Rice University, Cosmology Group

Position ID:Rice University-Cosmology Group-COSMOPOSTDOC [#20038]
Position Title: Postdoc Gravitational Dark Matter Detection with Windchime
Position Type:Postdoctoral
Position Location:Houston, Texas, Texas 77005, United States
Subject Areas: Physics / Astroparticle Physics, Cosmology, Dark Matter, HEP-Experiment (hep-ex), HEP-Phenomenology (hep-ph), Particle Astrophysics, Quantum Science
Appl Deadline:2021/12/15 11:59PMhelp popup finished (2021/10/12, finished 2022/06/18, listed until 2022/01/30)
Position Description:    

*** The account for Cosmology Group, Rice University has expired and new applications are no longer accepted. ***

The Cosmology group at Rice University is seeking a postdoctoral researcher as part of the Windchime project to gravitationally detect dark matter using advances in quantum metrology. An ideal candidate would take publish phenomenological studies of the Windchime detector for its sensitivity to various dark matter models, while also developing novel methodology for how such a detector could be analyzed (ideally, publishing on experimental design via differentiable programming [1]).

The Cosmology group at Rice University consists of three faculty: Prof Christopher Tunnell is a astroparticle physicist who leads the experimental efforts, such as the XENON and DARWIN groups at Rice, while also having projects exploring the interface between physics, data analysis, and machine learning. Prof Andrew Long is a astroparticle theorist who is an expert in heavy dark matter models. Prof Mustafa Amin is a theorist specialized in solitons and nonlinear dynamics of cosmological fields like axions. The successful candidate will work with the three faculty according to the particular project. Formally, the position is located in the Astroparticle group of Prof. Tunnell (http://astroparticle.rice.edu), where the diversity of the group is viewed as a strength.

The Windchime Collaboration consists of Rice University, Purdue University, Fermilab, Brookhaven National Laboratory, NIST, and the University of Maryland. As part of the Windchime Collaboration, we have identified an opportunity for using quantum optomechanical sensors to test various dark matter models, such as Planck scale [arXiv:1903.00492] or sub-meV [arXiv:1908.04797]. More information is available as part of a recent workshop [https://indico.fnal.gov/event/21499/]. For heavy dark matter, the central idea is that dark matter would produce a detectable impulse in a 3D matrix of accelerometers. This can be used to probe a host of candidate models, including WIMPzillas, asymmetric dark nuggets, dark quark nuggets, and dark blobs. For ultralight dark matter, we search for coherent excitations in the array. We are also interested in writing a paper on searching for black hole relics.

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to work with both Prof Tunnell and Prof Long to further the simulations and respective data analysis of this experiment, and use this machinery to perform phenomenological studies of which dark matter models the proposed experimental setup is sensitive to. This will include optimizing the detector design based on experimental inputs related to quantum metrology, while thinking about how to optimally perform the data analysis (leveraging ideas from LIGO or other new data analysis ideas in the literature). Experience either simulating detectors or determining the sensitivity to new physics models is expected.

Please apply through AJO. For full consideration, apply by December 15th, though the position is open until filled.

[1] see First MODE Workshop on Differentiable Programming for Experiment Design

Application Materials Required:
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Further Info:
6100 Main St
Houston, TX 77005