Interferometric exoplanet imaging

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Monday, March 15, 2021
Archive Date: 
Monday, April 12, 2021
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
KU Leuven
Department Name: 
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Street Line 1: 
Celestijnenlaan 200D bus 2401
Flemish Brabant
Job Announcement Text: 

The characterization and understanding of terrestrial exoplanets is currently one of the most ambitious and challenging long-term goals of astrophysics. All observing techniques with the potential to tackle this challenge face the same limitations: the overwhelmingly dominant flux of the host star and/or the lack of angular resolution. A very promising technical solution around these issues is nulling interferometry, which combines the advantages of stellar interferometry (high angular resolution) and coronagraphy (starlight rejection). With SCIFY (Self-Calibrated Interferometry For exoplanet spectroscopy), we aim at building Hi-5, a thermal near-infrared (3.8 microns) high-contrast nulling interferometric instrument for the visitor focus of the VLTI. We also contribute to the ongoing major VLTI facility upgrade within the GRAVITY+ collaboration. By pushing VLTI high-contrast capabilities to smaller inner working angles, it will be possible to carry out several unique exoplanet programs to study young Jupiter-like exoplanets at the most relevant angular separations (i.e., close to the snow line), better understand how planets form and evolve, and characterize exozodiacal dust disks. 

Through the H2020 Opticon-Radionet Pilot program, the KU Leuven Institute of Astronomy is advertising a postdoc position to support the integration of Hi-5 with both the ASGARD visitor instrument suite and with the VLTI. (S)he will also support the Belgian VLTI expertise center activities. The ASGARD Suite is a collection of three visitor instruments bringing novel scientific capabilities to VLTI, including high-sensitivity multi-band (H+K), low-RMS fringe tracking (Heimdallr), high-spectral resolution in YJ-band (BIFROST), and L-band high-contrast imaging (Hi-5/VIKING). Two instruments, BIFROST and Hi-5, are fully funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and currently under development. The selected candidate will join the SCIFY team (currently 2 PhDs, 2 postdocs, 1 engineer) under the supervision of Prof. Denis Defrère and will work as part of an international network of collaborators. 

More information on the PhD position can be found here 

Included Benefits: 

The selected Postdoc will be offered a postdoctoral scholarship of one year, with the possibility to extend it for two more years after positive evaluation. The salary will be commensurate to the standard scale for postdoc researchers in Belgium and will depend on the number of years of experience after PhD. The candidate must be in mobility conditions, i.e. not engaged in a principal activity (work, studies, etc) in Belgium for more than 24 months counting from three years prior to the starting date of the postdoctoral scholarship. The foreseen starting date shall be between October 1st, 2021 and January 1st, 2022 but can be negotiated. 

Application Deadline: 
Monday, April 12, 2021
Selection Deadline: 
Friday, April 30, 2021
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Attention To: 
Denis Defrère
Institution/Company Job ID or Reference Code: 
KU Leuven
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Denis Defrère
SCIFY postdoc position