Instrumentation Postdoctoral Position

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Friday, January 31, 2020
Archive Date: 
Friday, March 27, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Post-doctoral Positions and Fellowships
Institution Classification/Type: 
Large Academic
Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
Department Name: 
Infrared/Submillimeter Group
Job Announcement Text: 

The Infrared Group of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching (near Munich), Germany is one of the world's leading institutes for the development of pioneering ground- and space-based astronomical instruments. We are the PI institute for GRAVITY, an ESO VLTI instrument for precision astrometry and interferometric imaging of faint objects, now in regular science operations, producing breakthrough results. We are planning the next major upgrade for this system. We are also leading ERIS, a new diffraction-limited imaging and spectroscopic facility for the VLT, and are the PI institute for MICADO, a first-light instrument for the E-ELT. These instruments support our astrophysical research programme that focusses on galaxy evolution in the early universe, local active galaxies, and the Galactic Center.

We seek highly motivated candidates to work with us on MICADO, a diffraction limited first light camera for the 39-m European Extremely Large Telescope. The focus of the instrument is on imaging and precision astrometry, with additional modes providing coronagraphic imaging and spectroscopy. The project is in its final design phase, with manufacturing and assembly expected to begin in 2021.

Your tasks will include:

  • Testing and optimisation of sub-systems developed at MPE (including cryogenic optics and mechanisms, and the de-rotator);
  • Acceptance of sub-systems developed by consortium partners (including opto-mechanical mechanisms, an adaptive optics system, and relay optics);
  • Participation in the integration and testing of the system at MPE and at ESO in Garching;
  • Analysis of test data, to verify that the instrument performance meets its requirements;
  • Planning and participation in the European Acceptance tests.

Your profile:

  • Applicants should have a PhD in physics or related field before starting. They will be working as part of an international multi-disciplinary team, and will be supported by optics, mechanics, and electronics engineers in MPE‘s Central Divisions. As such, good interpersonal, communication, and presentation skills are essential.
  • Experience, including use of relevant software and hardware tools, is required in at least some of:
  • Development of cryogenic near-infrared instrumentation,
  • Assembly and alignment of optical systems,
  • Adaptive optics,
  • Testing and verification of requirements,
  • Data analysis and programming skills,
  • Writing and reviewing documentation.

It would be possible for a successful candidate to devote some fraction of their time to astrophysical research within the main themes of the group noted above.

Our offer:

The position is for a nominal period of 3 years, starting immediately or at a mutually agreed time. Salaries are paid according to German civil service rates (TVöD) depending on experience.

Your application:

Contact Dr. Sebastian Rabien ( for further information.

For full consideration, please send a letter of application, a brief description of your relevant background and future outlook (including research interests where relevant), a curriculum vitae including bibliography, and three letters of reference by March 31, 2020 to

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
Apply to Job
Inquiries About Job
Attention To: 
Dr. Sebastian Rabien