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Universität zu Köln
Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Fachgruppe Physik

I. Physikalisches Institut

Master/PhD Work

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Superconducting detectors for astronomy in the Submillimeter and THz frequency range

The full detector research and production cycle starting with design, then fabrication in a cleanroom, test, analysis, redesign, etc. up to the final "product" resides within our group. This gives you an unusually broad field to choose from. Dependent on the exact theme of your work you learn things about 3D Electromagnetic (GHz, THz) design, superconductivity and detector physics, cryogenics, cleanroom fabrication of submicron circuits and micromechanical silicon structures, computer aided measurement techniques, 3D CAD etc. We have, among other things, our own in-house cleanroom with all tools for micro/nanofabrication, an excellent mechanical workshop and expertise and equipment for RF design and measurement.

The mixers that we develop are crucial components for receivers that we fly on aircraft or balloon telescopes, or use on ground based telescopes such as NANTEN, APEX, or the future CCAT telescope, all in the Chilean Atacama desert. On one hand we strive to keep the instrumentation that is used by our astronomers on a state-of-the-art level, but we also work to make the mostly still uncharted Terahertz spectral territory accessible to astronomers.  We work closely with the group building the actual receivers around our detectors, as there are many constraints from the optical or RF signal path or the cryogenic design that have to be considered  early in the detector development. This is especially true for the present transit from single detectors to arrays of a large number of detectors.

Soft skills you learn in the process are: forward thinking, anticipation and taking initiative, and communication and team work, of course. In addition, creativity and a certain pragmatism is indispensable in fitting your new design to the many constraints. Where design and analysis work will require a lot of computer time, no student leaves our group without at least 30% hands-on work experience, in fabrication and/or lab measurements. You will be thoroughly guided in your work by the two senior scientists of the group and will find helpful assistance from the (PhD or other) students in the group, as well as from our engineer and our technician.

For further information, see our group webpage  and please contact
Dr. Netty Honingh, Dr. Karl Jacobs


Master, PhD