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22.01.2015 (IEEC)

Job Offer: Design and implementation of a differential wave front sensor

Company: Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC)

Location: Campus Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Bellaterra)

Job type: Internship

Salary description: to be negotiated with the candidate Working hours: 25 h/week

Job description:

Gravitational Waves are a prediction of Einstein’s General Relativity that have not been detected to the date despite the effort invested in the last decades. There are currently a few operating gravitational wave detectors that work as kilometer arm-length laser interferometers, although there are also proposals to put gravitational waves in space (as the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, LISA), where they would be sensitive a lower frequency range, i.e. the millihertz band.

GRLOW (Gravitational Wave Low Frequency Technologies Test Bed) is a project to develop and test the technologies required for the detection of gravitational waves in space. The project aims to develop a high sensitivity interferometer in a high stability environment in order to allow precision metrology in the millihertz band.

The current internship would focus on the measurement of angles by means of differential wave front sensing (DWS). This technique makes use of a quadrant photodiode and two interfering beams to obtain high precision tilt measurements by comparing the interferometer phase obtained at each quadrant.

The candidate will work integrated in the Gravitational Astronomy group from the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), which is currently preparing the operations of the ESA mission LISA Pathfinder, to be flown in 2015.


We are looking for an electronics or telecommunications engineer. The candidate will design a low-noise front-end for a quadrant photodiode to be integrated as a read-out of a laser interferometer. He/she will also implement the post-processing techniques to determine the angle of the laser incident beam on the photodiode.

The result of this work shall be presented as a master thesis.


  • Knowledgable in PCB design tools (OrCAD, Eagle, etc.)

  • Familiar with MATLAB and signal processing tools

  • Motivation to work in a research environment

  • Ability to work unsupervised in a interdisciplinary team

Contact: Miquel Nofrarias (

Application deadline: 15 day