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M.D. (Damian) Audley, MSc

Research Experience

Instrument Scientist for SAFARI  (SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research)


SAFARI, a far infrared imaging spectrometer, will be the prime instrument on board the SPICA infrared observatory satellite.  I have built up and optimized the SAFARI Detector Optical Test Facility, a world-leading ultra-low noise optical testbed which will be used to characterize the SAFARI focal plane assembly at millikelvin temperatures. I have defined and am performing characterisation measurements of the electrical and optical properties of the SAFARI detector arrays.  I have carried out detailed analysis and modelling of these measurements and am contributing to the development of the space-qualified detector arrays and their readout system.


Instrument Scientist for CLOVER ( Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge)


CLOVER was an experiment to measure the B-mode polarization of the Cosmic Microwave Background with the aim of detecting primordial gravitational waves.  I took the lead in developing, testing, and optimising superconducting microstrip-coupled transition edge sensor (TES) detectors for CLOVER, including the design and commissioning of a millikelvin cryo-cooler test facility, which I used for characterising the electrical and optical properties of the detector arrays.  I planned and coordinated all of the technical work at Cambridge on the CLOVER detectors, detector mounting, and readout.  I provided the technical and management interface to the CLOVER project as a whole, reporting on technical progress, and controlling interfaces between the detector modules and the rest of the instrument.  Working closely with collaborators at NIST and UBC, I adapted the SCUBA-2 room-temperature electronics for use with CLOVER and characterised and optimised the multiplexed SQUID readout.  I was responsible for delivering the fully-tested detector modules with readout, magnetic shielding, and wiring to the CLOVER instrument.


Instrument Scientist for SCUBA-2 (UKATC, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh)


SCUBA-2 is a highly successful large-format submillimeter camera using TES bolometers operating on the James Clerk Maxwell telescope in Hawaii.  I defined and led the SCUBA-2 sub-array test program and the cryostat integration and test program and ensured that the instrument design complied with the functional and performance requirements.  I created an end-to-end model of the responsivity and noise properties of the detector system as well as a dynamic thermal model to validate the cryostat thermal design.  I used finite-element electromagnetic modelling to design the absorbers on the SCUBA-2 detectors and to design and validate the cryostat magnetic shielding.  I developed a millikelvin chip holder for large-format detector arrays and built and ran a liquid helium dip-probe test facility for SQUID multiplexers.  I identified and evaluated new detector technologies for submillimeter and infrared astronomy and started and led a project to develop a multi-channel readout for kinetic inductance detector arrays.  Continuing my astronomical research, I investigated the dust-scattered X-ray haloes of X-ray binaries using observations with XMM-Newton.


JSPS Research Fellow (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan)


The X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS) was a 32-element array of X-ray microcalorimeters for the Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite ASTRO-E.  I participated in calibration and functional testing of the XRS instrument all the way from its delivery to ISAS through integration into the satellite to launch.  This involved intensive calibration campaigns at ISAS and Sumitomo Heavy Industries, and a month of spacecraft checkout and pre-launch activities at Kagoshima Space Center.  Meanwhile I continued my astronomical research, studying the dust-scattered X-ray haloes of X-ray binaries using observations with ASCA.  I also participated in the development of Mo/Au TES microcalorimeters for X-ray astronomy at ISAS.


Research Associate (Astronomy Department, University of Maryland, College Park)


I worked as calibration scientist for XRS in the X-ray Astrophysics Branch at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center where I participated in planning, execution, and analysis of the XRS ground calibration.  This included construction and operation of ground calibration facilities with radioactive and electron-impact X-ray sources; crystal and grating X-ray monochromators; and imaging CCD X-ray detectors, followed by an intensive calibration campaign.  I helped to plan the in-flight calibration program and created and distributed calibration products for guest observers.  I also calibrated the XRS optical blocking filters by measuring their X-ray transmission spectra and characterised the quantum efficiency and energy resolution of the detectors.


Graduate Research Assistant  (Astronomy Department, University of Maryland, College Park) 1991—1997

I carried out my dissertation research in the X-ray Astrophysics Branch at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center where I developed magnetic-penetration-thermometer microcalorimeters for X-ray astronomy and studied accretion processes in high-mass X-ray binaries with EXOSAT, BBXRT, ASCA, and RXTE.


M.Sc. Candidate (Experimental Physics Department, University College, Cork, Ireland) 1987—1989

I carried out extreme-ultraviolet absorption spectroscopy of laser-produced plasmas and ab-initio atomic structure calculations to study the inner subshell structure of transition-row elements.


Teaching Experience

Graduate Teaching Assistant (Physics Department, Univ. of Maryland, College Park) 1989—1990

I taught undergraduate physics recitations and laboratories and graded homework and exams.

Demonstrator (Experimental Physics Department, University College, Cork)  1985—1989

I supervised undergraduate laboratories and graded homework and practical exams.



Ph.D. in Physics

      University of Maryland, College Park 1997

A Broad-Band Spectral and Timing Study of the X-Ray Binary System Centaurus X-3

Advisors: Prof. Elihu A. Boldt and Dr. Richard L. Kelley

M.S. in Physics

      University of Maryland, College Park 1994

M.Sc. in Experimental Physics

                          University College, Cork 1989

The Photoabsorption Spectra of Strontium and Yttrium in the Extreme Ultraviolet

Supervisor: Prof. M. W. D. Mansfield

B.Sc. (First class hons) in Experimental Physics                              University College, Cork 1987


Honours and Awards

MPE Senior Fellowship (declined)                   Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik 2001

Outstanding Teamwork Award — XRS Team                                                          NASA/GSFC 2000

Postdoctoral Fellowship                               Japan Society for the Promotion of Science 1999—2001

Ralph D. Meyers Award for Graduate Studies                                          University of Maryland 1990

Senior Studentship                                                                       University College, Cork 1987—1989

Gaeltacht Scholarship                                                        University College, Cork 1987, 1988, 1989

Title of College Scholar                                                               University College, Cork 1987—1988

College Scholarship                                                                    University College, Cork 1984—1985

Entrance Scholarship                                                                  University College, Cork 1983—1984



£13,000 for Multichannel readout for KIDs                                                    (UK ATC New Initiatives 2004)

¥1,350,000 for Test of X-ray detectors on board ASTRO-E and research of X-ray binaries

(Grant-in-Aid for JSPS Fellows 1999, 2000)

$20,000 for A Study of Cyclotron Scattering Resonance Features in the Spectra of Cen X-3 and LMC X-4                                                                                                           (RXTE AO-1 1996)

$10,000 for A Spectroscopic Survey of the Iron and Pulsed X-Ray Emission from Cen X-3

(ASCA AO-3 1995)


Scientific Committees

Chandra Cycle 2 Peer Review Panel

ASTRO-E Science Working Group

 Professional Societies

International Astronomical Union

American Astronomical Society

Royal Astronomical Society

Institute of Physics



  • Project management and systems engineering.
  • Design, integration, testing, and calibration of cryogenic detector systems for astronomy.
  • Extensive experience with cryogenic techniques at millikelvin temperatures, including ADR, DR, sorption coolers, and cryocoolers.
  • Superconducting electronics (SQUIDs), and multiplexed SQUID readout techniques.
  • Programming for automated acquisition and analysis of large datasets using Fortran, C, Perl, shell-script, Mathcad, MATLAB, Excel, Mathematica, Labview, and IDL.
  • Finite-element modelling with Comsol Multiphysics, Sonnet, and HFSS.
  • Optical design with Zemax.


Other Information

Founding Treasurer (1986) and Auditor (1987) of Physics Society at University College, Cork.

Passed Japanese Language Proficiency Test, Level 3.

Dutch courses to CEFR level C1.


Last modified:25 June 2022 4.55 p.m.