California Institute of Technology, Physics, Mathematics & Astronomy Division

Position ID:Caltech-PMA-PBAC [#25246]
Position Title: Postbaccalaureate Researcher Position on SuperCDMS SNOLAB and KID-based dark matter detectors
Position Type:Other
Position Location:Pasadena, California 91125, United States [map] sort by distance
Subject Area: Astronomy / Theoretical Physics / Astrophysics, Cosmology, Gravitational waves, Particle physics (theoretical and experimental) Physics / Astroparticle Physis, Astrophysics (astro-ph), Astrophysics Theory, Cosmology, Dark Matter, Elementary Particle Physics, Elementa
Appl Deadline: (posted 2023/08/02, listed until 2024/02/02)
Position Description:    

We are seeking to hire a post-baccalaureate researcher to participate in SuperCDMS SNOLAB and/or our effort to develop phonon-mediated dark matter detectors using kinetic inductance detectors.  Areas of work in the group include:
  • Commissioning, operations, and science analyses for SuperCDMS SNOLAB.  Our group anticipates playing a significant role in the following areas:
    • Early science with the SuperCDMS SNOLAB detectors in the CUTE facility at SNOLAB
    • Commissioning of the SuperCDMS SNOLAB cryostat
    • Detector commissioning for SuperCDMS SNOLAB
    • Science run operations and analysis, with a focus on profile-likelihood techniques for background subtraction for the SuperCDMS HV detectors
  • Development of phonon-mediated dark matter detectors using kinetic inductance detectors (KIDs) and quantum capacitance detectors (QCDs).  In these detectors, phonons created by a particle interaction or drifting electron-hole pairs in a crystalline substrate are sensed using KIDs and/or QCDs, which offer excellent radio-frequency multiplexability and, eventually, sensitivity to production of single phonons.  We are developing two architectures: a gram-scale format intended to achieve the lowest possible thresholds for sub-GeV nucleon-scattering dark matter and sub-MeV electron-scattering dark matter; and a 25-gram-scale format that will use drift phonon production to discriminate nuclear from electron recoils down to the production of single electron-hole pairs in order to reach the neutrino fog in the 0.5-5 GeV mass range.
For more details, see arXiv:2203.08463, doi:10.1007/s10909-022-02753-5, doi:10.1007/s10909-022-02764-2, and doi:10.1146/annurev-nucl-102020-112133.

Post-baccalaureate applicants should have:
  • completed or be close to completing an undergraduate degree in astronomy, physics, applied physics, electrical engineering, materials science, or any other field relevant to the above work;
  • experience in some (but not necessarily all) of the following areas: mechanical design using CAD software, electronics design, python coding, data analysis, sub-Kelvin cryogenics, sub-Kelvin cryogenic detectors, and/or superconducting qubit design/testing;
  • and, the ability to work independently, set priorities, and seek technical input from diverse sources.
The position is for a term of 1 year with the possibility of one-year reappointments assuming satisfactory performance and availability of funding.  Applicants should submit a CV, publications list, and a statement of research interests and arrange for 3 letters of reference to be submitted.  Inquiries about the position may be directed to Sunil Golwala (golwala@caltech.edu) and/or Karthik Ramanathan (karthikr@caltech.edu).  Applications received by January 30, 2024 will receive full consideration, but review of the applications will continue until the position is filled.  The successful applicant may start at any mutually agreeable date in 2024.


As one of the largest employers in Pasadena, CA, Caltech is committed to providing comprehensive benefits to eligible employees and their eligible dependents. Our benefits package includes competitive compensation, health, dental, and vision insurance, retirement savings plans, generous paid time off, parental leave, tuition reimbursement, and more. Learn more about our benefits and who is eligible.



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