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Research Van Swinderen Institute

5 PhD student positions in detector R&D for future fast-timing detectors

16 December 2022
Nikhef, the national institute for subatomic physics in The Netherlands, is looking for

5 PhD candidates in detector R&D for particle physics (ATLAS, ALICE, LHCb )

The Nikhef organization
Nikhef is the national institute for subatomic physics in The Netherlands. At Nikhef, approximately 175 physicists and 75 technical staff members work together in an open and international scientific environment. Together, they perform theoretical and experimental research in the fields of particle and astroparticle physics. The Nikhef institute is a collaboration between six major Dutch universities and the Dutch Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Nikhef participates in large research collaborations, including the ATLAS, LHCb and ALICE experiments at CERN, the KM3NeT neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean, the VIRGO interferometer in Pisa, the Xenon1T dark matter experiment in Gran Sasso, the Pierre Auger cosmic ray observatory in Argentina and the eEDM research programme in Groningen. Nikhef also hosts a group in theoretical physics, and groups for Physics Data Processing and detector R&D, excellent electronic- and mechanical engineering groups, all with good connections to the experimental programs.

The positions offered here are part of an NWO-funded research program “FASTER - Fast sensors and Algorithms for Space-time Tracking and Event Reconstruction”, which will comprise 7 PhD positions and 3 postdoc positions in the period 2023-2028, all focused on research of fast-timing tracking systems for the ALICE, ATLAS and LHCb and future experiments. Fast-timing tracking detectors, consisting of billions of pixels, will precisely measure the time at which particles pass our detectors. Use of this information will enable the experiments to cope with the fierce environment of the high luminosity LHC where they will see unprecedented hit rates and levels of radiation. The consortium members bring together expertise on sensor technologies, detector hardware and advanced pattern-recognition algorithms.

In the FASTER program, we will research and develop novel fast-timing sensors, develop methods and algorithms to calibrate the time measurement at picosecond level. Also we will research pattern recognition algorithms that make use of the time measurements to execute more efficiently and on heterogeneous computing architectures such as GPUs.

The positions

We are looking for up to 5 PhD candidates for the study of fast-timing detectors. Some candidates will focus on studies of fast-timing sensors while others focus on the detector readout. Research on the sensor will involve detailed characterisation studies of sensor designs (such as MAPS, LGAD and 3D) using in-house lab facilities such as laser setups and testbeam data. Research on the readout of fast-timing detectors include studying the timing performance, calibration and time-correction algorithms that are vital for the detector operation. The research is for future detectors but also connected to the current LHC experiments. You will be embedded in the ALICE, ATLAS, LHCb or the R&D group at the Nikhef institute, depending on the position.

What do we require?

We are looking for PhD candidates with an (almost) completed Master degree in high-energy physics, applied physics or in a closely related field. The ideal candidate has a strong interest in instrumentation, has good software skills (C++, Python, ROOT) and preferably has (some) research experience in experimental particle physics or detector R&D.


The candidate will be employed by either the NWO-I-foundation or the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and will obtain the status of junior scientist. Depending on the position, you will be based in Amsterdam or Groningen. Frequent travel to other collaboration institutes may be required. She/he will receive a 4-year contract with a competitive salary. The conditions of employment are excellent, and can be found on the website of the employers: respectively NWO-I and UvA. Apart from this, non-Dutch applicants may be eligible for the so called ’30% tax ruling’, which results in a net income advantage.

The educational program of the Dutch research school for subatomic physics offers annual graduate schools for PhD candidates, as well as frequent series of lectures on advanced topics in (astro)particle physics.

Information and Application
Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply by clicking the 'apply now' button below. Please be prepared to upload a curriculum vitae and a motivation letter, and provide the email address of two referees who are willing to send a letter of recommendation on your behalf.

The deadline for applications is Jan 16th, 2023.

For further information on these openings, feel free to contact dr. Hella Snoek via

All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.

More information on:

Last modified:21 June 2023 1.33 p.m.

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