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Relativistic geodesy with an optical atomic clock

A consortium funded by the German Research Community (DFG) aims for performing foundational experiments on relativistic geodesy using optical lattice clocks and ground-to-satellite time transfer links.

The project task consisits in comparing a strontium lattice clock at PTB Braunschweig with a strontium lattice clock at Geodätische Fundamentalstation Wettzell (Germany, www.bkg.bund.de/DE/Observatorium-Wettzell/observatorium-wettzell.html). The comparison will be performed during the mission ACES on the ISS, starting in 2025. High-performance optical, microwave, and fiber links will be used for this purpose. In particular, free-space optical links will be implemented betweeen the Wettzell laser ranging station and the ACES payload and, simultaneously, between ACES and a similar ranging station in Potsdam. These two-way pulsed laser time-transfer links will be unique worldwide, as there are currently no other ground stations providing the necessary infrastructure capable of high accuracy. We aim for achieving clock comparisons with a fractional uncertainty of 1E-17 in time interval measurements.

This position refers to improving an existant optical lattice clock, called "SOC2", then transferring it to Wettzell, operating it there, performing measurement campaings during the ACES mission, analyzing and interpreting data. The SOC2 clock is a modular, transportable lattice optical clock based on strontium. (https://journals.aps.org/pra/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevA.98.053443).

Currently, the SOC2 team consists of three Ph.D. students, plus engineering and software support.

The work will be performed initially at Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) Braunschweig (in close collaboration with the group of Prof. C. Lisdat, member of the consortium) for approximately 1.5 years and subsequently at the Wettzell Geodetic Observatory (Bavaria). The work is in the framework of an interdisciplinary research consortium comprising 10 groups, most of them in geodesy (measurements and data analysis). The position holder therefore has ample opportunity to learn about this subject.

Apart from contributing to seminal experiments, the position gives the person the possiblity to develop his/her management and leadership skills, towards a career in academia or in a research organisation (if desired).

We are seeking a highly motivated person to make crucial contributions to the above work and accomplish significant progress. The applicant should have experience with complex cold atom/optical equipment and excellent organizational and communication skills (written and interpersonal).

The contract duration is 4 years, with a possibility of extension by additional 4 years in the second funding period of the consortium.

The salary level for the post-doc position is EG 13.

The salary level for the Ph.D. student position is 66% EG 13 during year 1 and 2, 75 % during year 3 and 4.

The earliest possible start date is Jan. 1, 2023; a later start date is possible.

For further information or for applying, contact:

Prof. S. Schiller, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf,