University of Santiago de Compostela, IGFAE - Galician Institute of High Energy Physics

Position ID:University of Santiago de Compostela-IGFAE - Galician Institute of High Energy Physics-IGNITE_DUNE [#15777]
Position Title: Development of next-generation high pressure TPCs with optical readout
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Santiago de Compostela, Galicia 15782, Spain [map]
Subject Area: Physics / HEP-Experiment (hep-ex)
Appl Deadline:2020/01/20 11:59PMhelp popup finished (2019/12/19, finished 2020/07/26, listed until 2020/06/19)
Position Description:    

*** this position has been closed and new applications are no longer being accepted. ***

The Galician Institute of High Energy Physics (Instituto Galego de Física de Altas Enerxías, IGFAE) is a joint research center of University of Santiago de Compostela and Xunta de Galicia (the Galician Autonomous Government), that it was officially created on July 2, 1999. It is a Spanish Excellence Research Center, member of the SOMMa, the league of Severo Ochoa Centers and María de Maeztu Units to promote Spanish Excellence in research and to enhance its social impact at national and international levels. The Institute performs frontier research in High Energy Particle Physics, Nuclear Physics, Astroparticle Physics and related areas, both theoretical and experimental.

One of the research programs of IGFAE relates to Dark Matter and the Nature of the neutrinos. The Institute is involved in the detector construction, operation and physics analysis of the NEXT experiment (conceived to determine the neutrino mass scale). In a broader context, it develops technology for next-generation optical time projections chambers, targeting nuclear and WIMP-based dark matter experiments, neutrino physics, as well as applied research. This position is supported by the IGNITE initiative of IGFAE, focused centrally on technological developments aimed at the introduction of a fluorescence-based To-scheme for the High Pressure Near Detector of DUNE.

Subject description

The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is a next-generation neutrino oscillation experiment with its headquarters sitting at Fermilab, in the US. Designed, as customary, with a suite of Near and Far Detectors, it is conceived as the ultimate neutrino oscillation experiment, with ability to extract the CP-phase of the neutrino-mixing matrix and determine the neutrino-mass hierarchy. Its huge Far Detector (40kton) is a neutrino observatory by itself, with a parallel program in astrophysical and solar neutrinos, and beyond standard model (BSM) processes like the measurement of the proton decay. Its Near Detector (ND), sitting close to the neutrino beam, needs to provide a neutrino flux estimate with an accuracy close to 1%, and has a parallel program in precision neutrino physics and BSM. One of the detector elements of this detector suite is a high-pressure argon time projection chamber (TPC), placed inside a magnetic field. This TPC, that forcefully needs to rely on avalanche multiplication, aims at developing an unprecedented technological feat in this readout configuration: the determination of the interaction time of the event. Enabling a self-triggering capability, with a T0 obtained through gas fluorescence, will be deeply transformational: besides natural applications outside the scope of this project, it would allow i) immunity with respect to uncorrelated backgrounds, ii) fiducialization of the event, iii) improved vertex assignment for neutral-current interactions, and even, although much more challenging, iv) providing Particle ID for elastic scatterings with nuclei.

This postdoctoral project will be focused on the experimental study and technical demonstration of the possibility of obtaining primary scintillation in an avalanche-mode TPC, potentially allowing self-triggering capability, for the first time. The postdoc researcher will work in a strong international collaboration, headquartered at Fermilab, with participation from the Universities of Texas Arlington, Univ. Valencia, Univ. Coimbra and Univ. Aveiro. Partners are members of the NEXT collaboration as well, therefore synergies in particular with this experiment but also with other Optical TPC applications, will be naturally explored during the development of the project.

Job duties

The postdoctoral researcher will work on different experimental approaches devoted to finding a scintillating gas compatible with good avalanche multiplication in a TPC, for which scintillation in the UV, visible and IR ranges will be explored. He or she will have at his/her disposal the new facilities deployed at the recently refurbished gaseous detector lab of IGFAE, focused on the study of the scintillation in gaseous detectors, for pressures up to 10 atm. The lab allows VUV-IR wideband photo-spectroscopy, with high control on the gas purity, that are essential assets for the project. Complementary to the project is the modeling of the scintillation process, for which use will be made (when necessary) of the simulation packages Garfield++ (secondary scintillation) and Degrad (primary scintillation), together with an additional software package developed at the Institute, that will need to be adapted to the cases under study, and that allows in particular to include transfer reactions between excited species. The main aim of this project is to elaborate a solid technical proposal by 2020-2021, that could be included in the upcoming Technical Design Report of the DUNE ND-collaboration.

The postdoctoral researcher will integrate him or herself in the research activities currently ongoing within the group and the Institute, in particular NEXT and other related OTPC projects. She will be assigned at least one PhD student and one technician will be at her disposal. Managerial as well as leading roles are expected, within the already established consortium.


  • PhD in Particle Physics.
  • Previous postdoctoral experience in the development of gaseous detectors for particle physics.
  • Previous postdoctoral experience in the field of rare event searches: neutrino, dark matter physics, rare nuclear physics reactions…
  • Good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Availability for travelling.
Special attention is paid to the following:
  • Ability to work both independently and within a team, and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  • Written and oral communication skills.

Terms of employment

This is a 2 year position with the earliest starting date in March 2020, subject to hiring conditions according to the University of Santiago de Compostela bylaws.

For administrative reasons, this pre-selection made through Academic Jobs Online will be followed by a selection through the application system of the University of Santiago de Compostela.

The position will remain open until filled, however, to ensure full consideration applications must be received by 20 January 2020.

IGFAE is an equal opportunity employer. IGFAE is committed to increasing the diversity of its personnel and particularly welcomes applications from qualified women, minorities and persons with disabilities.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following items online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the position description.

Further Info:
Instituto Galego de Fisica de Altas Enerxias (IGFAE)
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela
E-15782 Santiago de Compostela

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