Two Positions in High-Energy Astrophysics Instrumentation

Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics, Garching

Type of Job


Astronomy & Astrophysics Complex Systems

Job Code:

Job offer from March 05, 2020

The Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) is a world-leading institute in space- and ground-based experimental astrophysics, with leading roles in a number of large astronomical projects.  The High Energy group, led by Prof. K. Nandra, carries out major space hardware programs, including the development of X-ray detectors and X-ray optics.  The group has contributed significantly to Chandra and XMM-Newton, and the recently-launched eROSITA X-ray telescope. 

The PANTER X-ray test facility is located in Neuried on the southwest outskirts of Munich. It is used primarily for characterisation of X-ray telescopes.  Imaging properties, reflectivity, and scattering can be studied on single shells, as well as on nested mirror systems or complete telescopes.  In addition, a large number of detectors, focal plane instruments, transmission and reflection gratings, and X-ray absorption filters have been tested and developed at PANTER.  The development, testing, and calibration of the optics for future missions, such as ATHENA, SVOM, and Einstein Probe, is ongoing at PANTER. For further details about PANTER, see

Applications are invited for two positions in the High Energy Group to measure and characterise X-ray optics at the MPE PANTER X-ray test facility, as part of ESA and other institute projects.  The applicants will join the existing PANTER team and work alongside the other scientists, designing and setting up X-ray optic test campaigns, as well as taking measurements, analysing the data, and disseminating the results.

The positions are available from 1st June 2020, and will last a minimum of two years. 

Tasks include: 

  • Planning, setting up, and performing X-ray optic test campaigns;
  • Analysis and comparison of the results from optic measurements with theoretical predictions
  • Prepare documentation for delivery to ESA and other agencies and partners.
  • Characterising detectors (e.g., installation, calibration, analysis software, etc)
  • Overseeing/Helping Maintain the X-ray beamline
  • Prepare test results for scientific publication and presentations; 

Requirements – Essential

  • Ph.D. degree in physics, optical engineering, or similar;
  • Relevant research (e.g., optics, beamline, X-ray physics, space instrumentation) experience;
  • Knowledge of optical system alignment and assembly
  • Experience with design and development of instrumentation;
  • Good interpersonal, communication, and presentational skills;
  • Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Requirements – Desirable

  • Knowledge of X-ray optics;
  • Experience of X-ray measurements (e.g., using synchrotrons);
  • Experience with X-ray detectors;
  • Experience with vacuum facilities;
  • Experience with space hardware or instrumentation;
  • Experience working in a cleanroom;
  • Data analysis and programming skills (e.g., IDL, python).

We offer a challenging and rewarding international field of work with state-of-the-art technology. The remuneration is based on the German collective wage agreement for the public sector (TVöD) depending on experience. Social benefits are granted according to the regulations for public service.

Applicants should submit their documents (in English, and in PDF form) via our online application portal including a CV, a list of publications, and a brief (~1 page) description of research interests, by 4th May 2020. Review will begin soon after that date, but later applications may be considered if received before the selection process is completed. Three referees should be identified, who can provide letters of recommendation upon request.

Prospective applicants can contact Dr. Vadim Burwitz for further information (email: ).

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.

Go to Editor View