09/04/2018

Master Student

Thermal shielding of macroscopic quantum experiments in space.

Testing the relationship between quantum and classical physics and, in particular, quantum decoherence in space was identified by the European Space Agency (ESA) as an area of interest for future space missions in the course of ESA's call for New Science Ideas. ESA is currently performing a detailed engineering study at its Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) to investigate the possible design and the required core technologies and challenges for potentially realizing a “quantum physics platform” (QPPF) in space. Thermal shielding of macroscopic quantum experiments in space 

Testing the relationship between quantum and classical physics and, in particular, quantum decoherence in space was identified by the European Space Agency (ESA) as an area of interest for future space missions in the course of ESA's call for New Science Ideas. ESA is currently performing a detailed engineering study at its Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) to investigate the possible design and the required core technologies and challenges for potentially realizing a “quantum physics platform” (QPPF) in space.

The QPPF study has identified the requirement to achieve sufficiently low temperatures and extreme vacuum levels as the key design drivers. The lead scientist of this study, Rainer Kaltenbaek, has been granted funds by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) to perform detailed thermal analyses of approaches to passively and/or actively cool the payload of such a science mission.

Within this research project, we are looking for a master student to perform thermal analysis using the finite-element simulation software COMSOL. The study will at first concentrate on implementing a geometrical model of the payload and to use this as the basis for consolidating the payload design for passive radiative cooling by using a series of thermal shields. As a next step, the model shall be extended to include active cooling. In addition, we shall attempt to estimate the vacuum levels achievable by direct outgassing to space and discuss the potential for future ground-based tests of the proposed design.

We are looking for a highly motivated student with an affinity to computer simulations and an interest in tackling engineering challenges. Harnessing quantum technology in space is a rapidly developing field with an actively developing international community. The student will have the opportunity to interact with leading scientists locally as well as internationally.

The position is to be filled as soon as possible. Applications by female students are actively encouraged. Given comparable qualifications, female candidates will be given preference.

Interested parties please send an email with your application to Rainer Kaltenbaek.