetre wavelengths (mm-LIM).
LIM is an emerging observational technique that can provide a new probe of large- scale structure (LSS) throughout the history of the Universe. LIM uses low angular resolution, spectroscopic observations of atomic or molecular emission lines to trace the large-scale fluctuations in the matter distribution. Knowledge of the rest-frame wavelength uniquely maps the spectral direction to redshift, leading to a rich astrophysical dataset that can be used to map the 3D distribution of LSS out to high-redshift.
The goal of this project is to establish mm-LIM as an independent probe of astrophysics and cosmology using large-format arrays of thin-film superconducting spectrometers. As the successful candidate, you will have the opportunity to engage with all aspects of the design, fabrication, testing, integration, and deployment of the first generation of ground-based instruments optimised for mm-LIM. Prior experience in these areas would be desirable, but not a requirement.
Working closely with PI Dr Pete Barry, you will join the SPT-SLIM collaboration, an international effort to construct a mm-LIM camera for the South Pole Telescope that is scheduled for its first deployment in Autumn/Winter 2023. You’ll also become a member of the MUSCAT collaboration, a bilateral partnership between UK and Mexican institutions to coordinate one of the primary receivers at the 50-m Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico. Through these major projects, you’ll have access to a range of opportunities to undertake lead roles in the technical design, manufacture, characterisation, and deployment of novel spectroscopic focal plane technology, all the way through to the development of the data analysis pipelines and final science data products.
As a member of the AIG, you will be supported by an internationally recognised group, made up of academic faculty, pre- and post-doctoral researchers, and technical staff, with a rich heritage in the field of mm and sub-mm instrumentation. Having made significant contributions to many high-profile ground, balloon, and space-based experiments over the past 25 years, the primary strategic direction of AIG is the development of the instrumentation needed for current and future cosmology experiments. In addition to development of mm-LIM, the AIG is a key partner in several complementary world-leading cosmic microwave background (CMB) experiments, including the South Pole Telescope, the Simons Observatory, CMB-S4, and the LiteBIRD satellite mission. You will also be strongly encouraged to engage with the Astronomy Group, taking advantage of the recently formed Cardiff Hub for Astrophysics Research and Technology (CHART) that provides a prosperous environment that promotes multi-disciplinary interactions between astronomers, cosmologists, and instrument builders.
Continual professional development of group members is extremely important to us, and we are looking for candidates that enjoy learning new skills and techniques, both from colleagues within the group and through formal training pathways. In addition to the established mentoring and supervisory support provided by the AIG, to help you further your research career, the position comes with a £5,000 personal development budget that you can use for training, conferences, and supplemental research activities that are not part of the core project.
Please read the job description and person specification carefully. To ensure that you demonstrate how you meet all the essential criteria in your Supporting Statement, you can use the criteria as headings to guide your application. Similarly, show how you meet as many of the desirable criteria as you can. It is unlikely that any one candidate will be able to cover all the desirable criteria as this is the position is inherently interdisciplinary. Please do not be put off if you can only meet a few of them, as you will have the opportunity to learn additional skills as part of the position.
The position is fully funded for three and a half years, with an intended start date of April 1st, 2023. The start date is negotiable, if necessary, and will be mutually agreed upon after an offer is made.